A civil lawsuit (as opposed to a criminal case) can be filed or started in court by a person, an organization such as a company, or a government agency, against another person, organization or government agency.  The word “person” used in this topic includes all these other possibilities.  

A plaintiff (the person who is suing) begins a civil lawsuit in court by filing a complaint (the document submitted to the court describing what the lawsuit is about) and paying a filing or entry fee to the court.  The plaintiff must then buy an original summons (an order issued by the court requiring a specific person to respond within a specific period of time) from the court for each person being sued.  The next step is to notify each person being sued by “service of process”.