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Legal Terms

TermDefinition
Plaintiff the party filing the lawsuit
Defendant the party against whom the lawsuit is filed
Summons Notice of a lawsuit given to a defendant
Complaint Plaintiff's claim and demand
Discovery An exchange of information regarding the party's claims including documents as well as the opportunity to question the witnesses
Deposition Where the witnesses are placed under oath and are questioned
Voir Dire The entire process of juror questioning
Civil trial A dispute between 2 or more parties that does not involve a criminal matter and is not a dispute between family members regarding divorce or child custody
Closing statement Final argument made by lawyers after all evidence has been presented
Opening Statement Given during the beginning of the trial, purpose is to explain the case
Evidence anything that tends to prove or disprove a claim about the facts
Exhibit tangible evidence
Witness a person who observed or participated in an event relevent to the subject of the trial
Testimony witness's statement
Expert Witness someone who may not have observed the event that is the subject of the lawsuit but because of his or her qualifications, is in a position to evaluate certain evidence and render an opinion.
Direct Examination questions asked to the witness that will bring out the facts of the case
Leading Questions Questions in a form that would force a certain answer.
Object disapproving of a question asked by a lawyer
Sustain to keep the objection placed by the lawyer, the objection is put into action
Overrule to disregard an objection placed by a lawyer
Cross Examine asking questions to the witness after the direct examination
Resting the Case when all evidence for the plaintiff or the state has been submitted
Redirect Examination questions asked to clarify points developed during the cross examination
Side Bar When the lawyers are in an argument, the lawyers are called to speak to the judge. Side bar discussions often concern matters of law or procedure and the judges decide to favor one side or another.
Leading the Witness One lawyer feels that the opposite side is manipulating the questioning to get the witness to yes to the questions-- Questions in a form that would suggest the answer. In a sense the lawyer is putting words in the client's mouth.
Hearsay A lawyer will object if he/she believe that the witness is recounting events that he did Anot see or hear first hand. A witness is not allowed to talk about what someone told him about an event-- he may only speak if events that he himself witnessed
Relevence Questions must have some bearing on the case and must relate to the case by addressing things the witness would be expected to know
Negligent Malpractice This is the charge being brought against the doctors.
Proximate Cause To determine what ever the defendant(s) did was the cause of what happened to the plaintiff. (Ex. If the doctors' negligence caused what ever damage occured)
Preponderance of Evidence clear and convincing evidence
Created by: Sharon Smolen