In US law, one party can bring a lawsuit against another party in court. In civil cases, the party bringing the suit — called the plaintiff — generally claims to have incurred loss through actions of the other party – the defendant. In criminal cases, the state — whose legal representative is called ‘the prosecution’ — charges the defendant with breaking the law. The court decides the case; judgement may include remedy of the loss and damages in civil cases, or sentencing in criminal cases, plus injunctions to force action and other legal consequences. The overall conduct of a lawsuit is called ‘litigation.’ The parties on both sides are generically ‘litigants’, and the attorneys who represent them are ‘litigators.’



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