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In Common-Law Pleading or Code Pleading, the initial statements made by a plaintiff that set forth a Cause of Action to commence a civil lawsuit; the different points of a plaintiff's declaration, each of which constitute a basis for relief. In Criminal Procedure, one of several parts or charges of an indictment, each accusing the defendant of a different offense.

The term count has been replaced by the word complaint in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and many state codes of civil procedure. Sometimes count is used to denote the numbered paragraphs of a complaint, each of which sets out an essential element of the claim.

Federal and state rules of criminal procedure govern the standards that a criminal count must satisfy in federal and state criminal matters.


n. each separate statement in a complaint which states a cause of action which, standing alone, would give rise to a lawsuit), or each separate charge in a criminal action. For example, the complaint in a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit might state: First Count (or cause of action) for negligence, and then state the detailed allegations; Second Count for breach of contract, Third Count for debt, and so forth. In a criminal case each count would be a statement of a different alleged crime. There are also so-called common counts which cover various types of debt. (See: common counts)


noun accusation, allegation, assertion, case for the prosecution, charge, citation, claim, comes, condemnation, countercharge, crimination, delation, denunciation, distinct statement, imputation, inculpation, indictment, item, item in the indictment, main charge, particular charge, statement of a cause of action
Associated concepts: count in an accusatory instrument, ommibus count
See also: accusation, amount, appraise, assess, calculate, canvass, census, charge, complaint, computation, enumerate, item, itemize, poll, quantity, sum, surmise, survey


a paragraph in an indictment containing a distinct and separate charge.

COUNT, pleading. This word, derived from the French conte, a narrative, is in our old law books used synonymously with declaration but practice has introduced the following distinction: when the plaintiff's complaint embraces only a single cause of action, and he makes only one statement of it, that statement is called, indifferently, a declaration or count; though the former is the more usual term.
    2. But when the suit embraces two or more causes of action, (each of which of course requires a different statement;) or when the plaintiff makes two or more different statements of one and the same cause of action, each several statement is called a count, and all of them, collectively, constitute the declaration.
    3. In all cases, however, in which there are two or more counts, whether there is actually but one cause of action or several, each count purports, upon the face of it, to disclose a distinct right of action, unconnected with that stated in any of the other counts.
    4. One object proposed, in inserting two or more counts in one declaration, when there is in fact but one cause of action, is, in some cases, to guard against the danger of an insufficient statement of the cause, where a doubt exists as to the legal sufficiency of one or another of two different modes of declaring; but the more usual end proposed in inserting more than one count in such case, is to accommodate the statement to the cause, as far as may be, to the possible state of the proof to be exhibited on trial; or to guard, if possible, against the hazard of the proofs varying materially from the statement of the cause of action; so that if one or more or several counts be not adapted to the evidence, some other of them may be so. Gould on Pl. c. 4, s. 2, 3, 4; Steph. Pl. 279; Doct. Pl. 1 78; 8 Com. Dig. 291; Dane's Ab. Index, h.t.; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t. In real actions, the declaration is most usually called a count. Steph. Pl. 36, See Common count; Money count.

References in periodicals archive ?
That's me broken my nose twice this season and I've lost count of how many times I've done it in my career.
Nathan, a graphic designer, said: "I started off really well and was ahead, but somehow I lost count and ended up doing an extra lap.
Since then, I've lost count of the number of times that employers have told me depressing stories about how the skills and employability of their central European - often Polish - recruits compare favourably with those of the domestic labour pool.
Her appearance on The Morning Line and afternoon incited a wealth of wellwishing e-mails, and oncourse at Sandown I lost count of the amount of people who approached John McCririck and myself, first asking who Agnes had selected in the bonus race and later acknowledging how pleased they were she had 'Scooped' again.
Sheldon Allen, who has lost count of the years he's been the designated jolly elf for community events such as the annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting in Valencia and company parties as well as individual families, said that his most memorable lap sitter was a young boy who only wanted a job for his father.
I've lost count of the number of times I have leapt to get to the phone only to have the line go dead as soon as I pick it up.
I lost count of the number of parcels in school supplies and toys and vitamins we packed up and sent in between his trips.
I've lost count of how many times over a several-week period it was predicted - specially by NBC News - that Harding's arrest was imminent, only to have the story proved false the next day.
There are untold bazillions (we've lost count, but really, it's a lot) of ice cream lovers out there who long for nothing less than total Ben & Jerry's immersion .
She added: "I lost count how many times I told the dentist something was wrong.
I've lost count of the number of times I've waited to be served while staff chat among themselves.
BigSteve I have nothing against regeneration, but I have lost count now how many times Stockton town centre has had things done too it.