The Civil Department handles all "general civil" cases in Superior Court. A general civil case begins when an individual or organization initiates a lawsuit against another individual or organization. Breach of contract, personal injury, and medical malpractice disputes are examples of this type of case.
Superior Court handles other types of civil matters outside the Civil Department. For example, family law cases involving children are handled by the Family Court. Most probate, guardianship, and minor settlement cases are handled by the Ex Parte & Probate Department. Petitions for court-ordered mental health treatment are handled by the ITA Court.
Update from the Civil Department regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Activities
View the current civil department description of operations. Civil jury trials are either remote or in-person as decided by the assigned judge. The majority of civil jury trials will be held remotely until such time social distancing requirements no longer require multiple courtrooms to conduct a jury trial in the King County courthouse and Maleng Regional Justice Center. (See Emergency Order #33).
Visit the Court's Virtual Civil Jury Trial Preparation page and video participation tips. In most civil cases the assigned judge may conduct a Pre-Trial Conference and enter a Pre Trial Order. Examples of these Orders include Civil Jury Trial with Remote Voir Dire and Civil Bench Trial .
The Court has dramatically remade the administration of jury trials in response to the health risks presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Every stage of the trial process, from how jurors are selected for a trial to where they perform their deliberations, has been reviewed. The result is an operation that looks vastly different than the one familiar to people prior to the pandemic.
Prior to reporting for service, jurors will be contacted by the assigned trial judge to complete an online orientation and any case-specific questionnaires. Jurors will participate in jury selection via the Zoom video platform. In-person orientation and group questioning have been eliminated. Once a jury is selected they will participate in the trial proceedings by video.