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New York State has a population that exceeds 19 million people. With such a large and diverse population, it should come as no surprise that legal disputes are an everyday fact of life for many New Yorkers.

If you or a loved one are being sued, or if you believe you are in need of legal assistance with a claim of your own – contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. today at (516) 500-1647! Our free telephone consultation can help you understand the civil litigation process, as well as the likely outcome of your specific case.


Civil litigation refers to legal disputes between two or more parties that involve the pursuit of money or other specific compensatory action. Civil litigation, however, does not include any type of criminal sanctions. This does not mean that an individual’s or entity’s conduct will not also result in criminal charges. It simply means that the civil litigation case is independent of any criminal complaints and sentences.

There are several terms you may hear if you opt for pursuing a civil litigation case. Litigator, arbitration, and mediation are perhaps some of the most common. But what do these terms mean to you?

What Is A Litigator?

Lawyers who represent clients for civil litigations are known as “litigators” or “trial lawyers.” A litigator is charged with representing their client throughout the entire civil litigation process. This includes events like pretrial hearings, arbitration, depositions, mediation, and court proceedings.

What Is Arbitration and Mediation?

Not all cases have to go through the full court process. In many cases, arbitration or mediation are recommended. These processes can help the parties reach an agreement before they decide to pursue the more costly and time-consuming court proceedings.

  • Arbitration: Arbitration involves submitting your dispute to one or more arbitrators. An arbitrator is an individual who will review your case and issue a “binding arbitration.” This is a final decision that cannot be appealed except on certain, very limited grounds. It is a formal process.
  • Mediation: Mediation attempts to resolve the dispute while reaching an agreement through the help of a mediator. Through mediation, both parties attempt to reach a settlement that is acceptable for both sides. This process is more informal than both arbitration and court proceedings. The mediator cannot decide the outcome of the dispute, but works with both parties in an attempt to reach a solution.

New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules

In New York State, civil litigation cases fall under the New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules. Also known as the CPLR, these laws help provide guidelines and regulations that can affect the outcome of a civil case.

One of the most commonly asked about articles under the CPLR is in regards to the statute of limitations for legal actions to be brought against another party. Because of the many different types of offenses under New York Law, the statute of limitations for civil litigations varies based on the type of claim. We will discuss some of these timelines below, but it is always best to contact an experienced and reputable litigator, like The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C., as soon as possible.


In 2018, roughly 75,000 judgments were entered through the civil courts. This figure does not include those settlements that were reached during mediation or arbitration. These judgments resulted in millions of dollars’ worth of settlements being reached to right wrongs against individuals and compensate them from injuries or damages they may have suffered as the result of another’s actions. Below, we talk about some of the most common types of civil litigation cases being processed in New York State. Keep in mind, these are not the only types of civil cases that can be brought against an individual or entity. If you do not see your type of claim below, call The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. today at (516) 500-1647 to find out more about how we can utilize the applicable laws to help you seek the justice you deserve.

Class Action Cases

Class action cases involve multiple parties and or groups of parties. This group of individuals files suit because their injuries resulted from the same actions or event. Class action cases are typically brought against a party or entity when a defective product has been sold to the public or or manufacturing processes have exposed the public to hazardous materials resulting in multiple injuries. Because these cases are typically tied to personal injuries, you have up to 3 years to file a claim as part of a class action case.

Complaints Against Municipalities (City, State, Town, Village)

Complaints against municipalities, or the federal government, are growing in popularity. Some complaints against municipalities may result in class action cases. However, not all do. Anyone who feels that a municipal law or policy results in harming New York citizens can file a complaint against the municipality. It is best to discuss the nuances of these types of civil litigations with an experienced trial lawyer to determine whether the claim is reasonable and viable. You should note that complaints against municipalities have some of the shortest statutes of limitations. In most cases, you must provide the appropriate municipality a notice of claim within 90 days of the incident. In most cases you then have 1 year to file an official civil litigation case if the agency does not settle your case after filing your written notice of claim.

Contract Disputes

Contract disputes can occur for many different reasons. However, the most common is a breach of contract. This means that one or more parties who signed a contract cannot or will not fulfill their legal obligations, as defined through the contract in question. There are many different reasons this may occur. For example, one party may have overcommitted without having the money, employees, or licenses to fulfill their contractual obligations. If the terms of the contract are unclear or ambiguous, this may also lead to a breach of contract. This is because ambiguous contractual terms can leave all parties with different expectations. The statute of limitations for contract disputes is 6 years per CLPR 213(2).


Debt lawsuits are most common among businesses. When one party owes money to another, a civil litigation case may be filed. For many, negotiations and debt collectors attempt to recover the money prior to a lawsuit being filed. However, continued failure to make payments or agree to a settlement out of court will likely result in a lawsuit against you. In most debt collection cases you have 6 years to file a lawsuit.


As our reliance on the internet continues to grow, so does the number of defamation suits being processed through civil litigation. Defamation occurs when a false statement is published to a third party without privilege or authorization. The statement must have fault, amounting to at least negligence if not outright malice, and must be found to cause special harm or defamation per se. In other words, if someone publishes an untrue statement about you without verifying the truth of the statement or with the intention to cause harm, you may pursue compensation through a defamation claim. In most cases you have 1 year to file a defamation lawsuit after an incident has occurred.

Employment Lawsuits

Employment lawsuits often fall within a specialized category of civil litigation. Often, these lawsuits result from discriminatory or unsafe practices of an employer. Some of the most common reasons for employment lawsuits include:

  • Improper termination or termination based on discriminatory reasons, such as gender, race or religion;
  • Failure to provide the written terms of employment; and/or
  • Failure to conduct a proper, or thorough, background investigation prior to hiring an employee who subsequently harms or sexually harasses another employee upon being hired.

Employment lawsuits can be tricky due to the high cost attorneys often hired by employers. With the Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. you never have to worry about how expensive your employer’s lawyer may be. We fight for your rights and ensure your rights are protected while achieving the justice you deserve.

Personal Injury

If you have been emotionally or physically harmed as the result of another individual’s, or entity’s, negligence you are legally entitled to compensation. This compensation covers economic and non-economic damages that may stem from your injury. Economic damages are those that can be easily quantified. This includes medical expenses and other bills associated with your injury. Non-economic damages, however, are harder to define the value of. These include placing a value to things like your pain and suffering. Working with a litigator who is experienced with personal injury claims, also known as torts, is invaluable to your case. These specialized litigators can work with you to properly evaluate the compensation you are entitled to and know how to get you the justice you deserve. For most personal injuries, you have 3 years from the event to file a claim. In the case of a wrongful death, however, you only have 2 years.

Property Disputes

Property disputes typically occur when two neighbors both feel that they are the rightful owners of a piece of real estate or land. However, a property dispute can also be filed if one neighbor feels that their property was damaged by a neighbor. For example, if one neighbor puts up a fence that spans what another neighbor feels is their property, a civil litigation case may be filed. Most property disputes must be filed within 4 years of the incident.


If you or a loved one were injured or suffered damages due to the negligence or actions of another individual or entity, contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. today. Our litigation team can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Whether you want to pursue mediation, arbitration, or a civil court proceeding, The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. can help guide you through every step of the process. As experienced litigators, we know how the court systems work as well as which approach may be best given the particular facts and circumstances of your case.

Civil litigation cases can be complex. From start to finish, having the right lawyer on your side is extremely important. An experienced litigator knows the types of evidence and preparations you need to make depending on the path you want to pursue. They can help you prepare for your deposition, gather documents, and assess the likelihood of a favorable outcome. After all, knowing whether to pursue mediation, arbitration, or a civil court proceeding is half the battle.

Because each case is different, The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. works with you to evaluate the most realistic outcome of your case. From estimating your economic and non-economic damages to helping you prepare for any testimony you may be asked to give, we strive to get you the compensation you deserve.

The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. has the experience, reputation, and tenacity you need to ensure your case gets the justice you deserve. No one should have to suffer for injuries or damages. With The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. on your side, you will not have to.

Remember, time is off the essence. With all the various statutes of limitations, it is essential that you contact a qualified and reputable litigator as soon as possible. Call The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. today at (516) 500-1647 for your free telephone civil litigation consultation.