surprise

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Surprise

An unexpected action, sudden confusion, or an unanticipated event.

As a ground for a new trial, surprise means the condition in which a party to a lawsuit is unexpectedly placed and that is detrimental to that party's case. The situation must be one that the party could not reasonably have anticipated and that could not be guarded against or prevented.

When a party is taken by surprise by the testimony of his or her own witness, the party may be permitted to discredit the witness by showing that the witness made prior contradictory or inconsistent statements.

surprise

noun admiratio, amazement, astonishment, astoundment, bafflement, bewilderment, consternation, lack of warning, miratio, shock, unexpected event, unexxected occurrence, unforeseen contingency, unforeseen event, unforeseen occurrence, unsuspected event, unusual occurrence, wonder, wonderment
Associated concepts: take an opposing party by surprise
See also: bombshell, fortuitous, overwhelm, unforeseeable, unforeseen

SURPRISE. This term is frequently used in courts of equity and by writers on equity jurisprudence. It signifies the act by which a party who is entering into a contract is taken unawares, by which sudden confusion or perplexity is created, which renders it proper that a court of equity should relieve the party so surprised. 2 Bro. Ch. R. 150; 1 Story, Eq. Jur. Sec. 120, note. Mr. Jeremy, Eq. Jur. 366, seems to think that the word surprise is a technical expression, and nearly synonymous. with fraud. Page 383, note. It is sometimes, used in this sense when it is deemed presumptive of, or approaching to fraud. 1 Fonb. Eq. 123 3 Chan. Cas. 56, 74, 103, 114. Vide 6 Ves. R. 327, 338; 2 Bro. Ch. R. 826; 16 Ves. R. 81, 86, 87; 1 Cox, R. 340; 2 Harr. Dig. 92.
     2. In practice, by surprise is understood that situation in which a party is placed, without any default of his own, which will be, injurious to his interest. 8 N. AS. 407. The courts always do everything in their power to relieve a party from the effects of a surprise, when he has been diligent in endeavouring to avoid it. 1 Clarke's R. 162; 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 3285.

References in classic literature ?
Meanwhile the surprise occasioned by the unexpected meeting of their rivals seemed to have spread something like consternation among the white members of the Beecher party.
But the surprise rose higher still when the dame, with a body oozing easy indifference at every pore, but eyes that gave it all away by absolutely flaming with vanity, slowly unfolded an actual simon-pure tablecloth and spread it.
Parisians and Frondeurs as they were, the two friends expected to find the same misery, the same fears, the same intrigue in the enemy's camp; but what was their surprise, after passing Saint Denis, to hear that at Saint Germain people were singing and laughing, and leading generally cheerful lives.
She gained the landing at the moment when Montalais, as in all scenes of surprises, shut the closet by leaning with her back against the door.
I don't like surprises, my sister," said Urbain de Bellegarde; "especially when one is on the point of entering a drawing-room.
From a too well-stocked memory the Inspector drew one short adhesive word which surprises by itself even unblushing Ethiopia.
I had my share of judgment and audacity which surprises me now that the years have chilled the blood without dimming the memory.
It seems, on the contrary, to have been a perfectly spontaneous, untaught feeling on his side, and this surprises me.
He was talking to Miss Staverton, with whom for a couple of months now he had availed himself of every possible occasion to talk; this disposition and this resource, this comfort and support, as the situation in fact presented itself, having promptly enough taken the first place in the considerable array of rather unattenuated surprises attending his so strangely belated return to America.
Above him, at the angle of the steep green bank of the terraced garden, was one of those small picturesque surprises common in the old landscape gardening; a kind of small round hill or dome of grass, like a giant mole-hill, ringed and crowned with three concentric fences of roses, and having a sundial in the highest point in the centre.
And this persists even when from practice and through growing callousness of fibre we come to the point when nothing that we meet in that rapid blinking stumble across a flick of sunshine--which our life is--nothing, I say, which we run against surprises us any more.
At every step he found his former dreams disappointed, and new, unexpected surprises of happiness.