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In American law, a lawsuit is a civil action brought before a court in which the party commencing the action, the plaintiff, seeks a legal or equitable remedy. One or more defendants are required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint. If the plaintiff is successful, judgment will be given in the plaintiff's favor, and a range of court orders may be issued to enforce a right, award damages, or impose an injunction to prevent an act or compel an act. A declaratory judgment may be issued to prevent future legal disputes.
A lawsuit may involve dispute resolution of private law issues between individuals, business entities or non-profit organizations. A lawsuit may also enable the government to be treated as if it were a private party in a civil case, as plaintiff or defendant regarding an injury, or may provide the government with a civil cause of action to enforce certain laws.
The conduct of a lawsuit is called litigation.