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Easily Explained Most Confusing Legal Terms Easily Explained Most Confusing Legal Terms

Bronze medal Reporter Adv Rose Posted 5 Jul 2019 Read More News and Blogs
Easily Explained Most Confusing Legal Terms

Following are the most confusing legal terms that are explained easily: 

d.b.a. 
n. short for "doing business as," when a person or entity uses a business name instead of his/her/its own. 

damages 
n. the amount of money which a plaintiff (the person suing) may be awarded in a lawsuit. There are many types of damages. Special damages are those which actually were caused by the injury and include medical and hospital bills, ambulance charges, loss of wages, property repair or replacement costs or loss of money due on a contract. The second basic area of damages are general damages, which are presumed to be a result of the other party's actions, but are subjective both in nature and determination of value of damages. These include pain and suffering, future problems and crippling effect of an injury, loss of ability to perform various acts, shortening of life span, mental anguish, loss of companionship, loss of reputation (in a libel suit, for example), humiliation from scars, loss of anticipated business and other harm.



The third major form of damage is exemplary (or punitive) damages, which combines punishment and the setting of public example. Exemplary damages may be awarded when the defendant acted in a malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent, wanton or grossly reckless way in causing the special and general damages to the plaintiff. On occasion punitive damages can be greater than the actual damages, as, for example, in a sexual harassment case or fraudulent schemes. Although often asked for, they are seldom awarded. Nominal damages are those given when the actual harm is minor and an award is warranted under the circumstances. Liquidated damages are those pre-set by the parties in a contract to be awarded in case one party defaults as in breach of contract. 

dangerous 
adj. unsafe, hazardous, fraught with risk. It can be negligence for which a lawsuit can be brought if damage results from creating or leaving unguarded, a dangerous condition which can cause harm to others, a dangerous instrumentality (any device which can cause harm, including explosives and poisonous substances) or dangerous weapon which is inherently hazardous to anyone handling it or within the weapon's range. 

dangerous weapon 
n. any gun, knife, sword, crossbow, slingshot or other weapon which can cause bodily harm to people (even though used for target shooting). If a person is harmed by such a weapon that is left unguarded, improperly used, or causes harm even to a person who plays with it without permission, the victim or his/her survivors can sue for negligence and possibly win a judgment. 

habeas corpus 
(hay-bee-us core-puss) n. Latin for "you have the body," it is a writ (court order) which directs the law enforcement officials (prison administrators, police) who have custody of a prisoner to appear in court with the prisoner to help the judge determine whether the prisoner is lawfully in prison or jail. The writ is obtained by petition to a judge in the district where the prisoner is incarcerated, and the judge sets a hearing on whether there is a legal basis for holding the prisoner. Habeas corpus is a protection against illegal confinement, such as holding a person without charges, when due process obviously has been denied, bail is excessive, parole has been granted, an accused has been improperly surrendered by the bail bondsman or probation has been summarily terminated without cause. Historically called "the great writ," the renowned scholar of the Common Law, William Blackstone, called it the "most celebrated writ in English law." It may also be used as a means to contest child custody and deportation proceedings in court. 


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habitable 
adj. referring to a residence that is safe and can be occupied in reasonable comfort. Although standards vary by region, the premises should be closed in against the weather, provide running water, access to decent toilets and bathing facilities, heating, and electricity. Particularly in multi-dwelling buildings freedom from noxious smells, noise and garbage are included in the standard. This can become important in landlord-tenant disputes or government actions to force a landlord to make the premises livable (abatement of deficiencies). Example: if the roof begins to leak, the water goes off, the electricity shorts out or the toilet breaks, the landlord has a duty to make repairs when requested or the tenant may order the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent. 

habitual criminal 
n. under the statutes, a person who has been convicted of either two or three felonies (or of numerous misdemeanors), a fact which may increase punishment for any further criminal convictions. 

half blood 
1) adj. sharing one parent only. 2) n. a half brother or half sister. "Half blood" should not be confused with "half breed," which was a pejorative expression for a person born of parents of two races. 

labor and materials 
(time and materials) n. what some builders or repair people contract to provide and be paid for, rather than a fixed price or a percentage of the costs. 

laches 
n. the legal doctrine that a legal right or claim will not be enforced or allowed if a long delay in asserting the right or claim has prejudiced the adverse party (hurt the opponent) as a sort of "legal ambush." Examples: a) knowing the correct property line, Mathew fails to bring a lawsuit to establish title to a portion of real estate until Riya has built a house which encroaches on the property in which Owner has title; b) Robin learns that his father has died, but waits four years to come forward until the entire estate has been distributed on the belief that Robin was dead; c) Susan has a legitimate claim against her old firm for sexual harassment, but waits three years to come forward and file a lawsuit, after the employee who caused the problem has died, and the witnesses have all left the company and scattered around the country. The defense of laches is often raised in the list of "affirmative defenses" in answers filed by defendants, but is seldom applied by the courts. Laches is not to be confused with the "statute of limitations," which sets specific periods to file a lawsuit for types of claims (negligence, breach of contract, fraud, etc). 

land 
n. real property, real estate (and all that grows thereon), and the right to minerals underneath and the airspace over it. It may include improvements like buildings, but not necessarily. The owner of the land may give a long-term (like 99 years) lease to another with the right to build on it. The improvement is a "leasehold" for ownership of the right to use without ownership of the underlying land. The right to use the air above a parcel of land is subject to height limitations by local ordinance, state laws. 

landlady 
n. female of landlord or owner of real property from whom one rents or leases. 

paid into court 
adj. referring to money deposited with the clerk of the court by a person or entity who knows that the money is owed but does not know to whom they should pay it until the outcome of a lawsuit between two other parties is decided. In short, the party handing over the money is saying: "Here is the money. You two argue over it, but spare me the trouble and cost of the suit." Example: A contractor buys supplies from a hardware store on credit. The store is owned by two people who have dissolved their partnership and are fighting over who owns accounts receivable, including the funds owed by the contractor. The contractor knows he owes the money for his supplies, wants to meet his obligations, and wants to get rid of the debt. So the contractor gives what he thinks he owes the hardware store to the court to hold while the two former partners settle their differences. 

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pain and suffering 
n. the physical and mental distress suffered from an injury, including actual broken bones and internal ruptures, but also the aches, pain, temporary and permanent limitations on activity, potential shortening of life, depression and embarrassment from scarring, all of which are part of the "general damages" recoverable by someone injured by another's negligence or intentional attack. The monitory value of damages for pain and suffering is subjective, as distinguished from medical bills, future medical costs and lost wages which can be calculated, called "special damages." 

palimony 
n. a substitute for alimony in cases in which the couple were not married but lived together for a long period and then terminated their relationship. The key issue is whether there was an agreement that one partner would support the other in return for the second making a home and performing other domestic duties beyond sexual pleasures. Written palimony contracts are rare, but the courts have found "implied" contracts, when a woman has given up her career, managed the household or assisted in the man's business for a lengthy period of time. The line between a mutual "affair" and a relationship warranting palimony is a difficult one which must be decided on a case by case basis. Palimony suits may be avoided by contracts written prior to or during the relationship. 

pander 
1) v. to solicit customers for a prostitute. 2) n. a pimp, who procures customers for a prostitute or lures a woman into prostitution, all for his own profit. 3) v. catering to special interests without any principles, such as a politician who says to whatever group he/she is addressing just what they want to hear to win their support, contributions or favors. 

For more details you can refer to lawyers in India.


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