test case

(redirected from test cases)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

Test Case

A suit brought specifically for the establishment of an important legal right or principle.

The term test case describes a case that tests the validity of a particular law. Test cases are useful because they establish legal rights or principles and thereby serve as precedent for future similar cases. Test cases save the judicial system the time and expense of conducting proceedings for each and every case that involves the same issue or issues.

To illustrate, assume that Congress passes a law that makes using a cellular phone while driving a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $10,000. Such a law would likely be challenged by a large number of cell phone owners, all of whom are in essentially identical circumstances and all of whom have the same arguments against the law. In such a situation, attorneys representing the plaintiffs might look for a case with a sympathetic set of facts with which to challenge the law. For example, they might select a case involving a driver who was charged with violating the law when she used her cell phone to request medical assistance for a family member. Other observant law firms would postpone or otherwise delay their own similar cases to wait for the outcome of the test case.

A test case need not concern a new law. Suppose, for example, an attorney or client is dissatisfied with the current state of a particular law and has strong arguments in favor of changing it. If the facts of the case give the attorney or client a good chance of prevailing, the case may be called a test case because the outcome would change the law for future persons in similar circumstances.

In some cases, a person may choose to violate an existing law to provoke a lawsuit, prosecution, or penalty. The person may then challenge the lawsuit, prosecution, or penalty and use the case to try and change the law through a judicial opinion. In Druker v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 697 F.2d 46 (2d Cir. 1982), cert. den., 461 U.S. 957, 103 S. Ct. 2429, 77 L. Ed. 2d 1316 (1983), for example, James O. and Joan Druker, a married couple, intentionally used the lower tax rates for unmarried individuals in computing their 1975 and 1976 Income Tax because they believed the federal tax scheme was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could take action against the Drukers, the Drukers filed suit against the commissioner of the IRS. The Drukers were unsuccessful, but had they received a favorable disposition, they would have succeeded in changing the law on federal taxation of married couples.


Case Law; Stare Decisis.

See: criterion

test case

References in periodicals archive ?
Anite s fully automated Conformance Toolset solution uses the internal baseband fading capabilities of the Anite 9000 network simulator, enabling existing users to easily and cost-effectively access the new PTRCB data throughput test cases.
The BPMN-based test cases created with BPM-X technology provide a visual documentation as well as an improved analytic understanding of end-to-end test and business scenarios.
London, May 21 (ANI): Jude Law's legal action against the 'News of the World' for hacking his phone would be used as a test case to decide the amount of compensation that the newspaper will have to pay to the phone-hacking victims.
The IPS set up test cases to litigate the schemes, and all similarly situated taxpayers who so agreed were supposed to be bound by the outcomes of those cases.
Before the test cases were tried, in clear violation of IRS and Tax Court rules, the IRS lead attorney and the supervising attorney of the local IRS office entered into secret settlement agreements with two of the test case parties, the Thompsons and the Cravens.
The ERAM initial test cases present an opportunity to create solutions and set examples for credible and enduring change management.
Once the software engineer defines the scope of the system under test--either a single class or a collection of classes--and its interface, Rhapsody ATG automatically generates test cases.
Daphne Dumont, Past President of the CBA announced a program that includes (1) the formation of a Coalition of nine organizations that have similar concerns regarding legal aid, (2) with Coalition partners, taking the CBA's Legal Aid Watch to the grassroots, and (3) the selection of test cases to broaden the scope of a constitutional right to legal representation.
An implementation was verified by ITL if it correctly performed a set of 291 test cases that had been defined to exercise every basic element of the DES.
Industry groups and attorneys are eager to hear from owners when they begin to receive these escrow orders, particularly to use as test cases.
At the GCF CAG#22 meeting earlier this month, Anritsu successfully gained GCF approval for an industry-leading 12 RF test cases for its ME7873L RF Conformance Test System together with additional test cases for its ME7832L Protocol Conformance Test System.
Anritsu Company announces its ME7873L RF/RRM Conformance Test System has achieved more than 80% of RF/RRM conformance test cases approval by the Global Certification Forum (GCF) related to LTE-Advanced TD-LTE Carrier Aggregation.