test case

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Test Case

A suit brought specifically for the establishment of an important legal right or principle.

The term test case describes a case that tests the validity of a particular law. Test cases are useful because they establish legal rights or principles and thereby serve as precedent for future similar cases. Test cases save the judicial system the time and expense of conducting proceedings for each and every case that involves the same issue or issues.

To illustrate, assume that Congress passes a law that makes using a cellular phone while driving a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $10,000. Such a law would likely be challenged by a large number of cell phone owners, all of whom are in essentially identical circumstances and all of whom have the same arguments against the law. In such a situation, attorneys representing the plaintiffs might look for a case with a sympathetic set of facts with which to challenge the law. For example, they might select a case involving a driver who was charged with violating the law when she used her cell phone to request medical assistance for a family member. Other observant law firms would postpone or otherwise delay their own similar cases to wait for the outcome of the test case.

A test case need not concern a new law. Suppose, for example, an attorney or client is dissatisfied with the current state of a particular law and has strong arguments in favor of changing it. If the facts of the case give the attorney or client a good chance of prevailing, the case may be called a test case because the outcome would change the law for future persons in similar circumstances.

In some cases, a person may choose to violate an existing law to provoke a lawsuit, prosecution, or penalty. The person may then challenge the lawsuit, prosecution, or penalty and use the case to try and change the law through a judicial opinion. In Druker v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 697 F.2d 46 (2d Cir. 1982), cert. den., 461 U.S. 957, 103 S. Ct. 2429, 77 L. Ed. 2d 1316 (1983), for example, James O. and Joan Druker, a married couple, intentionally used the lower tax rates for unmarried individuals in computing their 1975 and 1976 Income Tax because they believed the federal tax scheme was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could take action against the Drukers, the Drukers filed suit against the commissioner of the IRS. The Drukers were unsuccessful, but had they received a favorable disposition, they would have succeeded in changing the law on federal taxation of married couples.


Case Law; Stare Decisis.

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

test case

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
(2) Utilize the coverage data and execution result of test case as training sample set which is inputted into the DNN model, and then train the DNN model to obtain the complex nonlinear mapping relationship between the coverage data [mathematical expression not reproducible] and execution result [mathematical expression not reproducible].
The generating of test case from UML state charts has been implanted in [6-9].
The same algorithm implemented in the test case generation layer can be used to generate test cases for the various types of models because the executable models are loaded dynamically and have the same interfaces.
When the specification for [F.sub.l] and the testing goal G3 are given, a transition system of this function is first obtained from the result of test case generation.
The third section describes the implementation of the stochastic test case. The fourth section summarizes the results from the experiments with stochastic noise added to the dynamical core.
Figure 6 presents an example showing the different thermostat set-point temperatures modeled for different test cases for one of the guest rooms during July 1 to 14, 2015 (Figure 6a), and January 1 to 14, 2016 (Figure 6b).
Step 5: Execute Test Case. In Step 5, we apply the concrete test cases to the satellite simulator and register the outputs.
It selects first the variable [O.sub.i] associated with the test case with the smallest cost.
Previous methods in section 2, applied in some Fuzzing tools such as Peach, Sulley, can only be called single-Fuzzing that just considers a single sample data or mutates one field at a time to generate a test case. Certain vulnerabilities can only be triggered by some special combination of multi-dimensional input, so they will be missed by single-Fuzzing [16], moreover, whose efficiency is not stable.
When source code enhancements are made, with conventional automatic test-generation technology, there may be cases where previously available test cases cannot be used to test the enhancement.