Ch 17: The US Litigation Process - MTEL Political Science/Political Philosophy

About This Chapter

Study the lessons of this chapter to review the legal process of settling disputes in the U.S. court system and prepare for related questions on the MTEL Political Science/Political Philosophy exam.

The US Litigation Process - MTEL Political Science/Political Philosophy - Chapter Summary

In this chapter is a series of short, engaging and mobile device-friendly lesson videos which will provide you with the opportunity to review the steps and elements of the U.S. litigation process. These lessons are taught by our expert instructors so that you may have an effective way to improve your understanding of:

  • The process of starting a lawsuit
  • Threshold requirements of standing, case/controversy and ripeness
  • Pretrial pleadings, service of process and defendant's response
  • Trials by jury and jury selection
  • Verdicts in civil litigation and the civil appeals process
  • Requirements for criminal trials
  • Writ of habeas corpus and the influence of reasonable doubt
  • Dispute resolution through negotiation, mediation and arbitration

After these lessons, test your understanding of them by completing the lesson quizzes, and then use the video tags to return to and review the parts of the lessons that explain the topics you missed. If you find a topic that confuses you, be sure to ask our instructors for assistance, using the teacher tabs of the lessons. Once you have reviewed the lessons and taken the quizzes of this chapter, take the practice chapter exam to see if you understand the U.S. litigation process well enough to answer related questions on the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) Political Science/Political Philosophy exam.

The US Litigation Process - MTEL Political Science/Political Philosophy Objectives

The MTEL Political Science/Political Philosophy exam is a computer-based certification exam used by Massachusetts to measure how well potential political science instructors understand political science and philosophy. On test day, you will be asked to complete this exam by answering 100 multiple-choice questions and two open-response items in a four-hour testing session. As you study for this exam, keep in mind that 20% of the material in it is covered by multiple-choice questions about U.S. Government and Civics and may include some questions about court proceedings.

10 Lessons in Chapter 17: The US Litigation Process - MTEL Political Science/Political Philosophy
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Starting a Lawsuit: Parties & Beginning Process

1. Starting a Lawsuit: Parties & Beginning Process

There are two parties to a lawsuit: the plaintiff, who initiates the lawsuit, and the defendant, who defends against the allegations waged against him. A lawsuit is a process that involves several steps beginning with the filing of a complaint and ending with a judge's or jury's decision.

Threshold Requirements: Standing, Case or Controversy & Ripeness

2. Threshold Requirements: Standing, Case or Controversy & Ripeness

Threshold requirements are conditions that a plaintiff must meet in order to take another person or entity to court. There are threshold requirements for standing, case and controversy and ripeness. With all three, the court will require answers to specific questions to determine whether legal action can be taken against a party.

Pretrial Pleadings & Service of Process in Civil Litigation

3. Pretrial Pleadings & Service of Process in Civil Litigation

Before a trial begins, there are several pleadings a plaintiff and defendant must file with the court to set a lawsuit into motion and this is known as the pretrial stage of a trial. Some common pleadings include a complaint, summons, motion to dismiss and motion for judgment.

Defendant's Response & Motions in Civil Litigation

4. Defendant's Response & Motions in Civil Litigation

Once a plaintiff initiates a civil lawsuit, the defendant must respond within a certain period of time depending on the particular state's requirements. The defendant responds by answering the complaint or filing a motion with the court.

Jury Trial and Selection in Civil Litigation

5. Jury Trial and Selection in Civil Litigation

When a civil action leads to a trial, a jury is selected. The selection process general involves the parties or attorneys for the parties to question potential jurors from a pool of jury candidates. Once a jury is selected, the jury trial moves through various steps ending in a final decision.

Delivering a Verdict in Civil Litigation

6. Delivering a Verdict in Civil Litigation

In any court case, the end result is a verdict. However, there are several roads that lead to the verdict, including motion to dismiss, directed verdict, special verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

Civil Appeals Process: Parties, Briefs & Oral Arguments

7. Civil Appeals Process: Parties, Briefs & Oral Arguments

The civil appeals process allows for a losing party to a lawsuit to request a higher court to review the decision to determine whether legal errors were made during the original trial.

Constitutional Requirements of a Criminal Trial

8. Constitutional Requirements of a Criminal Trial

In criminal court, a defendant will rely heavily on his constitutional rights to a fair trial. These rights, specifically the Fifth and Sixth Amendment Rights provide the requirements for a criminal trial. Some rights include right to a speedy trial, right to counsel and a right to an impartial jury. There are several other equally important rights that this important amendment protects.

Writ of Habeas Corpus & Reasonable Doubt in a Criminal Trial

9. Writ of Habeas Corpus & Reasonable Doubt in a Criminal Trial

In a last ditch effort to be free, a person in custody, after exhausting all appeals and motions, may file a writ of habeas corpus requesting further investigation of his constitutional rights in an attempt to be set free.

Alternative Forms of Dispute Resolution: Negotiation, Mediation & Arbitration

10. Alternative Forms of Dispute Resolution: Negotiation, Mediation & Arbitration

In the eyes of the law, there are several ways a dispute can be settled. Some disputes can simply be negotiated to a win-win outcome. Others may require a third party to assist in coming up with solutions to remedy a situation.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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