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In Common-Law Pleading or Code Pleading, the initial statements made by a plaintiff that set forth a Cause of Action to commence a civil lawsuit; the different points of a plaintiff's declaration, each of which constitute a basis for relief. In Criminal Procedure, one of several parts or charges of an indictment, each accusing the defendant of a different offense.

The term count has been replaced by the word complaint in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and many state codes of civil procedure. Sometimes count is used to denote the numbered paragraphs of a complaint, each of which sets out an essential element of the claim.

Federal and state rules of criminal procedure govern the standards that a criminal count must satisfy in federal and state criminal matters.


n. each separate statement in a complaint which states a cause of action which, standing alone, would give rise to a lawsuit), or each separate charge in a criminal action. For example, the complaint in a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit might state: First Count (or cause of action) for negligence, and then state the detailed allegations; Second Count for breach of contract, Third Count for debt, and so forth. In a criminal case each count would be a statement of a different alleged crime. There are also so-called common counts which cover various types of debt. (See: common counts)


noun accusation, allegation, assertion, case for the prosecution, charge, citation, claim, comes, condemnation, countercharge, crimination, delation, denunciation, distinct statement, imputation, inculpation, indictment, item, item in the indictment, main charge, particular charge, statement of a cause of action
Associated concepts: count in an accusatory instrument, ommibus count
See also: accusation, amount, appraise, assess, calculate, canvass, census, charge, complaint, computation, enumerate, item, itemize, poll, quantity, sum, surmise, survey


a paragraph in an indictment containing a distinct and separate charge.

COUNT, pleading. This word, derived from the French conte, a narrative, is in our old law books used synonymously with declaration but practice has introduced the following distinction: when the plaintiff's complaint embraces only a single cause of action, and he makes only one statement of it, that statement is called, indifferently, a declaration or count; though the former is the more usual term.
    2. But when the suit embraces two or more causes of action, (each of which of course requires a different statement;) or when the plaintiff makes two or more different statements of one and the same cause of action, each several statement is called a count, and all of them, collectively, constitute the declaration.
    3. In all cases, however, in which there are two or more counts, whether there is actually but one cause of action or several, each count purports, upon the face of it, to disclose a distinct right of action, unconnected with that stated in any of the other counts.
    4. One object proposed, in inserting two or more counts in one declaration, when there is in fact but one cause of action, is, in some cases, to guard against the danger of an insufficient statement of the cause, where a doubt exists as to the legal sufficiency of one or another of two different modes of declaring; but the more usual end proposed in inserting more than one count in such case, is to accommodate the statement to the cause, as far as may be, to the possible state of the proof to be exhibited on trial; or to guard, if possible, against the hazard of the proofs varying materially from the statement of the cause of action; so that if one or more or several counts be not adapted to the evidence, some other of them may be so. Gould on Pl. c. 4, s. 2, 3, 4; Steph. Pl. 279; Doct. Pl. 1 78; 8 Com. Dig. 291; Dane's Ab. Index, h.t.; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t. In real actions, the declaration is most usually called a count. Steph. Pl. 36, See Common count; Money count.

References in periodicals archive ?
Trainer Dessie Hughes said yesterday: "Colonel Braxton's red cell count is a bit low so we're giving Sunday's race a miss.
West Nile patient laboratory findings, New York and New Jersey, 1999 and 2000 Number Test tested (%) CSF Leukocyte count, mean 19 (100) Red cell count, mean 16 (84) Protein, mean 19 (100) Glucose, mean 19 (100) Differential,(a) [is greater than or equal to] 50% neutrophils 15 (79) Complete blood cell count Leukocyte count, mean 19 (100) Differential cell count,(a) >77% segs + bands 18 (95) Hemoglobin (male), mean 11 (100) Hemoglobin (female), mean 8 (100) Other laboratory Hyponatremia, serum Na <135 mmol/L 19 (100) Elevated AST, >twice upper limit 17 (90) Elevated ALT, >twice upper limit 15 (79) Elevated total bilirubin, >twice upper limit 16 (84) Mean value or N Test with condition (range) CSF Leukocyte count, mean 308 [mm.
The second test revealed his blood was swimming with cancer cells, and his red cell count was below 17 percent.
DUTCH cyclist Erik Dekke yesterday was booted out of the World Championships in Italy after registering an irregular red cell count in a blood test.
Blood doping, involving transfusions, boosts an athlete's red cell count.