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The party who sues in a civil action; a complainant; the prosecution—that is, a state or the United States representing the people—in a criminal case.
n. the party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a complaint with the clerk of the court against the defendant(s) demanding damages, performance and/or court determination of rights. (See: complaint, defendant, petitioner)
plaintiffthe person bringing an action in court. In England and Wales now a claimant. For Scotland called a pursuer.
PLAINTIFF, practice. He who, in a personal action, seeks a remedy for an
injury to his rights. Ham. on Parties, h.t.; 1 Chit. Pl. Index, h.t.; Chit.
Pr. Index, h.t.; 1 Com. Dig. 36, 205, 308.
2. Plaintiffs are legal or equitable. The legal plaintiff is he in whom the legal title or cause of action is vested. The equitable plaintiff is he who, not having the legal title, yet, is in equity entitled to the thing sued for; for example, when a suit is brought by Benjamin Franklin for the use of Robert Morris, Benjamin Franklin is the legal, and Robert Morris the equitable plaintiff. This is the usual manner of bringing suit, when the cause of action is not assignable at law, but is so in equity. Vide Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.; Parties to Actions.