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New York Litigation Buzzwords

Jeena Belil

Words used by attorneys during the life of a lawsuit.

Bench Trial A written or printed declaration or statement of facts, made voluntarily, and confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the party making it, taken before a person having authority to administer such oath or affirmation
Default Preliminary questions to a witness to establish admissibility of evidence. Prerequisite to the admission of evidence at trial
Stay A formal request to the court to bring cases together under different captions which arise out of the same transaction and occurrence.
Compulsory Arbitration A putting off or rescheduling of appearance
Affidavit The temporary or permanent suspension of a case by order of a court
Motion to compel Formal name for a deposition in New York. Otherwise known as an EBT.
Motion to Strike The pre-trial devices that can be used by one party to obtain facts and information about the case from the other party in order to assist the party's preparation for trial. They include Interrogatories, EBTsl, documents or things, permission to enter upon land or other property, physical examinations etc.
Motion to consolidate A formal request to the court to have a party produce discovery.
Preliminary Conference In Nassau and Suffolk District Courts, an arbitration mandated by the Court once a Notice of Trial is filed. A Trial de Novo can be filed on any decision rendered by the arbitrator.
Inquest An order to a party to appear in court and explain why the court should not take a proposed action
Answer An inquiry of assessment of damages when a party defaults
Affirmative Defense A response to a plaintiff's claim which attacks the plaintiff's legal right to bring an action, as opposed to attacking the truth of the claim
Summons and Complaint The response by defendant to Plaintiff's Complaint
Subpoena A conference usually set up by the court for the parties to meet and schedule discovery. The agreement is so ordered by the court.
Party Judgment entered against a party who has failed to defend a claim that has been brought by another party
Foundation The first paper filed in a lawsuit.
Examination Before Trial Term applied to a type of testimony given by a witness who tells, not what he knows personally, but what others have told him, or what he has heard said by others.
Discovery A request on motion by either party for the court to find that no material issues of fact exist and that the case can be disposed. The motion must contain proper exhibits and evidentiary proof in order for it to be accepted by the court. Rules regarding summary judgment are codified in CPLR 3212.
Hearsay A formal request to the court, usually to declare the pleadings a nullity.
Summary Judgment A judicial process whereby a witness is subjected to the jurisdiction of the court and required to give relevant information "under penalty" of contempt.
Order to Show Cause Plaintiff or Defendant in Lawsuit
Motion Trial held before a judge sitting without a jury
Adjournment Written or oral application to court for ruling or order made before, during, or after trial

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