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61 Cards in this Set

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Affidavit
A written or Printed voluntary statement of facts, confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the party making it and made before a person having the authority to administer the oath or affirmation
Affirmative Defense
A response to a plaintiff's claim that does not deny the plaintiff's facts but attacks the plaintiff's legal right to bring an action. An example of running of the statute of limitations
Answer
Procedurally, a defentant's response to the plaintiff's complaint
Bankruptcy Court
A federal court of limited jurisdiction that handles only bankruptcy proceedings. Bankruptcy proceedins are governed by federal bankruptcy law
Brief
A formal legal document submetted y the attorney for the appellant-or the appellee (in answer to the appellant's brief)-to an appellate court when a case is appealed. The appellant's brief outlines the facts and issues of the case, the judge's rulings or jury's findings that should be reversed or modified, the applicable law, and the arguments on the client's behalf
Closing Argument
An argument made after the plaintiff and defendant have rested their cases. Closing arguments are made prior to the jury charges
Complaint
The pleading made by a plaintiff alleging wrongdoing in the part of the defendant; the documnent that, when filed with a court intiates a lawsuit
Concurrent Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction that exists when two different courts have the power to hear a case. For example, some fases can be heard in either a federal or a state court
Counter Claim
A claim made by a defentdant ina civil lawsuit that in effect sues the plaintiff
Cross-Examination
The questioning of an opposing witness during a trial
Default Judgement
A judgement entered by a court against a defendant who has failed to appear in court to answer or defend against the plaintiff's claim
Deposition
The testimony of a party to a lawsuit or a witness taken under oath before a trial
Direct Examination
The examination of a witness by the attorney who calls the witness to the stand to testify on behalf of the attorney's client
Discovery
A phase in the litigation process during which the opposing parties may obtain information from each other and from third paries prior to trial
Diversity of Citizenship
Under article III, Section 2, of the constitution, a basis for federal court jurisdicition over a lawsuit between (1) citizens of different states (2) a foreign country and citizens of a state or of different states, or (3) citizens of a state and citizens or subjects of a foreign country. The amount in controversy must be more than $75,000 before a federal court can take jurisdiction in such cases
Docket
The list of cases entered on a court's calendar and thus scheduled to be heard by the court
E-Evidence
A type of evidence that consists of compter-generated or electronically reorded information, including e-mail, voice mail, spreadsheets, word processing documents, and other data
Exclusive Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction that exists when a case can be heard only in a particular court or type of court, such as a federal court or a state court
Federal Question
A question that pertains to the U.S. Constitution, acts of Congress, or treaties. A federal question provides a basis for a federal jurisdiction
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
The rules controlling procedural matters in civil trials brought before the federal district courts
Hearsay
An oral or written statement made out of court that is later offered n court by witness (not the person who made the statement) to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement. Hearsay is generally inadmissable as evidence
In personam Jurisdiction
Court jurisdiction over the "person" involved ina legal action; personal jurisdiction
In rem jurisdiction
Court jurisdiction over a defendant's property
Interrogatories
A series of written questions for which written ansers are prepated and then signed under oath by a party to a lawsuit, usually with the assistance of the party's attorney
Judical Review
The process by which courts decide on the constitutionality of legislative enactments and actions fo the executive branch
Jurisdiction
The authority of a court to hear and decide a specific action
Justible Controversy
A controversy that is not hypothetical or academic but real and substantial; a requirement that must be satisfied before a court will hear a case
Long Arm Statute
A state statute that permits a state to obtain personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants. A defendant must have "minimum contacts" with that state for the statute to apply
Motion
A procedural request or application presented by an attorney to the court on behalf of a client
Motion for a directed vertict
In a jury trial, a motion for the judge to take the decision out of the hands of the jury and direct a vertict the moving party on the ground that the other party has not produced sufficant evidence to supoort his or her claim; reffered to as a motion for judgment as a matter of law in the federal courts
Motion for a new trial
A motion asserting that the trial was so fundamentally flawed (because of error, newly discovered evidence, prejudice, or other reason) that a new trial is necessary to prevent a miscarriage of justice
Motion for a judgement n.o.v
A motion requesting the court to grant judgment in favor of the party making the motion on the ground that the jury verdict against him or her was unreasonable and erronous
Motion of judgement on the pleadings
A motion by either party to a lawsuit at the close of the pleadings requesting the court to decide the issue solely on the pleadings without proceeding to trial. The motion will be granted only if no facts are in dispute
Motion for a summary judgement
A motion requesting the court to enter a judgment without proceeding to trial. The motion can be based on evidence outside the pleadings and will be granted only if no facts are in dispute
Motion to dismiss
A pleading in which a defendant assers that the plaintiff's claim fails to state a cause of action (that is, has not basis in law) or that there are other grounds on which a suit should be dismissed
Opening Statement
A statement made ot the jury at the beginning of a trial by a party's attorney, prior to the presentation of evidence. The attorney briefly outlines the evidence that will be offered and the legal theory that will be pursued
Pleadings
Statements made by the plaintiff and the defendant in a lawsuit that detail the facts, charges, and defenses involved in the litigation; the complaint and anser are part of the pleadings
Pretrial Conference
A conference, scheduled before the trial begins, between the judge and the attorneys litigating the suit. The parties may settle the sidpute, clarify the issuses, schedule discovery, and son on during the conference
Pretrial Motion
A written or oral application to a court for a ruling or order, made before trial
Question of fact
In a lawsuit, an issue involving a factual dispute that can only be decided by a judge (or, in a jury trial, a jury)
Question of Law
In a lawsuit, an issue involving the application or interpretation of a law; therefor, the judge, and not the jury, decides the issue
Rebuttal
The reutation of evidence introduced by an adverse party's attorney
Rejoinder
The defendant's answer to the plaintiff's rebuttal
Relevant evidence
Evidence tending to make a fact at issue in the case more or less probable athan it would be without the evidence. Only relevant evidence is admissible in court
Service of process
The delivery of the complaint and summons to a defentant
Small claims Court
Special courts in which parties may litigate small claims (usually invovlving $5000 or less). Attorneys are not required in small claims courts, and in many states attoneys are not allowed ot represent the parties
Standing to sue
The requirement of and individual must have a sufficent stake in a controversy before he or she can bring a lawsuit. The plaintiff must demonstrate that he or she either has been injured or threatened with injury
Summons
A document informing a defendant that a legal action has been commenced against him or her and that the defendant must appear in court on a certain date to anser the plaintiff's complaint. The document is delivered by a sheriff or any other person so authorized
Venue
The geographical district in which an action is tried and from which the jury is selected
Verdict
A formal decision made by a jury
Voir Dire
Old French verbs meaning "to speak the truth." In jury trials, the phrase refers to the process in which the attorneys question prospective jurors to determine whether they are biased or ahave any connection witha party to the action or with a prospective witness
Writ of Certiorari
A writ from a higher court asking the lower court for the record of a case
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
The resolution of disputes in ways other than those involved inthe traditional judical process. Negotiation, mediation and arbitrations are forms of ADR
Arbitration
The settling of a dispute by submitting it to a disinterested third party (other than a court) who renders a decision. The decision may or may not be legally binding
Award
In the context of litigation, the amount of money awarded to a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit as damages. In the context of arbitration, the arbitator's decision
Concilliation
A form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties reach an agreement themselves with the help of a newtral third party, called a conciliator, who facilitates the negotiaitons
Early Neutral Case Evaluation
A form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third party eveluates the strengths and weakness of the disputing parties' positions; the evaluator's opinion forms the basis for negotating a seeltement
Mediation
A method of settling disputes outside of court by using the services of a neutral third party, called a mediator. The mediator acts as a communicating agent between the parties and suggests ways in which the parties can sesolve their dispute
Mini-trial
A private proceeding in which each party to a dispute argues its position before the other side, and vice versa. A neutral third party may be present and act as an adviser is the parties fail to reach and agreement
Negotiation
In regard to dispute settlement, a process in which parties attempt to settle their dispute without going to court, with or without attornetys to represent them
Summary Jury Trial
A method of settling disputes in which a trial is held, but the jury's verdict is not binding. The verdict acts only as a guide to both sies in reaching an agreement during the mandatory negotiations that immediately follow the summary jury trial