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The person defending or denying; the party against whom relief or recovery is sought in an action or suit, or the accused in a criminal case.

In every legal action, whether civil or criminal, there are two sides. The person suing is the plaintiff and the person against whom the suit is brought is the defendant. In some instances, there may be more than one plaintiff or defendant.

If an individual is being sued by his or her neighbor for Trespass, then he or she is the defendant in a civil suit. The person being accused of murder by the state in a Homicide case is the defendant in a criminal action.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. 1) the party sued in a civil lawsuit or the party charged with a crime in a criminal prosecution. In some types of cases (such as divorce) a defendant may be called a respondent. (See: plaintiff)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

DEFENDANT. A party who is sued in a personal action. Vide Demandant; Parties to Actions; Pursuer; and Com. Dig. Abatement, F; Action upon the case upon assumpsit, E, b; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.
     2. At common law a defendant cannot have judgment to recover a sum of money of the plaintiff. But this rule is, in some cases, altered by the act of assembly in Pennsylvania, as by the. Act of 1705, for defalcation, by which he may sue out a sci. fac. on the record of a verdict for a sum found in his favor. 6 Binn. Rep. 175. See Account 6.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
2004) (citations omitted) ("If criminal indictments are returned against the civil defendants, then a court should strongly consider staying the civil proceedings until the related criminal proceedings are resolved.").
The evidence necessary, to recover punitive damages also encourages plaintiff attorneys to demonize otherwise average civil defendants. Instead of merely seeking reparations for a civil wrong, plaintiff lawyers try to show that defendants are evil people or corporations in need of punishment.
This article shows that, as to proffers of asserted expert testimony, civil defendants win their Daubert reliability challenges to plaintiffs' proffers most of the time, and that criminal defendants virtually always lose their reliability challenges to government proffers.
The result would be that the pocketbooks of civil defendants would be protected from plaintiffs' claims by exclusion of undependable expert testimony, but that criminal defendants would not be protected from conviction based on similarly undependable expert testimony.
Examination of a large random sample of court of appeals civil cases(33) shows that nearly 90% of such cases involved challenges by civil defendants of plaintiff-proffered expertise, and that the defendants prevailed nearly two-thirds of the time.
Four of the 10 civil defendants were Enterasys executives who were convicted on more narrow criminal charges at the end of 2006 and were sentenced to terms ranging from three to 11-1/2 years.

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