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Chapter 3: U.S. Legal System and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Terms in this set (50)
A court in which most civil or criminal cases start when they first enter the legal system. The parties present evidence and call witnesses to testify.
Trial Courts are referred to as courts of common pleas or county courts in state court systems and as district courts in the federal system.
A higher court, usually consisting of more than one judge, that reviews the decision and results of a lower court when a losing party files for an appeal.
Question of Law
An issue concerning the interpretation or application of the law.
Question of Fact
A question about an event or characteristic in a case.
In pesonam Jurisdiction
The power of a court to require a party or a witness to come before the court. The court must have personal jurisdiction to enforce its judgements or orders against a party.
The person or party who initiates a lawsuit before a court by filing a complaint with the clerk of the court against the defendants.
A formal written document that begins a civil lawsuit; contains the plaintiff's list of allegations against the defendant along with the damages the plaintiff seeks.
A legal document issued by a court and addressed to a defendant that notifies him or her of the lawsuit and how and when to respond to the complaint.
A statute that enables a court to obtain jurisdiction against an out-of-state defendant as long as the defendant has sufficient minimum contacts within the state, such as committing a tort or doing business in the state.
In Rem Jurisdiction
The power of a court over the property or status of an out-of-state defendant when that property or status is within the court's jurisdiction area.
Quasi In Rem Jurisdiction
A type of jurisdiction exercised by a court over an out-of-state defendant's property that is within the jurisdictional boundaries of the court. It applies to personal suits against the defendant in which the property is not the source of the conflict but is sought as compensation by the plaintiff.
Also known as attachment jurisdiction.
The power of a court over the type of case presented to it.
(1) The place where a hearing takes place.
Its geographic location is determined by each state's statutes and based on where the parties live or where the event occurred or the alleged wrong was committed.
(2) A legal doctrine relating to the selection of a court with subject-matter and personal jurisdiction that is the most appropriate geographic location for the resolution of the dispute.
Th legal right of a party or an individual to bring a lawsuit by demonstrating to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged. Otherwise, the court will dismiss the case, ruling that the plaintiff "lacks standing" to bring the suit.
Case or Controversy
A term in the U.S. Constitution to describe the structure and requirements of conflicting claims and individuals that can be brought before a federal court for resolution. A case or controversy requires an actual dispute between parties over their legal rights that remains in conflict at the time of the case is presented and that is a proper matter for judicial determination.
Also known as justifiable controversy.
The readiness of a case for a decision to be made. The goal is to prevent premature litigation for a dispute that in insufficiently developed. A claim is not ripe for litigation if it rest on contingent future events that may not occur as anticipated or may not occur at all.
Service of Process
The procedure by which a court delivers a copy of the statement of claim or other legal documents, such as summons, complaint, or subpoena, to the defendant.
Judgement for the plaintiff that occurs when the defendant fails to respond to the complaint.
Motion to Dismiss
A request by the defendant that asks a judge or a court in a civil case to dismiss the case because even if all the allegations are true, the plaintiff is not entitled to any legal relief.
Also called demurrer.
An application by a party to a judge or a court in a civil case requesting an order in favor of the applicant.
A claim made by the defendant against the plaintiff that is filed along the defendant's answer.
A response by the plaintiff to the defendant's counterclaim.
Motion for Judgement on the Pleadings
In civil case, a request made by either party, after pleadings have been entered, that asks a judge or a court to issue a judgement.
Motion for Summary Judgement
In a civil case, a request made by either party to ask a judge or a court to promptly and expeditiously dispose of a case without a trial.
Any evidence or information that would be admissible at trial under the rules of evidence, such as affidavits, interrogatories, depositions, and admissions, may be considered on a motion for summary judgement. A court may decide to hold oral arguments or decide the motion on the basis on the parties' briefs and supporting documentation alone.
The pretrial phase in a lawsuit during which each party requests relevant documents and other evidence from the other side in an attempt to "discover" pertinent facts and avoid any surprises in the court room during the trial.
A formal set of written questions that one party to a lawsuit asks the opposing party as part of the pretrial discovery process in order to clarify matters of evidence and help determine in advance what facts will be presented at any trial in the case.
Request to Procedure Documents
In a lawsuit, the right of a party to examine and copy papers of the opposing party that are relevant to the case. A legal request may be made, and the categories of the documents must be stated to allow the other party to know what documents he or she must produce.
A pretrial sworn and recorded testimony of a witness that is acquired out of court with no judge present.
An informal meeting of the judge with the attorneys representing the parties before the actual trial begins.
The process of questing potential jurors to ensure that the jury will be made up of unbiased individuals.
In a jury trial, the right of the plaintiff and the defendant in jury selection to reject, without stating a reason, a certain number of potential jurors who appear to have an unfavorable bias.
A contrived or imitation trial, with a jury recruited by a jury selection firm, that attorneys sometimes use in preparing for an actual trial to test theories, experiment with arguments, and try to predict the outcome of the real trial.
An unofficial jury, provided by a jury selection firm, that sits in during the actual trial and deliberates at the end of each day to evaluate for the attorneys how each side is doing.
A ruling by the judge, after the plaintiff has put forward his or her case but before any evidence is put forward by the defendant, in favor of the defendant because the plaintiff has failed to present the minimum amount of evidence necessary to establish his or her claim.
An error of law that is so significant that it affects the outcome of the case.
A written legal argument, which a party presents to a court, that explains why that party to the case should prevail.
An appellate court decision that accepts a lower court's judgement in a case that has been appealed.
An appellate court decision that grants an alternative remedy in a case; rendered when the court finds that the decision of the lower court was correct but the remedy was not.
A appellate court decision that overturns the judgement of a lower court, concluding that the lower court was incorrect and its verdict cannot be allowed to stand.
An appellate court decision that returns a case to the trial court for a new trial or for limited hearing on a specified subject-matter; rendered when the court decides that an error was committed that may have affected the outcome of a case.
Writ of Certiorari
A supreme court order, issued after the court decided to hear an appeal, mandating that the lower court send to the Supreme Court the record of appealed case.
Alternative dispute Resolution (ADR)
The resolution of legal problems through methods of others than litigation.
A bargaining process in which disputing parties interact informally to attempt to resolve their dispute.
A type of intensive negotiation in which disputing parties select a neutral party to help facilitate communication and suggests ways for the parties to solve their dispute.
A type of alternative dispute resolution in which disputes are submitted for resolution to private nonofficial persons selected in a manner provided by law or the agreement of the parties.
Binding Arbitration Clause
A contract provision mandating that all disputes arising under the contract must be settled by arbitration.
A type of dispute resolution process in which both parties agree to start out in mediation and, if unsuccessful, to move on to arbitration.
Summary Jury trial
An abbreviated trial that leads to a nonbinding jury verdict.
A type of conflict resolution in which lawyers for each side present their arguments to a neutral advisor, who then offers an opinion to what the verdict would be if the case went to trial. The decision is not binding.
An ADR method in which a reference is selected and paid by the disputing parties to offer a legally binding judgement in a dispute.
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