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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.


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 periodicals archive ?
With scenes like those on Wednesday it's no suprise the local game is dying.
6 /PRNewswire/ -- Today's announcement that Greece's Hellenic Air Force has selected F-16 aircraft powered by the F110-GE-129 was met with disappointment by Pratt & Whitney's (P&W) management, but not suprise, company officials said.
So it's no suprise that they invited former IRA leader Martin McGuinness to lecture at the Peace Centre.
On the attempted theft of lampposts Surprise, suprise, the cast iron one outside my house was changed some weeks ago, but was left in-situ after the new one was working.
In carving out a seven-point lead at the top of the table, they remain unbeaten on the road, conceding five goals in their eight matches and it is no suprise to see them at just 8-13 to come out on top today.
THE new series of Rab C Nesbitt had a suprise guest - Susan Boyle.
MARTIN O'NEILL has lined up a suprise move for unsung Celtic hero Lee Naylor.
The young prince fell for Macca's photographer daughter Mary during a suprise visit to the singer's studio at the age of eight.
That's something of a suprise, really, because think how often the best parts of a song are the intro or the fade-out rather than the verse-chorus-verse sequence in the middle - you'd imagine that anybody who could extend those sections into full-length tracks would be on to a winner.
But it's hardly a suprise that Joshua was watching the Giants as he is now the fourth generation of Huddersfield RLFC supporters.
More than 120,000 advance tickets were sold for the show and with 300 companies exhibiting more than 700 vehicles it is no suprise the event proved such an crowd-puller.