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Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Legal Definitions - X
A to Z Blogging Challenge. My topic is LEGAL DEFINITIONS EXPLAINED IN PLAIN [AND HOPEFULLY HUMOROUS] ENGLISH.
[I kind of cheated today. There were no X legal words I wanted to use, so I'm using “ex” instead. So sue me.]
Ex Parte – Motions, hearings, or orders which are heard by the court without formal notice to the opposing party. Ex parte matters are usually temporary orders [like a temporary restraining order or temporary custody] pending a formal hearing, or an emergency request for a continuance. Most courts require a diligent attempt to contact the other party or the other party's lawyer, usually by telephone altho sometimes by overnight mail, to provide the time and place of the ex parte hearing.
Excusable Neglect - A legitimate excuse for the failure of a party or lawyer to take required action on time. This is usually claimed by lawyers asking the court to set aside a default judgment entered against their client because they failed to timely file an answer or to show up at the hearing/trial. Illness, work overload, staff on vacation or sick or up-and-quit, mis-calendaring the hearing, or missing the bus/train, are common excuses which the courts will often accept. The offending party or attorney must reimburse the other party for its costs and legal fees incurred because of the error. This is separate from INexcusable neglect, which is often caused by voluntarily deciding not to file an answer and/or show up for the hearing/trial. This frequently happens in the eviction world because the defendant/tenant filed for bankruptcy, then fails to show up at the trial to let anyone know. However, if the defendant does NOT inform the court or the plaintiff of the bankruptcy filing, the plaintiff will be granted judgment [not knowing about the bankruptcy filing] and then go to the bankruptcy court and request permission to allow the judgment to stand. Most of the time, the bankruptcy court will allow this, meaning the defendant/tenant will be evicted because he stupidly did NOT show up for trial, which is INexcusable neglect.
Expert Witness - A person who is a specialist in a subject, who may testify at trial as to his/her expert opinion without having been an eyewitness in the case. Examples of expert witnesses are physicians, police officers, coroners, general contractors, real estate brokers, accountants, and computer programmers. I make use of real estate agents and brokers quite frequently to establish reasonable rental value of foreclosed properties.