1L - Civ Pro definitions


the proper or possible place for a lawsuit to proceed usually because the place has some connection either with the events that gave rise to the lawsuit or with the plaintiff or defendant. The place where court can exercise their judicial authority.

Improper venue

a place or court where jurisdiction is not authorized under a statute or by agreement of parties.

General Jurisdiction

a courts authority to hear a wide range of cases, civil or criminal that arise within its geographic area

Limited jurisdiction

a jurisdiction that is confined to a particular type of case or that may be exercised only under statutory limits and prescripts.


courts power to declare law over someone; a courts power to decide a case or issue a decree

Judicial Jurisdiction

the legal power and authority of a court to make a decision that binds the parties to any matter properly brought before it.

Personal Jurisdiction

a courts power to bring a person into its adjudicative process; jurisdiction over a defendant's personal rights, rather than merely over property interests. Also known as in personam jurisdiction. the exercise of power of a particular court over a particu

Subject matter jurisdiction

jurisdiction over the nature of the case and the type of relief sought; the extent to which a court can rule on the conduct of persons or the status of things; the exercise of power of a particular court to decide the kind of case

Diversity Jurisdiction

cases where all parties are all in different states; Federal court ONLY

Federal Question

Cases with a federal question can be brought to state or federal court


a statement that something yet to be proved is true. Types of claims? See counterclaim, cross claim.


a type of pleading that states the basis of the claims alleged and the relief you're looking for


the solution you're seeking from the lawsuit


to make a defendant appear in court when a complaint has been brought against them; also to notify them that a lawsuit against them has been commenced and that they're supposed to answer the complaint at a certain time and place. (black's law)

Amended complaint

a complaint that modifies and replaces the original complaint by adding relevant matters that occurred before or at the time of the action began. In some cases, a party must obtain the courts permission to amend its complaint.

Supplemental complaint

an additional complaint that either corrects a defect in the original complaint or adds relevant matters surrounding the action, needs to obtain the courts permission to file a supplemental complaint. Note: this DOESN'T replace the original complaint.


when the deft doesn't answer the summons and complaint or fails to appear, plaintiff can move for a default judgement

Default judgement

judge decides the case based on the evidence of one side of the party. Usually they'll get the relief they requested.

� Answer

A document in which the opposing side answers to the complaint. They can deny all the claims made in the complaint. Can be general if you're denying everything in the complaint

� Affirmative defenses can be stated in the answer as well


� Affirmative defenses

deft can assert in their answer 'facts and arguments' that will defeat Pltfs allegations in the complaint, even if the claims are true. Deft bears the responsibility of asserting them. If they don't assert it in their answer, then they've waived their rig

Res Judicata (claim preclusion)

affirmative defense barring the same parties from litigating a second lawsuit on the same claim, or any other claim arising from the same transaction or series of transactions and that could have been - but was not - raised in the first suit. Three elemen

� Damages

Money awarded to an injured person as compensation for a harm or loss

� Compensatory damages

damages sufficient in amount to indemnify the injured person for the loss suffered (black's law)

� Hard/'Special' damages

economic damages to settle a debt, irreplaceable loss, economic loss, medical expenses

� Plaintiff must prove that their certain to suffer that harm


� There's no fixed standard for deciding the amount of damages; only judgement is used based on the evidence and common sense


� Non-economic damages

damages that can't be measured in money. Usually settle pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement (things you really can't change)

� Specific Damages

restore what's been taken

� Punitive damages

damages awarded in addition to actual damages to penalize the wrong doer or making an example to others. To punish or deter defendants for or from outrageous conduct

� Legal Remedies - a legal right is enforced by a court when some harm or injury, recognized by society as a wrongful act, is inflicted upon the individual


� (interchangeable with Relief) Remedy

the means of enforcing a right or preventing or redressing a wrong; legal or equitable relief (black's law)

� Legal Remedy

a remedy historically available in a court of law, as distinguished from a remedy historically available only in equity.

� Equitable Remedies - a non-monetary remedy, such as an injunction or specific performance, obtained when available legal remedies cant adequately redress the injury. in absence of a legal remedy, equitable remedies allow recovery where it would be unjus


� Specific remedy

a remedy where the injured party is awarded the 'performance' that was contractually promised or whereby the injury threatened or caused by a tort is prevented or repaired.

� Injunction

a court order commanding or preventing an action; plaintiff has to show that no other remedy in the law and that irreparable injury will result unless this relief is granted.

� Declaratory Relief

permits parties to seek a declaration of their respective rights WITHOUT seeking damages (no money)

� Order

a written direction or command delivered by a court or judge

� Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO)

a court order preserving the status quo until a litigants application for a preliminary or permanent injunction can be heard; a TRO may sometimes be granted ex-parte, without notifying the opposing party in advance. a restraining order issued without noti

� Preliminary Injunction

temporary injunction issued before or during trial to prevent irreparable injury from occurring before the court has a chance to decide the case; can be issued only after the defendant receives notice and an opportunity to be heard. Evidentiary presentati

� Counterclaim

a claim for relief asserted against an opposing party after an original claim has been made. Deft making a claim against plaintiff after plaintiff filed the complaint. Usually made in the defts answer.

� Compulsory counterclaim

a counterclaim that must be asserted because it relates to the plaintiffs claim and arises from the same conduct, transaction or occurrence as the original complaint.

� Permissive counterclaim

a counterclaim that doesn't have to be asserted because it doesn't come from the same conduct, transaction or occurrence as the original complaint.

� Crossclaim

a claim asserted between co-defendants or co-plaintiffs in a case that relates to the subject of the original claim or counterclaim.

� Joinder

the uniting of parties or claims into a single lawsuit. the process by which one or more parties or claims are added to a lawsuit. The court recognizes two types of joinder:

� Necessary (or compulsory) joinder

has to happen if one of the following is true: 1) in the party's absence those involved in the lawsuit cannot receive complete relief OR 2) the absent party claims an interest in the subject of the action, so the party's absence might either impair the pr

� Permissive joinder - The optional joinder of parties if 1) their claims or the claims asserted against them are asserted jointly, severally or in respect of the same transaction or occurrence and 2) any legal or factual question common to all of them wi


� Joinder of claims

the practice or instance of uniting in one lawsuit all claims, counter claims, cross-claims and third-party claims that a party has against the opposing party.

� Impleader

a process by which a third party is brought into the lawsuit, especially by the defendant who's seeking to shift liability onto someone who hasn't been sued by plaintiff. The process which a third party is brought into a lawsuit by a defendant. The third

� Misjoinder

the improper union of parties in a civil case.

� Nonjoinder

the failure to bring a person who is a necessary party into a lawsuit.


the undoing of the joinder of parties or claims

� Intervention

an entry into a lawsuit by a third party who has a personal stake in the outcome of the case. sometimes joins the plaintiff in claiming what is sought OR sometimes joins defendant to prevent what plaintiff is seeking OR sometimes takes an adverse position

� Interpleader

a stakeholder usually who's unsure which of the claimants they're liable to, IF they're even liable at all. It permits them to bring claimants into a single action and require them to litigate among themselves to determine which, if any, has a valid claim

� Motion

a written or oral application requesting a court to make a specified ruling or order. Can be seen as a formal request to the court.

o Motion to dismiss

a request to the court that the lawsuit be dismissed because of a) settlement, b) voluntary withdrawal or c) a procedural effect.

o Motion for Summary Judgement

a request that the court enter judgement without a trial because there is no genuine issue of material fact to be decided by a fact finder (aka the jury) because the evidence exchange from discovery is insufficient to support a verdict in a nonmovants fav

o Motion for Sanctions

a party's request that the court impose a penalty on an attorney's law firm or opposing party has violated some requirement or has been responsible for a violation.

� Discovery

the pre-trial phase of a lawsuit during which depositions, interrogatories and other discovery are conducted. Conducted before trial to reveal facts and develop evidence. Modern rules have broadened the scope of pretrial discovery to prevent parties from

� Trial

a formal judicial examination of evidence and determination of legal claims in an adversarial proceeding.

� Jury trial

a trial in which the factual issues are determined by a jury, not by the judge

� Bench trial

a trial before a judge without a jury. They decide both questions of fact and law.