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Except where noted, definitions are from Mirriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996 as it appears on http://www.findlaw.com

Notes about legal citations:
In legal citations, the case name, in italics, is followed by the source in which the case was published. For example, the citation South Dakota v. Andrus 614 F.2d 1190 means the case is located in volume 614 of the Federal Reporter, second series, beginning on page 1190. Sometimes a case will be printed in more than source, so the case name is followed by several citations: Camfield v. United States 167 U.S. 518, 17 S.Ct. 864 means the case can be found in volume 167 of the United States Reports on page 518 and in volume 17 of West's Supreme Court Reporter on page 864.

District courts are sometimes divided into sections: Eastern (E.), Western (W.), Southern (S.), Northern (N.), Central (C.), or Middle (M.). For example, a citation reading W.D. Ark. means the Western District of Arkansas. Some state district courts are not divided, for example D. Mont. refers to the District of Montana.

§ - section (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.)


A I B I C I D I E I F I G I H I I I J I K I L I M I N I O I P I Q I R I S I T I U I V I W I X I Y I Z



Affirmed per curiam
By the court as a whole rather than by a single justice and usually without extended discussion. Abbreviated "aff'd per curiam."
A.L.R.
American Law Reports. This series selectively reports appellate court cases, covering both state and federal topics. It includes "illustrative cases, outlines, Annotations and their various sections, indexes, and references to related publications." (Fundamentals of Legal Research. 7th edition. J. Myron Jacobstein, Roy M. Mersky and Donald J. Dunn. New York: Foundation Press; 2000.)
Appeal
A proceeding in which a case is brought before a higher court for review of a lower court's judgment for the purpose of convincing the higher court that the lower court's judgment was incorrect; also, a proceeding for the review of an agency decision at a higher level within the agency or in a court.
Appellee
The party to an appeal arguing that the lower court's judgment was correct and should stand.
Appellant
A person or party who appeals a court's judgment.
Arbitrary and capricious
Existing or coming about seemingly at random or by chance or as an unreasonable act of individual will without regard for facts or applicable law.

Note: Under section 706 of the Administrative Procedure Act, a court shall set aside an agency's action, findings, or conclusions determined upon review to be arbitrary.
Arguendo
For the sake of argument. Example: assuming arguendo that the allegations are true.
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Bad faith
Intentional deception, dishonesty, or failure to meet an obligation or duty.
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CFR
Code of Federal Regulations. The annual collection of executive-agency regulations published in the daily Federal Register, combined with previously issued regulations that are still in effect. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.) .

See also Code.
Cir.
Abbreviation for "circuit court." A court that sits in more than one place in a judicial district, such as a state court, usually with original jurisdiction and sometimes with appellate jurisdiction.
Civ.
Abbreviation for "civil court." When in a citation such as Civ. 5-79-178, it stands for the docket number of an unpublished case (according to a University of Montana law librarian). Docket: A formal record in which a judge or court clerk briefly notes all the proceedings and filings in a court case.... Docket number: A number that the court clerk assigns a case on the court's docket. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.).
Civil court
A court having trial jurisdiction over usually minor civil matters. "Civil" means relating to private rights and to judicial proceedings in connection with them, or relating to legal matters other than those characterized as criminal.
Certiorari
An extraordinary writ issued by a superior court (as the Supreme Court) to call up the records of a particular case from an inferior judicial body (as a Court of Appeals). Abbreviated "cert."

Note: Certiorari is one of the two ways to have a case from a U.S. Court of Appeals reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Certification is the other. The Supreme Court may also use certiorari to review a decision by a state's highest court when there is a question as to the validity of a federal treaty or statute, or of a state statute on constitutional grounds. Certiorari is also used within state court systems.
Code
A systematic compilation or revision of law or legal principles that is arranged especially by subject.... one that contains the law of a specific jurisdiction or topic promulgated by legislative authority.
Court of appeals
A court hearing appeals from the decisions of lower courts.
Court of claims
A court (as in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and West Virginia) that has jurisdiction primarily over cases involving claims against the state.

See also United States Court of Federal Claims
Ct. Cl.
In citations, such as 231 Ct. Cl. 878, this stands for Court of Claims Reports. The publication covers cases from 1863 to 1982. (The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. 17th edition. Mary Miles Prince, editor. Harvard Law Assoc.; 2000.)
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Declaratory
Serving to declare, set forth, or explain, such as declaring what is the existing law or declaring a legal right or interpretation.
Defendant
The party against whom a criminal or civil action is brought.
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En banc
With all judges or a quorum of judges present; in full court.
Enjoin
To prohibit by judicial order; issue an injunction against.
Et seq.
Et sequens. "And the following." (Standard Encyclopedic College Dictionary. Sidney I. Landau, editor-in-chief. Funk and Wagnalls: New York; 1968.).
Ex relatione
Upon relation or information. Legal proceedings which are instituted by the attorney general (or other proper person) in the name and behalf of the state, but on the information and at the instigation of an individual who has a private interest in the matter, are said to be taken "on the relation" (ex relatione) of such person, who is called the relator. (Black's Law Dictionary. 5th edition. Henry Campbell Black. St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing Co; 1979.) Abbreviated "ex rel."
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F.
The first series of the Federal Reporter, which includes federal decisions (trial and appellate) from 1880 to 1924. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.).
F. 2d.
The second series of the Federal Reporter, which includes federal appellate decisions from 1924 to 1993. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.).
F. Supp. or Fed. Supp.
The Federal Supplement, a series of reported decisions of the federal district courts (from 1932 to 1998), the U.S. Court of Claims (1932 to 1960), and the U.S. Customs Court (from 1949 to 1998, but renamed the Court of International Trade in 1980). (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.).
F. Supp. 2d.
The second series of the Federal Supplement, which includes decisions of federal district courts and the Court of International Trade from 1997 to the present. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.).
Fed. Register
Federal Register. The daily bulletin of administrative and executive rules, regulations, orders, and notices that is published by the federal government.

Note: The Federal Register in effect updates the Code of Federal Regulations daily.
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Holding
A ruling of a court upon an issue of law raised in a case; the pronouncement of law supported by the reasoning in a court's opinion.
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Id.
Idem. Latin for "same." Something previously mentioned; the same authority (used in citations to cases and other works to refer to an immediately preceding reference).
Injunction
An equitable remedy in the form of a court order compelling a party to do or refrain from doing a specified act.

An injunction is available as a remedy for harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law. Thus it is used to prevent a future harmful action rather than to compensate for an injury that has already occurred, or to provide relief from harm for which an award of money damages is not a satisfactory solution or for which a monetary value is impossible to calculate. A defendant who violates an injunction is subject to penalty for contempt.
Intervening defendants
Intervenor: The entry into a lawsuit by a third party who, despite not being named a party to the action, has a personal stake in the outcome.... The intervenor sometimes joins the plaintiff in claiming what is sought, sometimes joins the defendant in resisting what is sought and sometimes takes a position adverse to both the plaintiff and the defendant. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.)
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Judicial review
A constitutional doctrine that gives to a court system the power to annul legislative or executive acts which the judges declare to be unconstitutional.
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L. Ed. or L. Ed. 2d.
United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Edition. Published by LEXIS Law Publishing. The first series covers from 1789 to 1956. The second series covers from 1956 to date. This publication reports the opinions given in the government-printed U.S. Reports, supplemented with summaries, headnotes, and editorial articles and essays on legal issues raised in the cases. (Fundamentals of Legal Research. 7th edition. J. Myron Jacobstein, Roy M. Mersky and Donald J. Dunn. New York: Foundation Press; 2000).

See also S. Ct. (West's Supreme Court Reporter) and U.S. (United States Supreme Court Reports).
Loss of consortium
A loss of the benefits that one spouse is entitled to receive from the other, including companionship, cooperation, aid, affection, and sexual relations.... Loss of consortium can be recoverable as damages in a personal-injury or wrongful-death action. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.).
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N.W. or N.W.2d
North Western Reporter. A set of regional lawbooks that.... contain every published decision from Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin from 1879 to date. First series: 1879 to 1941. Second series: 1942 to date. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.)
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P. or P.2d
Pacific Reporter. A set of regional lawbooks that.... contain every published decision from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming from 1883 to date. First series: 1883 to 1931. Second series: 1932 to date. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.).
Plain meaning rule
A rule in statute or contract interpretation: when the language is unambiguous and clear on its face the meaning of the statute or contract must be determined from the language of the statute or contract and not from extrinsic evidence.
Plaintiff
The party who institutes a legal action or claim.
Precedent, binding and nonbonding
A judicial decision that should be followed by a judge when deciding a later similar case.

Note: To serve as precedent for a pending case, a prior decision must have a similar question of law and factual situation. If the precedent is from the same or a superior jurisdiction (as the state's supreme court), it is binding upon the court and must be followed; if the precedent is from another jurisdiction (as another state's supreme court), it is considered only persuasive. Precedents may be overruled especially by the same court that originally rendered the decision.
Promulgate
To make known or public, or to put (as a regulation) into effect.
Public law
The body of law dealing with the relations between private individuals and the government, and with the structure and operation of the government itself; constitutional law, criminal law, and administrative law taken together.... Federal public laws are first published in Statutes at Large and are eventually collected by subject in the U.S. Code. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.)
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Regulation
A rule or order issued by a government agency and often having the force of law.

Note: An agency is often delegated the power to issue regulations by the legislation that created it. Regulations must be made in accordance with prescribed procedures, such as those set out in the federal or a state Administrative Procedure Act. Federal regulations are first published in the Federal Register and later codified in the Code of Federal Regulations.
Rehearing
A second or subsequent hearing of a case or an appeal, usually held to consider an error or omission in the first hearing... (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.)
Relief, declaratory and injunctive
Redress, assistance, or protection given by law, especially from a court. A release from obligation or duty, or an order from a court granting a particular remedy (as return of property).

injunctive relief: of or relating to an injunction
declaratory relief: declaring a legal right or interpretation
Remand
To return (a case or matter) from one court to another, especially lower, court or from a court to an administrative agency.
Reviewed
A judicial reexamination and reconsideration of the legality or constitutionality of something (as the proceedings of a lower tribunal or a legislative enactment or governmental action).
Ripe
Of, relating to, or being a claim for relief that is ready for judicial resolution because the injury is certain to occur and is not merely hypothetical or speculative.
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S. Ct.
When in a citation such as 97 S. Ct. 347, the abbreviation stands for West's Supreme Court Reporter. West Group publishes this reporter, which "reproduces verbatim the text of the opinion or opinions for each Supreme Court case" and also adds "headnotes, topics, and key numbers." (Fundamentals of Legal Research. 7th edition. J. Myron Jacobstein, Roy M. Mersky and Donald J. Dunn. New York: Foundation Press; 2000.)

See also L. Ed. (United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Edition) and U.S. (United States Supreme Court Reports).
Standing
The status of being qualified to assert or enforce legal rights or duties in a judicial forum because one has a sufficient and protectable interest in the outcome of a justiciable controversy and usually has suffered or is threatened with actual injury. Also, a principle requiring that a party have standing in order to justify the exercise of the court's remedial powers.
Statute
A law enacted by the legislative branch of a government.
Statutory
Enacted, created, regulated, or defined by statute.
Summary judgment
Judgment that may be granted upon a party's motion when the pleadings, discovery, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the party is entitled to judgment in its favor as a matter of law.

Note: According to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a motion for summary judgment may be made at any time after 20 days following the commencement of the action. Summary judgment may be granted on all or on just part of a case.
Supra
Latin. "Earlier in this writing" or "above." Usually used to refer to previously cited material.
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Taking
A seizure of private property or a substantial deprivation of the right to its free use or enjoyment that is caused by government action and especially by the exercise of eminent domain and for which just compensation to the owner must be given according to the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Note: A governmental action that results in a mere diminution in property value is less likely to be considered a taking than one that deprives the owner of economically viable use of the property.
Tort
A wrongful act other than a breach of contract that injures another and for which the law imposes civil liability: a violation of a duty (as to exercise due care) imposed by law as distinguished from contract for which damages or declaratory relief (as an injunction) may be obtained.
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United States Court of Federal Claims:
A federal court having nationwide trial jurisdiction over claims against the United States.

Note: The claims over which this court has jurisdiction include those based on the Constitution, acts of Congress, regulations of an executive agency, contracts with the United States, actions for damages not sounding in tort, claims of American Indian groups against the United States, and certain tax cases (as claims for tax refunds). Private bills are referred to it from Congress for advisory findings as to whether there is a genuine legal or equitable claim for relief. The court does not have jurisdiction over claims for pensions or claims based on treaties with foreign nations.
U.S.
When in a citation such as 429 U.S. 935, U.S. stands for United States Reports. These volumes cover from 1875 to date (The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. 17th edition. Mary Miles Prince, editor. Harvard Law Assoc.; 2000). This publication contains official reports for cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, and is printed by the Government Printing Office. Bound volumes tend to "run four or five years behind schedule," so the United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Edition and West's Supreme Court Reporter are often cited as well. (Fundamentals of Legal Research. 7th edition. J. Myron Jacobstein, Roy M. Mersky and Donald J. Dunn. New York: Foundation Press; 2000.)

See also L. Ed. (United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Edition) and S. Ct. (West's Supreme Court Reporter).
U.S. App. D.C.
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. Usually abbreviated D.C. Cir. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.)
U.S.C.
United States Code. A multivolume published codification of federal statutory law. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.)

See also code
U.S.C.A.
United States Code Annotated. A multivolume publication of the complete text of the United States Code with historical notes, cross-references, and case notes of federal and state decisions construing specific Code sections. (Black's Law Dictionary. 7th edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group; 1999.)

Vacate
To nullify or cancel; make void; invalidate.
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