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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.


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)


noun the accused, accused litigant, accused party, charged party, party against whom a commlaint is lodged, party against whom charges are pending, party who is sued, respondent
Associated concepts: codefendant, defendant's rights, indissensable party defendant, necessary party defendant, nommnal defendant, party defendant, principal defendant, proper party defendant, third party defendants
Foreign phrases: Favorabiliores rei potius quam actores habentur.The condition of the defendant is to be favored rather than that of the plaintiff. Reus excipiendo fit actor. The defendant by his pleading may make himself a plaintiff. Melior est conditio possidentis, et rei quam actoris. The condition of the possessor and that of the defendant is better than that of the plaintiff. Habemus optimum testem, confitentem reum. We have the best witness, a confessing defendant. Melior est conditio defendentis. The position of the defendant is the better one.
See also: convict, litigant, party, respondent

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.

References in periodicals archive ?
In People v Allen, 375 Ill App 3d 810, 873 NE2d 30 (3d D 2007) a trial court convicted a defendant of DUI based upon the smell of burnt cannabis on the defendant's breath and an admission that the defendant smoked cannabis the night before.
Defendants argued that the plaintiff had lied about the extent of his injuries all along, and that he was caught on a surveillance tape engaged in activities he previously testified he was unable to perform because of his welding-related disorder.
The defendants were also ordered to observe a daily curfew of 8 p.
An example is the recent release of several convicted defendants in a sweeping drug investigation in Tulia, Texas.
This means a defendant will probably be prohibited from taking discovery from the certifying expert whose statement enabled the assertion of the plaintiffs claim.
Defendant asserts that plaintiffs purported negligence claim is preempted by N.
Defendants who wind up without representation find themselves in courtrooms alone and confused.
Attorneys are now successfully arguing that, without knowledge of previous settlements, it is impossible for juries and judges to fairly apportion liability to defendants.
Gramlich, (15) the defendant was arrested as he was off-loading 10,000 pounds of marijuana from two boats that, in turn, had been loaded from a Colombian freighter off the coast of Mississippi.
Rather, the defendants must show from an objective point of view that the reviewers' conclusions were reasonable.
Thursday at a house shared by the defendant and the victim and their wives in the 45000 block of Logue Court.
Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit recognized the privilege but stated that the "privilege will give way if the defendant can show need for the information.