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ad damnum clause
element of a complaint that asks for damages; or "prayer for relief"
joint and several liability
when multiple defendents may be found liable as a group (jointly) or separately (several)
summons
document that informs the defendant that he is being sued and that he has specific amount of time to respond
complaint
the pleading that initiates litigation; served with the summons
cause of action
a legally valid reason to sue; a required element of a complaint
pleading
a document asking the court to take some specific legal action.
service of process
the delivery of the summons and complaint upon defendent
in personam jurisdiction
Jurisdiction over a person
in rem jurisdiction
jurisdiction over the controversy, often property
quasi in rem jurisdiction
jurisdiction over property, even though the property is not the controversy
lis pendens
attachment to the title of a piece of property notifying any potential purchasers that the title is subject to the outcome of litigation
affirmative defense
an admission that a specific act did occur, arguing that the fault lies not with the defendant.
counter claim
a claim by the defendant against the plaintiff
cross claim
a claim by one defendant against a co-defendant
third-party complaint
pleading where a defendant sues someone not yet a party to the action