The Opinion (or the Verdict)

Civil litigation ends with judgments which are often reasoned court opinions. These opinions are sometimes published in print and digital reporters, such as the Miscellaneous Reporters in New York State, and on the court’s website, such as the e-Courts system.
Sometimes, civil litigation involves jury deliberations. After deliberations, the jury usually brings in a verdict: “We the jury find for the plaintiff in the sum of….”. The jury may find either for the plaintiff and award a dollar amount or for the defendant. This is called a “general verdict.” Upon that verdict, the judge enters judgment. Judgment is the culmination of litigation at the trial court: it decides on matters subject to litigation.
The judgment thus ends the controversy. When a money judgment is not paid voluntarily, the defendant’s assets may be seized and sold to satisfy the judgment. The judgment, unless it is appealed, definitively settles the issue: it achieves res judicata status. This is a defense to a second lawsuit on the same claim.
The English translation of the Latin’s res judicata is “a thing adjudicated.”