CIVIL LITIGATION - TEST REVIEW - CHAPTERS 1-6

142 terms by rodzchyna 

Ready to study?
Start with Flashcards

Create a new folder

Advertisement Upgrade to remove ads

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)

WAYS TO RESOLVE LEGAL PROBLEMS WITHOUT A COURT DECISION; FOR EXAMPLE, ARBITRATION, MEDIATION, MINITRIAL, RENT A JUDGE, SUMMARY JURY TRIAL, AND SO ON. (11)

ANSWER

THE FIRST PLEADING BY THE DEFENDANT IN A LAWSUIT. THIS PLEADING RESPONDS TO THE CHARGES AND DEMANDS OF THE PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT. THE DEFENDANT MAY DENY THE PLAINTIFF'S CHARGES, MAY PRESENT NEW FACTS TO DEFEAT THEM, OR MAY SHOW WHY THE PLAINTIFF'S FACTS ARE LEGALLY VALID. (8)

ARBITRATOR

THE PERSON WHO RESOLVES A DISPUTE IN AN ARBITRATION HEARING. (11)

CIVIL LAW

LAW DEALING WITH PRIVATE DISPUTES BETWEEN PARTIES. (6)

CIVIL LITIGATION

THE PROCESS OF RESOLVING PRIVATE DISPUTES THROUGH THE COURT SYSTEM. (5)

CIVIL PROCEDURE

THE LAWS AND RULES THAT GOVERN HOW NONCRIMINAL LAWSUITS ARE HANDLED BY THE INDIVIDUALS INVLOVED AND BY THE COURT (6)

COMPLAINT

THE FIRST MAIN PAPER FILED IN A CIVIL LAWSUIT. IT INCLUDES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, A STATEMENT OF THE WRONG OR HARM DONE TO THE PLAINTIFF BY THE DEFENDANT, A REQUEST FOR SPECIFIC HELP FROM THE COURT, AND AN EXPLANATION OF WHY THE COURT HAS THE POWER TO DO WHAT THE PLAINTIFF WANTS. (8)

CRIMINAL LAW

HAVING TO DO WITH THE LAW OF CRIMES AND ILLEGAL CONDUCT (6)

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

THE PROCEDURE BY WHICH A PERSON ACCUSED OF A CRIME IS BROUGHT TO TRIAL AND GIVEN PUNISHMENT (6)

DEFAULT

FAILURE TO TAKE A REQUIRED STEP IN A LAWSUIT, FOR EXAMPLE, FAILURE TO FILE A PAPER ON TIME. SUCH DEFAULT CAN SOMESTIMES LEAD TO A "DEFAULT JUDGMENT" AGAINST THE SIDE FAILLNG TO FILE THE PAPER. (8)

DEFENDANT

THE PERSON AGAINST WHOM A LEGAL ACTION IS BROUGHT. THIS LEGAL ACTION MAY BE CIVIL OR CRIMINAL. (8)

DISCOVERY

THE FORMAL AND INFORMAL EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION BETWEEN TWO SIDES IN A LAWSUIT. TWO TYPES OF DISCOVERY ARE INTERROGATORIES AND DEPOSITIONS. (9)

FORM BOOKS

BOOK CONTAINING SAMPLE FORMS FOR LEGAL PROFESSIONALS TO FOLLOW IN PREPARING PLEADINGS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS. (13)

JUDGMENT

THE OFFICIAL DECISION OF A COURT ABOUT THE RIGHTS AND CLAIMS OF EACH SIDE IN A LAWSUIT. "JUDGMENT" USUALLY REFERS TO A FINAL DECISION THAT IS BASED ON THE FACTS OF THE CASE AND MADE AT THE END OF A TRIAL, IT IS CALLED A "JUDGMENT ON THE MERITS." (9)

LOCAL RULES OF COURT

RULES THAT ARE ADOPTED BY INDIVIDUAL COURTS AND APPLY ONLY IN THOSE COURTS (13)

MEDIATION

MEDIATION IS A FORM OF SETTLEMENT THAT USES A THIRD PERSON, KNOWN AS A MEDIATOR, TO HELP THE PARTIES COME TO AN AGREEMENT TO SETTLE THEIR DIFFERENCES. OUTSIDE HELP SETTLING A DISPUTE. THE PERSON WHO DOES THIS IS CALLED A MEDIATOR. THIS IS DIFFERENT FROM ARBITRATION IN THAT A MEDIATOR CAN ONLY PERSUADE, NOT FORCE, PEOPLE IN A SETTLEMENT. (11)

MEDIATOR

THE PERSON WHO HELPS SETTLE A DISPUTE THROUGH MEDIATION (A MEDIATOR HELPS THE PARTIES COME TO AN AGREEMENT TO SETTLE THEIR DIFFERENCES. (11)

MOTION

A REQUEST THAT A JUDGE MAKE A RULING OR TAKE SOME OTHER ACTION. MOTIONS ARE EITHER GRANTED OR DENIED BY THE JUDGE. (9)

NEGOTIATION (NEGOTIATE)

1. DISCUSS, ARRANGE, OR BARGAIN ABOUT A BUSINESS DEAL.
2. DISCUSS A COMPROMISE TO A SITUATION (11)

AFFIRM

1. TO AGREE W/THE LOWER COURT. WHEN A HIGHER COURT DECLARES THAT A LOWER COURT'S ACTION WAS VALID AND RIGHT, IT "AFFIRMS" THE DECISION. (41)

APPELLATE JURISDICTION

THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF A HIGHER COURT TO TAKE UP CASES THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN IN A LOWER COURT AND THE POWER TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT THESE CASES. THE PROCESS IS CALLED APPELLATE REVIEW. ALSO, A TRIAL COURT MAY HAVE APPELLATE JURISDICTION OVER CASES FROM AN ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY. (30)

ATTACHMENT

IN AN ATTACHMENT PROCEEDING, THE COURT USUALLY ORDERS THAT THE PROPERTY BE SEIZED AND REMAIN UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE COURT UNTIL THE CASE IS RESOLVED (FORMALLY SEIZING PROPERTY FOR A PERSON) IN ORDER TO BRING IT UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE COURT. THIS IS USUALLY DONE BY GETTING A COURT ORDER TO HAVE A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER TAKE CONTROL OF THE PROPERTY. (48)

BRIEF

A WRITTEN STATEMENT PREPARED BY ONE SIDE IN A LAWSUIT TO EXPLAIN ITS CASE TO THE JUDGE. IT USUALLY CONTAINS A FACT SUMMARY, A LAW SUMMARY, AND AN ARGUMENT ABOUT HOW THE LAW APPLIES TO THE FACTS. MOST SUCH "BRIEFTS" ARE NOT BRIEF. (29)

WRIT OF EXECUTION

A JUDGE'S ORDER REQUIRING THAT SOMETHING BE DONE OUTSIDE THE COURTROOM OR AUTHORIZING IT TO BE DONE. FOR EXAMPLE, A WRIT OF EXECUTION ORDERS A COURT OFFICIAL TO TAKE A DEBTOR'S PROPERTY TO PAY COURT-DECIDED DEBT, USUALLY BY HOLDING AN EXECUTION SALE. (9)

CONCURRENT JURISDICTION

CONCURRENT JURISDICTION MEANS THAT IT CAN BE BROUGHT EITHER IN FEDERAL OR IN STATE COURT. "RUNNING TOGETHER" OR HAVING THE SAME AUTHORITY AT THE SAME TIME. COURTS HAVE CONCURRENT JURISDICTION WHEN EACH ONE HAS THE POWER TO DEAL WITH THE SAME CASE. (37)

COURT OF APPEALS

A COURT THAT DECIDES APPEALS FROM A TRIAL COURT. IN MOST STATES, IT IS A MIDDLE-LEVEL COURT (SIMILAR TO A UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS) BUT IN SOME STATES IT IS THE HIGHER COURT. (29)

DIVERSITY OF CITIZENSHIP

WHEN THE PLAINTIFF AND DEFENDANTS ARE NOT RESIDENTS OF THE SAME STATE, AND IF THE CASE IS A CLAIM FOR MONEY DAMAGES, THE DAMAMGES CLAIMED MUST EXCEED $75,000. (36)

EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION

EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION MEANS THAT THE ACTION MUST BE BROUGHT IN FEDERAL COURT. IF A COURT HAS EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION OVER A SUBJECT, NO OTHER COURT IN THE AREA CAN DECIDE A LAWSUIT ON THAT SUBJECT. (37)

GENERAL APPEARANCE

COMING BEFORE A COURT AND SUBMITTING TO ITS JURISDICTION IN A CASE. (47)

GENERAL JURISDICTION

THE POWER OF A COURT TO HEAR AND DECIDE ANY OF A WIDE RANGE OF CASES THAT ARISE WITHIN ITS GEOGRAPHIC AREA, EXCEPT THOSE THAT MUST BE BROUGHT IN FEDERAL COURT. (41)

HIGHER COURT

COURT OF APPEALS (COURTS OF APPEALS ARE COURTS OF APPELLATE JURISDICTION). (30)

IN REM JURISDICTION

THE AUTHORITY OF A COURT TO HEAR A CASE BASED ON THE FACT THAT PROPERTY, WHICH "IS" THE SUBJECT OF A LAWSUIT, IS LOCATED WITHIN THE STATE IN WHICH THE COURT IS SITUATED. (35)

JURISDICTION

1. THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA WITHIN WHICH A COURT (OR A PUBLIC OFFICIAL) HAS THE RIGHT AND POWER TO OPERATE.
2. THE PERSONS ABOUT WHOM AND THE SUBJECT MATTERS, ABOUT WHICH A COURT HAS THE RIGHT AND POWER TO MAKE DECISIONS THAT ARE LEGALLY BINDING. (29)

LEGAL ERROR

A MISTAKE IN THE WAY THE LAW IS INTERPRETED OR APPLIED TO A SITUATION. (30)

LIMITED JURISDICTION

AUTHORITY TO HEAR ONLY CERTAIN KINDS OF CASES. EX: JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS, FAMILY LAW MATTERS, SOME COURTS WITH LIMITED JURISDICTION ARE ONLY EMPOWERED TO HEAR CASES IN WHICH THE AMOUNT OF MONEY IN DISPUTE IS A LIMITED AMOUNT. THESE COURTS ARE OFTEN KNOWN AS MUNICIPAL COURTS, DISTRICT COURTS, OR JUSTICE COURTS. (41)

LONG-ARM STATUTES

A STATE LAW THAT ALLOWS THE COURTS OF THAT STATE TO CLAIM JURISDICTION OVER (DECIDE CASES DIRECTLY INVOLVING) PERSONS OUTSIDE THE STATE WHO HAVE ALLEGEDLY COMMITTED TORTS OR OTHER WRONGS INSIDE THE STATE. EVEN WITH A LONG-ARM STATUTE, THE COURT WILL NOT HAVE JURISDICTION UNLESS THE PERSON SUED HAS CERTAIN MINIMUM CONTACTS WITH THE STATE. (47)

LOWER COURT

ANOTHER TERM FOR A TRIAL COURT. (29)

SUMMONS

A NOTICE DELIVERED BY A SHERIFF OR OTHER AUTHORIZED PERSON INFORMING A PERSON OF A LAWSUIT AGAINST HIM OR HER (A SUMMONS IS A FORM EXPLAINING THAT THE DEFENDANT HAS BEEN USED AND SHOULD ANSWER THE COMPLAINT BY A CERTAIN DATE. (147)

ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

THE POWER OF A COURT TO TAKE A CASE, TRY IT, AND DECIDE IT (AS OPPOSED TO "APPELLATE JURISDICTION", THE POWER OF A COURT TO HEAR AND DECIDE AN APPEAL). (29)

PERSONAL JURISDICTION

THE POWER OR AUTHORITY OF THE COURT TO MAKE A RULING AFFECTING THE PARTIES BEFORE THE COURT (SOMES CALLED THE "PERSONAM JURISDICTION" REFERS TO AUTHORITY OR POWER OVER THE PARTIES, ESPECIALLY THE DEFENDANT. (35)

QUASI IN REM JURISDICTION

AUTHORITY OF A COURT TO HEAR A CASE BASED ON THE FACT THAT THE DEFENDANT OWNS PROPERTY THAT IS LOCATED WITHIN THE STATE, EVEN THOUGH THAT PROPERTY IS NOT THE SUBJECT OF THE LAWSUIT (QUASI IN REM JURISDICTION SOMETIMES EXISTS WHEN THE DEFENDANT OWNS ANY PROPERTY THAT IS LOCATED WITHIN THE STATE, EVEN THOUGH THAT PROPERTY IS NOT THE SUBJECT OF THE LAWSUIT. HOWEVER, ANY JUDGMENT MUST BE SATISFIED OR COLLECTED FROM THAT PROPERTY. TO DECIDE A CASE, A COURT MUST HAVE SUBJECT MATTER AND EITHER PERSONAL JURISDICTION, IN REM JURISDICTION, OR QUASI IN REM JURISDICTION. (35)

REMAND

A HIGHER COURT MAY REMAND (SEND BACK) A CASE TO THE LOWER COURT, DIRECTING THE LOWER COURT TO TAKE SOME ACTION. (41)

REMOVAL

THE TRANSFER OF A CASE FROM ONE COURT TO ANOTHER (MOST COMMONLY, FROM A STATE TO A FEDERAL COURT, OFTEN FOR CIVIL RIGHTS REASONS). (38)

REVERSE

WHEN A HIGHER COURT REVERSES A LOWER COURT ON APPEAL, IT SETS ASIDE THE JUDGMENT OF THE LOWER COURT AND EITHER SUBSTITUTES ITS OWN JUDGMENT FOR IT OR SENDS THE CASE BACK TO THE LOWER COURT WITH INSTRUCTIONS ON WHAT TO DO WITH IT. (41)

SPECIAL APPEARANCE

SHOWING UP IN COURT FOR A LIMITED PURPOSE ONLY, ESPECIALLY TO ARGUE THAT THE COURT LACKS JURISDICTION OVER YOU OR YOUR CLIENT. (AN APPEARANCE FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF QUESTIONING THE COURT'S JURISDICTION.

SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION

THE AUTHORITY THAT A COURT HAS TO HEAR A PARTICULAR TYPE OF CASE (JURISDICTION OR AUTHORITY TO HEAR THE TYPE OF CASE BEFORE THE COURT). (35)

SUPPLEMENTAL JURISDICTION

A FEDERAL COURT'S RIGHT TO DECIDE A CLAIM BASED ON A NONFEDERAL ISSUE IF THIS CLAIM DEPENDS ON THE SAME SET OF FACTS AS DOES A FEDERAL CLAIM IN THE CASE BEFORE THE COURT (EVEN IF A MATTER IS NOT NORMALLY WITHIN THE SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION OF THE FEDERAL COURTS, IT MAY STILL BE HEARD IN FEDERAL COURTS IF IT IS IN CONJUNCTION WITH A CASE THAT IS WITHIN THE SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION OF THE COURT). (40)

SUPREME COURT

THE HIGHEST OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS AND THE HIGHEST COURT OF MOST, BUT NOT ALL OF THE STATES. THE COURT OF LAST RESORT. (30)

TRIAL COURT

A COURT WHERE THE PARTIES TO A LAWSUIT FILE THEIR PLEADINGS AND PRESENT EVIDENCE TO A JUDGE OR JURY. (29)

VENUE

THE PROPER GEOGRAPHICAL AREA OF THE STATE IS A QUESTION OF VENUE. (49)

CAUSE OF ACTION

1. FACTS SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT A VALID LAWSUIT.
2. THE LEGAL THEORY UPON WHICH A LAWSUIT ("ACTION") IS BASED. (61)

CLAIM STATUTE

A TYPE OF LAW THAT REQUIRES A WRITTEN NOTICE DESCRIBING A CLAIM TO BE PRESENTED TO THE DEFENDANT BEFORE A LAWSUIT CAN BE FILED. (66)

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

BEING IN A POSITION WHERE YOUR OWN NEEDS AND DESIRES COULD POSSIBLY LEAD YOU TO VIOLATE YOUR DUTY TO A PERSON WHO HAS A RIGHT TO DEPEND ON YOU, OR BEING IN A POSITION WHERE YOU TRY TO SERVE TWO OMPETING MASTERS OR CLIENTS. (72)

CONTINGENT FEE

PAYMENT TO A LAWYER OF A PERCENTAGE OF THE "WINNINGS," IF ANY, FROM A LAWSUIT RATHER THAN PAYMENT OF A FLAT AMOUNT OF MONEY OR PAYMENT ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF HOURS WORKED. (76)

COSTS

EXPENSES OF ONE SIDE IN A LAWSUIT THAT THE JUDGE ORDERS THE OTHER SIDE TO PAY OR REIMBURSE. (77)

FLAT FEE

A LEGAL FEE BASED ON A FIXED SUM RATHER THAN ON A HOURLY RATE OR A PERCENTAGE OF A RECOVERY. (76)

HOURLY BILLING

A LEGAL FEE BASED ON A FIXED AMOUNT OF EACH HOUR THE LAW FIRM SPENDS ON A CASE. (76)

LACHES

THE LEGAL DOCTRINE THAT A DELAY (IN PURSUING OR ENFORCING A CLAIM OR RIGHT) CAN BE SO LONG THAT THE PERSON AGAINST WHOM YOU ARE PROCEEDING IS UNFAIRLLY, HURT OR PREJUDICED BY THE DELAY ITSELF. LACHES IS AN EQUITABLE DEFENSE, USED WHEN A PLAINTIFF DELAYS UNFAIRLY IN STARTING A LAWSUIT. (69)

RETAINER

1. EMPLOYMENT OF A LAWYER BY A CLIENT.
2. THE SPECIFIC AGREEMENT IN NO. 1

MODEL RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION RULES STATING AND EXPLAINING WHAT LAWYERS MUST DO, MUST NOT DO, SHOULD DO, AND SHOULD NOT DO. THEY COVER THE FIELD OF LEGAL ETHICS. (72)

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

A TIME LIMIT. FOR EXAMPLE, A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS IS A LAW THAT SETS A MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF TIME AFTER SOMETHING HAPPENS FOR IT TO BE TAKEN TO COURT. (63)

TICKLER SYSTEM

A CALENDARING SYSTEM. (69)

TRUST ACCOUNT (TRUST DEPOSIT)

MONEY OR PROPERTY PUT IN A BANK ACCOUNT TO BE KEPT SEPARATE (OFTEN FOR ETHICAL OR LEGAL REASONS) OR USED FOR A SPECIAL PURPOSE. (79)

AGENT

A PERSON AUTHORIZED (REQUESTED OR PERMITTED) BY ANOTHER PERSON TO ACT FOR HIM OR HER; A PERSON ENTRUSTED WITH ANOTHER'S BUSINESS. (97)

AGENT FOR SERVICE OF PROCESS

INDIVIDUAL DESIGNATED BY A CORPORATION WHO IS AUTHORIZED TO BE SERVED WITH A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE CORPORATION. (97)

AUTHORIZATION

A SIGNED STATEMENT EMPOWERING SOMEONE (SUCH AS A DOCTOR OR EMPLOYER) TO GIVE OUOT INFORMATION THAT MIGHT OTHERWISE BE TREATED AS CONFIDENTIAL. (91)

CHARACTER EVIDENCE

TESTIMONY ABOUT A PERSON'S PERSONAL TRAITS AND HABITS THAT IS DRAWN FROM THE OPINIONS OF CLOSE ASSOCIATES, FROM THE PERSON'S REPUTATION IN THE COMMUNITY, OR FROM THE PERSON'S PAST ACTIONS. (104)

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

FACTS THAT INDIRECTLY PROVE A MAIN FACT IN QUESTION. (101)

DEMEANOR

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE AND BEHAVIOR. THE DEMEANOR OF A WITNESS IS NOT WHAT THE WITNESS SAYS, BUT HOW THE WITNESS SAYS IT. (101)

DIRECT EVIDENCE

PROOF OF A FACT WITHOUT THE NEED FOR OTHER FACTS LEADING UP TO IT. FOR EXAMPLE, DIRECT EVIDENCE THAT DODOS ARE NOT EXTINCT WOULD BE A LIVE DODO. (101)

EVIDENCE LOG

A DOCUMENT ATTACHED TO AN ITEM OF PHYSICAL EVIDENCE RECORDING THE CHAIN OF POSSESSION (CHAIN OF CUSTODY) OF THAT PIECE OF EVIDENCE. (109)

EXPERT WITNESS

A PERSON POSSESSING SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE OR EXPERIENCE WHO IS ALLOWED TO TESTIFY AT A TRIAL NOT ONLY ABOUT FACTS (LIKE AN ORDINARY WITNESS) BUT ALSO ABOUT THE PROFESSIONAL CONCLUSIONS HE OR SHE DRAWS FROM THESE FACTS. (110)

HABIT

THE WAY A PERSON USUALLY RESPONDS TO A PARTICULAR SITUATION. (104)

HEARSAY

A STATEMENT ABOUT WHAT SOMEONE ELSE SAID (OR WROTE OR OTHERWISE COMMUNICATED). HEARSAY EVIDENCE IS EVIDENCE CONCERNING WHAT SOMEONE SAID OUTSIDE OF A COURT PROCEEDING THAT IS OFFERED IN THE PROCEEDING TO PROVE THE TRUTH OF WHAT WAS SAID. (105)

JUDICIAL NOTICE

THE ACT OF A JUDGE IN RECOGNIZING THE EXISTENCE OR TRUST OF CERTAIN FACTS WITHOUT BOTHERING TO MAKE ONE SIDE IN A LAWSUIT PROVE THEM. THIS IS DONE WHEN THE FACTS ARE EITHER COMMON KNOWLEDGE AND UNDISPUTED OR ARE EASILY FOUND AND CANNOT BE DISPUTED. (102)

LEADING QUESTION

A QUESTION THAT SHOWS A WITNESS HOW TO ANSWER IT OR SUGGESTS THE PREFERRED ANSWER. (100)

MEDICAL DIARY

A DOCUMENT IN WHICH THE CLIENT KEEPS TRACK OF MEDICAL TREATMENT, DAILY HEALTH COMPLAINTS, TYPE AND AMOUNT OF MEDICATION, MILEAGE TO PHYSICIAN'S OFFICES, AND OTHER RELATED MEDICAL EXPENSES. (95)

PRESUMPTION

A CONCLUSION OR INFERENCE DRAWN. A PRESUMPTION OF LAW IS AN AUTOMATIC ASSUMPTION REQUIRED BY LAW THAT WHENEVER A CERTAIN SET OF FACTS SHOWS UP A COURT MUST AUTOMATICALLY DRAW CERTAIN LEGAL CONCLUSIONS. (102)

RELEASE

A DOCUMENT BY WHICH A CLAIM OR RIGHT IS RELINQUISHED. (91)

RELEVANT EVIDENCE

EVIDENCE THAT TENDS TO PROVE OR DISPROVE A FACT THAT IS IMPORTANT TO A CLAIM, CHANGE, OR DEFENSE IN A COURT CASE. (103)

REPRESENTATION LETTER

A LETTER FROM AN ATTORNEY TO A NEW CLIENT ESTABLISHING THE GROUND RULES OF THE LITIGATION, INCLUDING FEES, BILLING RATES, RETAINER, AND WORK TO BE PERFORMED BY THE LAW FIRM. (91)

RETAINER AGREEMENT

AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN AN ATTORNEY AND A CLIENT SETTING FOR THE FEE ARRANGEMENT. (91)

SERVICE OF PROCESS

THE DELIVERY (OR ITS LEGAL EQUIVALENT, SUCH AS PUBLICATION IN A NEWSPAPER IN SOME CASES) OF A LEGAL PAPER, SUCH AS A WRIT BY AN AUTHORIZED PERSON IN A WAY THAT MEETS CERTAIN FORMAL REQUIREMENTS, IT IS THE WAY TO NOTIFY A PERSON OF A LAWSUIT.

ALLEGATION

A STATEMENT IN A PLEADING THAT SETS OUT A FACT THAT THE SIDE FILING THE PLEADING EXPECTS TO PROVE.

CAPACITY

LEGAL RIGHT TO SUE OR BE SUED (LEGAL ABILITY TO DO SOMETHING). (122)

CAPTION

THE HEADING OR INTRODUCTORY SECTION OF A LEGAL PAPER. THE CAPTION OF A COURT PAPER, USUALLY CONTAINS THE NAMES OF THE PARTIES, THE COURT AND THE CASE NUMBER (THE PART OF THE COMPLAINT THAT IDENTIFIES THE COURT IN WHICH THE COMPLAINT IS FILED, THE NAMES OF THE PLAINTIFFS AND DEFENDANTS (PARTIES), AND THE TITLE OF THE DOCUMENT. (120)

CLASS ACTION

A CLASS ACTION OCCURS WHEN ONE OR MORE PARTIES WHO SHARE A CLAIM WITH A MULTITUDE OF OTHERS FILE A LAWSUIT IN THEIR OWN NAMES AND ALSO CLAIM TO REPRESENT NUMEROUS OTHERS IN A SIMILAR SITUATION (A LAWSUIT BROUGHT FOR YOURSELF AND OTHER PERSONS IN THE SAME SITUATION). (126)

COMPENSATORY DAMAGES

DAMAGES AWARDED FOR THE ACTUAL LOSS SUFFERED BY A PLAINTIFF. THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF DAMES IN A CIVIL SUIT IS TO COMPENSATE PLAINTIFFS FOR A LOSS THEY HAVE SUSTAINED. (134)

COMPULSORY JOINDER

A PARTY OR ISSUE THAT MUST BE INCLUDED IN A CASE. (126)

COUNT

EACH SEPARATE PART OF A COMPLAINT OR AN INDICTMENT (SEPARATE FROM THE FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION, OR FIRST COUNT. (133)

DECLARATORY RELIEF

A COURT ORDER DEFINING OR EXPLAINING THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF PARTIES UNDER SOME CONTRACT OR OTHER DOCUMENT. (135)

DOCKET NUMBER

A NUMBER ASSIGNED TO A LAWSUIT BY THE COURT; EACH PLEADING OR DOCUMENT FILED IN THE ACTION MUST BEAR THIS NUMBER. (145)

EQUITABLE RELIEF

JUST, FAIR, AND RIGHT RELIEF FOR A PARTICULAR SITUATION.

FICTITIOUSLY NAMED DEFENDANTS

DEFENDANTS IN A LAWSUIT WHO ARE NOT IDENTIFIED BY THEIR CORRECT NAMES, USUALLY REFERS TO THE PRACTICE IN SOME STATE COURTS OF INCLUDING SEVERAL "DOES" AS DEFENDANTS TO PROVIDE FOR DISCOVERY OF ADDITIONAL DEFENDANTS AFTER THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS HAS RUN. (125)

FILING

GIVING A PAPER TO THE COURT CLERK FOR INCLUSION IN THE CASE RECORD (FILING OF A COMPLAINT MEANS THAT THE DOCUMENT IS GIVEN TO THE COURT). (144)

GUARDIAN AD LITEM

A GUARDIAN WHO IS APPOINTED BY A COURT TO TAKE CARE OF THE INTERESTS OF A PERSON WHO CANNOT LEGALLY TAKE CARE OF HIM OR HERSELF IN A LAWSUIT INVOLVING THAT PERSON. (122)

INDISPENSABLE PARTY

A PERSON WHO HAS SUCH A STAKE IN THE OUTCOME OF A LAWSUIT THAT THE JUDGE WILL NOT MAKE A FINAL DECISION UNLESS THAT PERSON IS FORMALLY JOINED AS A PARTY TO THE LAWSUIT (WHEN PARTIES ARE REQUIRED TO BE JOINED IN THE LAWSUIT). (126)

INJUNCTION

A JUDGE'S ORDER TO A PERSON TO DO OR TO REFRAIN FROM DOING A PARTICULAR THING. (135)

INTERPLEADER

A PROCEDURE IN WHICH PERSONS HAVING CONFLICTING CLAIMS AGAINST A THIRD PERSON MAY BE FORCED TO RESOLVE THE CONFLICT BEFORE SEEKING REFLIEF FROM THE THIRD PERSON (AN INTERPLEADER REFERS TO A TYPE OF ACTION IN WHICH SEVERAL DIFFERENT PARTIES CLAIM OWNERSHIP TO A FUND OR PROPERTY THAT IS IN THE CONTROL OF ANOTHER. (127)

PERMISSIVE JOINDER

A CONCEPT ALLOWING MULTIPLE PARTIES TO BE JOINED IN ONE LAWSUIT AS PLAINTIFF OR DEFENDANTS AS LONG AS THERE IS SOME COMMON QUESTIONS OF FACT OR LAW. (126)

PERSONAL SERVICE OF PROCESS

NOTICE OF A LAWSUIT OR OTHER PROCEEDING THAT IS GIVEN TO A PARTY BY PERSONALLY DELIVERING A COPY OF THE PAPERS TO THAT PARTY (IN PERSONAL SERVICE, A COPY OF THE SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT ARE PERSONALLY DELIVERED TO THE DEFENDANT. (150)

PLEADINGS

PLEADINGS ARE THE VARIOUS DOCUMENTS FILED IN A COURT PROCEEDING THAT DEFINE THE NATURE OF THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE PARTIES. NOT ALL DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE COURT ARE PLEADINGS. THE TERM PLEADING TECHNICALLY REFERS ONLY TO PAPERS THAT CONTAIN STATEMENTS, OR ALLEGATIONS, DESCRIBING THE CONTENTIONS AND DEFENSES OF THE PARTIES TO THE LAWSUIT. FORMAL WRITTEN STATEMENTS OF EACH SIDE OF A CIVIL CASE. (119)

PRAYER

THE PRAYER OR "WHEREFORE" CLAUSE--A REQUEST FOR SOME RELIEF OR REMEDY FROM THE COURT. THAT PART OF A LEGAL PLEADING (SUCH AS A COMPLAINT) THAT ASKS FOR RELIEF (HELP, MONEY, SPECIFIC COURT ACTIONS, AN ACTION FROM THE OTHER SIDE. (120)

PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

A COURT ORDER MADE PRIOR TO FINAL JUDGMENT IN THE CASE, DIRECTING THAT A PARTY TAKE SOME ACTION OR REFRAIN FROM TAKING SOME ACTION UNTIL THE TRIAL IN THE CASE TAKES PLACE. (136)

PROOF OF SERVICE

WRITTEN VERIFICATION THAT PAPERS HAVE BEEN DELIVERED TO A PARTY, DETAILING WHEN, WHERE, AND HOW THE PAPERS WERE DELIVERED. (150)

PUNITIVE OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES

EXTRA MONEY GIVEN TO PUNISH THE DEFENDANT AND TO HELP KEEP A PARTICULARLY BAD ACT FROM HAPPENING AGAIN (TO PUNISH - TO DETER THE BEHAVIOR FROM HAPPENING AGAIN). ALTHOUGH MONEY DAMAGES IN MOST CIVIL CASES ARE COMPENSATORY IN NATURE, SOMETIMES A PLAINTIFF IS ENTITLED TO RECOVER "PUNITIVE" OR "EXEMPLARY" DAMAGES. THESE ARE MEANT TO PUNISH THE DEFENDANT AND ARE AWARDED ONLY WHEN THE DEFENDANT HAS COMMITTED SOME EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE ACT. (134)

QUIET TITLE ACTION

A WAY OF ESTABLISHING CLEAR OWNERSHIP OF LAND. AN ORDER CLARIFYING OWNERSHIP OF REAL PROPERTY. (135)

REAL PARTY IN INTEREST

THE PERSON WHO WILL ULTIMATELY BENEFIT FROM WINNING A LAWSUIT, WHETHER OR NOT THAT PERSON BROUGHT IT INITIALLY. (121)

RESCISSION

THE ANNULMENT OF A CONTRACT. AN ORDER RESCINDING OR VOIDING A CONTRACT. (135)

RESTITUTION

GIVING SOMETHING BACK; MAKING GOOD FOR SOMETHING. AN ORDER TO RETURN MONEY OR PROPERTY, USUALLY PAID IN CONNECTION WITH A CONTRACT THAT WAS SUBSEQUENTLY RESCINDED. (135)

SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE

BEING REQUIRED TO DO EXACTLY WHAT WAS AGREED TO (AN ORDER REQUIRING A PARTY TO PERFROM A CONTRACT. (135)

STIPULATION

AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN LAWYERS ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF A LAWSUIT (A STIPULATION TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT IS A WRITTEN AGREEMONT AMONG ALL PARTIES (SIGNED BY THEIR ATTORNEYS) ALLOWING THE PLAINTIFF TO MAKE CERTAIN CHANGES IN THE COMPLAINT). (153)

SUBSCRIPTION

THE SIGNATURE OF THE ATTORNEY FILING THE DOCUMENT AND THE DATE. THE SUBCRIPTION ALSO INCLUDES THE ADDRESS AND EMAIL OF THE ATTORNEY(SIGN A DOCUMENT). (120)

MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF SUMMONS

IS A REQUEST THAT THE COURT NOT ALLOW THE COMPLAINT TO BE SERVED, THEREBY PREVENTING THE PLAINTIFF FROM PURSUING HER LAWSUIT (A REQUEST THAT THE COURT DECLARE THAT SERVICE OF THE COMPLAINT AND SUMMONS IS INVALID, EITHER BECAUSE THE COURT LACKS JURISDICTION OVER THE DEFENDANT OR BECAUSE OF SOME PROCEDURAL PROBLEM WITH THE SERVICE ITSELF. (47)

TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO)

A JUDGE'S ORDER TO A PERSON TO NOT TAKE A CERTAIN ACTION DURING THE PERIOD PRIOR TO A FULL HEARING ON THE RIGHTFULNESS OF THE ACTION (A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER USUALLY COMPELS THE DEFENDANT TO STOP CERTAIN CONDUCT IMMEDIATELY. (135)

VERIFICATION (VERIFY)

A STATEMENT SIGNED UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY BY THE PLAINTIFF THAT THE CONTENTS OF THE COMPLAINT ARE TRUE (SWEAR IN WRITING TO THE TRUTH OR ACCURACY OF A DOCUMENTS). A VERIFICATION IS REQUIRED FOR CERTAIN KINDS OF COMPLAINTS.

AFFIDAVIT

A WRITTEN STATEMENT SWORN TO BEFORE A PERSON OFFICIALLY PERMITTED BY LAW TO ADMINISTER AN OATH (A STATEMENT UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY, SWORN TO BEFORE A NOTARY). (188)

AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

THE PART OF A DEFENDANT'S ANSWER TO A COMPLAINT THAT GOES BEYOND DENYING THE FACTS AND ARGUMENTS OF THE COMPLAINT. IT SETS OUT NEW FACTS AND ARGUMENTS THAT MIGHT WIN FOR THE DEFENDANT EVEN IF EVERYTHING IN THE COMPLAINT IS TRUE (AN AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE IS A FACT OR CIRCUMSTANCE THAT DEFEATS THE PLAINTIFF'S CLAIM, EVEN IF THE PLAINTIFF CAN PROVE EVERY CONTENTION ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT (Example: BANKRUPTCY is an AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE). (168)

COMPULSORY COUNTERCLAIM

A COUNTERCLAIM BASED ON THE SAME SUBJECT OR TRANSACTION AS THE ORIGINAL CLAIM (COUNTERCLAIMS THAT MUST BE ASSERTED OR LOST ARE KNOWN AS COMPULSORY COUNTERCLAIMS). A COMPULSORY COUNTERCLAIM THAT IS NOT INCLUDED AS PART OF THE ANSWER IS THEREAFTER BARRED. (178)

CONTRIBUTION

THE RIGHT OF A PERSON WHO HAS PAID AN ENTIRE DEBT (OR JUDGMENT) TO GET BACK A FAIR SHARE OF THE PAYMENT FROM ANOTHER PERSON WHO IS ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEBT. (CONTRIBUTION IS A CLAIM FOR PARTIAL REIMBURSEMENT FROM A PERSON WHOSE WRONGDOING CONTRIBUTED TO THE INJURIES CLAIMED IN THE COMPLAINT). (178)

COUNTERCLAIM

A CLAIM MADE BY A DEFENDANT IN A CIVIL LAWSUIT THAT, IN EFFECT, "SUES" THE PLAINTIFF (WHEN DEFENDANTS ASSERT A CLAIM AGAINST A PLAINTIFF). (177)

CROSS-CLAIM

A CLAIM BROUGHT BY ONE DEFENDANT AGAINST ANOTHER THAT IS BASED ON THE SAME SUBJECT MATTER AS THE PLAINTIFF'S LAWSUIT (WHEN A CLAIM IS ASSERTED AGAINST A CO-DEFENDANT). (177)

DEMURRER

A LEGAL PLEADING THAT SAYS, IN EFFECT, "EVEN IF, FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT, THE FACTS PRESENTED BY THE OTHER SIDE ARE CORRECT, THOSE FACTS DO NOT GIVE THE OTHER SIDE A LEGAL ARGUMENT THAT CAN POSSIBLY STAND UP IN COURT." THE DEMURRER HAS BEEN REPLACED IN MAY COURTS BY A MOTION TO DISMISS.

ENTRY OF DEFAULT

ACTION BY A COURT CLERK NOTING THAT THE DEFENDANT HAS FAILED TO FILE A PROPER RESPONSE TO THE COMPLAINT (ENTRY OF DEFAULT IS NOT THE SAME AS A DEFAULT JUDGMENT. ENTRY OF DEFAULT MEANS THAT THE FAILURE TO RESPOND HAD BEEN NOTED IN THE COURT'S FILE.

GENERAL DENIAL

A TYPE OF ANSWER IN WHICH ALL OF THE ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT ARE DENIED (A GENERAL DENIAL IS ONLY ONE PARAGRAPH OR ALLEGATION, IN WHICH THE DEFENDANT DENIES ALL OF THE ALLEGATIONS CONTAINED IN THE COMPLAINT) (167)

INDEMNIFICATION

A CONCEPT ALLOWING A DEFENDANT WHO HAS PAID A JUDGMENT TO SEEK REIMBURSEMENT FROM ANOTHER DEFENDANT (TOTAL REIMBURSEMENT). UNDER THE SUBSTANTIVE LAW OF TORTS, AN EMPLOYER IS LIABLE TO THIRD PARTIES FOR INJURIES CAUSED BY THE NEGLIGENCE OF ITS EMPLOYEES WHILE THEY ARE IN THE COURSE AND SCOPE OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT. HOWEVER, THE EMPLOYER HAS A CLAIM AGAINST THE EMPLOYEE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OR INDEMNIFICATION. CROSS-CLAIMS OFTEN INVOLVE CLAIMS FOR INDEMNIFICATION. (180)

MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT

A REQUEST THAT THE JUDGE REQUIRE AN OPPONENT IN A LAWSUIT TO FILE A LESS VAGUE OR LESS AMBIGUOUS PLEADING (IF THE COMPLAINT (OR CROSS-CLAIM, COUNTERCLAIM, OR THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT) IS SO VAGUE OR AMBIGUOUS THAT THE OPPOSING PARTY CANNOT REASONABLY BE REQUIRED TO FRAME A RESPONSIVE PLEADING, THAT PARTY MAY PETITION THE COURT TO ORDER THE CLAIMANT TO REVISE THE PLEADING.

MOTION TO DISMISS

A REQUEST THAT THE COURT DISMISS OR STRIKE THE CASE (A MOTION TO DISMISS IS A REQUEST THAT THE COURT IMMEDIATELY TERMINATE THE ACTION WITHOUT GRANTING THE PLAINTIFF ANY OF THE RELIEF THAT WAS REQUESTED IN THE COMPLAINT. (186)

OPEN STIPULATION

AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN PARTIES OR THEIR ATTORNEYS THAT A DEFENDANT NEED NOT ANSWER A COMPLAINT WITHIN THE TIME DIRECTED BY LAW AND NEED NOT ANSWER UNTIL SPECIFICALLY NOTIFIED BY THE PLAINTIFF TO DO SO. (165)

PERMISSIVE COUNTERCLAIM

A CLAIM MADE BY A DEFENDANT IN A CIVIL LAWSUIT THAT, IN EFFECT, "SUES" THE PLAINTIFF BASED ON THINGS ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM THE PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT (UNLIKE COMPULSORY COUNTERCLAIMS, PERMISSIVE COUNTERCLAIMS MUST SATISFY THE COURT'S JURISDICTIONAL REQUIREMENTS.

QUALIFIED DENIAL

A TYPE OF ANSWER DENYING ALL OF THE ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT EXCEPT THOSE THAT ARE SPECIFICALLY ADMITTED (A QUALIFIED DENIAL IS A COMBINATION OF SPECIFIC AND GENERAL RESPONSES. IN A QUALIFIED DENIAL, THE ANSWERING DEFENDANT EXPRESSLY ADMITS OR DENIES CERTAIN ALLEGATIONS, THEN GENERALLY DENIES EVERYTHING ELSE. (168)

REPLY

IN FEDERAL PLEADING, THE PLAINTIFF'S RESPONSE TO THE DEFENDANT'S ANSWER OR COUNTERCLAIM (RESPONSES MUST BE MADE TO ALLEGATIONS CONTAINED IN COUNTERCLAIMS, CROSS-CLAIMS, AND THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINTS. THE RESPONSE TO A COUNTERCLAIM IS CALLED A REPLY) UNDER THE FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, ALL RESPONSES ARE DUE 20 DAYS AFTER SERVICE OF THE PLEADING CONTAINING THE CLAIM. (184)

SPECIFIC DENIAL

A TYPE OF ANSWER IN WHICH THE DEFENDANT SPECIFICALLY REPLIES TO EACH OF THE CONTENTIONS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT. THE DEFENDANT REPLIES TO THE VARIOUS CONTENTIONS (COUNT) BY ADMITTING THEM, DENYING THEM, OR DENYING THEM ON INFORMATION AND BELIEF. (167)

THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT

A COMPLAINT BROUGH BY A DEFENDANT IN A LAWSUIT AGAINST SOMEONE NOT IN THE LAWSUIT (WHEN THE CLAIM IS AGAINST A NEW PARTY, SOMEONE WHO WAS NOT A PARTY TO THE ORIGINAL LAWSUIT OR ACTION). (177)

CERTIORARI

TO REQUEST A HEARING IN THE SUPREME COURT, A PARTY FILES WITH THE COURT A DOCUMENT CALLED A PETITION FOR A WRITE OF CERTIORARI (IN THIS PETITION THE PARTY EXPLAINS TO THE COURT WHY THE CASE IS IM PORTANT ENOUGH FOR THE SUPREME COURT TO CONSIDER. (32)

SUBSTANTIVE LAW

SUBSTANTIVE LAW IS ONE THAT CREATES, DEFINES, OR EXPLAINS WHAT OUR RIGHTS ARE. THE BASIC LAW OF RIGHTS AND DUTIES (CONTRACT LAW, CRIMINAL LAW, ACCIDENT LAW, LAW OF WILLS, ETC) AS OPPOSED TO PROCEDURAL LAW (LAW OF PLEADING LAW OF EVIDENCE, LAW OF JURISDICTION, ETC). (6)

PROCEDURAL LAW

THE RULES OF CARRYING ON A CIVIL LAWSUIT OR A CRIMINAL CASE (HOW TO ENFORCE RIGHTS IN COURT) AS OPPOSED TO SUBSTANTIVE LAW (THE LAW OF THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES THEMSELVES). THE HOW TO'S OF THE LAW. (7)

PLAINTIFF

A PERSON WHO BRINGS (STARTS) A LAWSUIT AGAINST ANOTHER PERSON. (8)

PETITION

A WRITTEN REQUEST TO A COURT ASKING THAT IT TAKE A PARTICULAR ACTION. IN SOME STATES, "PETITION" IS USED IN PLACE OF "COMPLAINT" (THE FIRST PLEADING IN A LAWSUIT). (8)

ARBITRATION

ARBITRATION IS AN OUT OF COURT PROCESS IN WHICH A NEUTRAL PARTY, KNOWS AS AN ARBITRATOR, HEARS BOTH SIDES OF THE DISPUTE AND THEN MAKES A DECISION (AND THE DECISION IS BINDING). (11)

PRIMARY SOURCES

BOOKS THAT CONTAIN THE ACTUAL LAW ITSELF (I.E. CASE REPORTERS, CODES, CONSTITUTIONS). (12)

SECONDARY SOURCES

1. PERSUASIVE AUTHORITY
2. WRITINGS ABOUT THE LAW, SUCH AS ARTICLES, TREATISES, AND ENCYCLOPEDIAS.

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again

Example:

Reload the page to try again!

Reload

Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

NEW! Voice Recording

Create Set