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Saturday, April 25, 2015
Legal Definitions - V
A to Z Blogging Challenge. My topic is LEGAL DEFINITIONS EXPLAINED IN PLAIN [AND HOPEFULLY HUMOROUS] ENGLISH.
Vacate - 1) When a judge sets aside or annuls an order or judgment - Defense attorneys sometimes ask the court to “vacate the judgment” on the grounds that they forgot to file an Answer on behalf of their client, the tenant. If this happens, the attorney is usually required to reimburse the plaintiff for his costs and attorney fees. And, 2) to move out of real estate and cease occupancy - The primary purpose of approximately one-hundred percent of eviction cases is to force the defendant/tenant to vacate the property. Only about seventy-five percent of cases result in an actual eviction. The rest are generally settled on a “pay and stay” agreement.
Verdict – The jury's decision after trial. If it wasn't a jury trial, the judge's decision is called a judgment, not a verdict. A “special verdict” is when the jury decides the facts but does not decide the case. For example, many times the jury will be asked to provide answers to specific questions, like “did the parties have a contract” and “how much was the required payment” and “was written notice provided and if so, on what date” and “did the defendant understand what he was signing”, but will NOT be asked the bottom line of “must the defendant move out” or “did the defendant engage in securities fraud” or “was the defendant legally incompetent when he signed” because the law on the issue is complicated and not even most lawyers or judges agree on exactly what it means. So the jury decides the facts in a “special verdict”, and the judge then applies the law to those facts.
Vexatious litigant – A person who files a lawsuit knowing it has no legal basis, with the purpose to harass, annoy, and cause legal expenses to the opposing party. I have filed [and won] several motions to declare opposing parties as vexatious litigants, which often result in (1) dismissal of the case, (2) those parties NOT being able to file any other lawsuit unless the court gives advance permission, and (3) often includes the awarding of sanctions of more than $10,000, payable to my client. Don't mess with my clients!