Lawsuit

A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law.[1] The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used in reference to a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint. If the plaintiff is successful, judgment is in the plaintiff's favor, and a variety of court orders may be issued to enforce a right, award damages, or impose a temporary or permanent injunction to prevent an act or compel an act. A declaratory judgment may be issued to prevent future legal disputes.

A lawsuit may involve dispute resolution of private law issues between individuals, business entities or non-profit organizations. A lawsuit may also enable the state to be treated as if it were a private party in a civil case, as plaintiff, or defendant regarding an injury, or may provide the state with a civil cause of action to enforce certain laws.

The conduct of a lawsuit is called litigation. The plaintiffs and defendants are called litigants and the attorneys representing them are called litigators.[2] The term litigation may also refer to a Criminal procedure.

Rules of procedure and complications

Rules of criminal or civil procedure govern the conduct of a lawsuit in the common law adversarial system of dispute resolution. Procedural rules are constrained and informed by separate statutory laws, case laws, and constitutional provisions that define the rights of the parties to a lawsuit (see especially due process), though the rules generally reflect this legal context on their face. The details of the procedure differ greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and often from court to court even within the same jurisdiction. These rules of the particular procedures are very important for litigants to know, because the litigants are the ones who dictate the timing and progression of the lawsuit. Litigants are responsible to obtain the suited result and the timing of reaching this result. Failure to comply with the procedural rules may result in serious limitations that can affect the ability of one to present claims or defenses at any subsequent trial, or even promote the dismissal of the lawsuit altogether.

Though the majority of lawsuits are settled before ever reaching a state of trial,[3] they can still be very complicated to litigate. This is particularly true in federal systems, where a federal court may be applying state law (e.g. the Erie doctrine, for example in the United States), or vice versa. It is also possible for one state to apply the law of another in cases where additionally it may not be clear which level (or location) of court actually has jurisdiction over the claim or personal jurisdiction over the defendant, or whether the plaintiff has standing to participate in a lawsuit. About 98 percent of civil cases in the United States federal courts are resolved without a trial. Domestic courts are also often called upon to apply foreign law, or to act upon foreign defendants, over whom they may not even have the ability to even enforce a judgment if the defendant's assets are theoretically outside their reach.

Lawsuits can become additionally complicated as more parties become involved (see joinder). Within a "single" lawsuit, there can be any number of claims and defenses (all based on numerous laws) between any number of plaintiffs or defendants. Each of these participants can bring any number of cross claims and counterclaims against each other, and even bring additional parties into the suit on either side after it progresses. In reality however, courts typically have some power to sever claims and parties into separate actions if it is more efficient to do so. A court can do this if there is not a sufficient overlap of factual issues between the various associates, separating the issues into different lawsuits.

The official ruling of a lawsuit can be somewhat misleading because post-ruling outcomes are often not listed on the internet. For example, in the case of William J. Ralph Jr. v. Lind-Waldock & Company[4] (September 1999), one would assume that Mr. Ralph lost the case when in fact, upon review of the evidence, it as found that Mr. Ralph was correct in his assertion that improper activity took place on the part of Lind-Waldock, and Mr. Ralph settled with Lind-Waldock.[5]

Cases such as this illustrate the need for more comprehensive information than mere internet searches when researching legal decisions. While online searches are appropriate for many legal situations, they are not appropriate for all.

Procedure

The following is a generalized description of how a lawsuit may proceed in a common law jurisdiction:

Pleading

A lawsuit begins when a complaint or petition, known as a pleading,[6] is filed with the court. A complaint should explicitly state that one or more plaintiffs seek(s) damages or equitable relief from one or more stated defendants, and also should state the relevant factual allegations supporting the legal claims brought by the plaintiff(s). As the initial pleading, a complaint is the most important step in a civil case because a complaint sets the factual and legal foundation for the entirety of a case. While complaints and other pleadings may ordinarily be amended by a motion with the court, the complaint sets the framework for the entire case and the claims that will be asserted throughout the entire lawsuit.

It is likewise important that the "plaintiff selects the proper venue with the proper jurisdiction to bring his lawsuit." The clerk of a court signs or stamps the court seal upon a summons or citation, which is then served by the plaintiff upon the defendant, together with a copy of the complaint. This service notifies the defendants that they are being sued and that they are limited in the amount of time of a reply. The service provides a copy of the complaint in order to notify the defendants of the nature of the claims. Once the defendants are served with the summons and complaint, they are subject to a time limit to file an answer stating their defenses to the plaintiff's claims, which includes any challenges to the court's jurisdiction, and any counterclaims they wish to assert against the plaintiff.

In a handful of jurisdictions (notably, the U.S. state of New York) a lawsuit begins when one or more plaintiffs properly serve a summons and complaint upon the defendant(s). In such jurisdictions, nothing must be filed with the court until a dispute develops requiring actual judicial intervention.

If the defendant chooses to file an answer within the time permitted, the answer must address each of the plaintiffs' allegations. The defendant has three choices to make, which include either admitting to the allegation, denying it, or pleading a lack of sufficient information to admit or deny the allegation. Some jurisdictions, like California and Florida, still authorize general denials of each and every allegation in the complaint. At the time the defendant files an answer, the defendant also raises all "affirmative" defenses. The defendant may also assert counterclaims for damages or equitable relief against the plaintiff. For example, in the case of "compulsory counterclaims," the defendant must assert some form of counterclaim or risk having the counterclaim barred in any subsequent proceeding. In the case of making a counterclaim, the defendant is making a motion directed towards the plaintiff claiming that he/she was injured in some way or would like to sue the plaintiff. The plaintiff in this example would then receive some amount of time to make a reply to this counterclaim. The defendant may also file a "third party complaint", which is the defendant's privilege to join another party or parties in the action with the belief that those parties may be liable for some or all of the plaintiff's claimed damages. An answer from the defendant in response to the claims made against him/her, can also include additional facts or a so-called "excuse" for the plead. Filing an answer "joins the cause" and moves the case into the pre-trial phase.

Instead of filing an answer within the time specified in the summons, the defendant can choose to dispute the validity of the complaint by filing a demurrer (in the handful of jurisdictions where that is still allowed) or one or more "pre-answer motions," such as a motion to dismiss. It is important that the motion be filed within the time period specified in the summons for an answer. If all of the above motions are denied by the trial court, and the defendant loses on all appeals from such denials (if that option is available), and finally the defendant must file an answer.

Usually the pleadings are drafted by a lawyer, but in many courts persons can file papers and represent themselves, which is called appearing pro se. Many courts have a pro se clerk to assist people without lawyers.

Pretrial discovery

A pretrial discovery can be defined as "the formal process of exchanging information between the parties about the witnesses and evidence they’ll present at trial" and allows for the evidence of the trial to be presented to the parties before the initial trial begins.[7] The early stages of the lawsuit may involve initial disclosures of evidence by each party and discovery, which is the structured exchange of evidence and statements between the parties. Discovery is meant to eliminate surprises, clarify what the lawsuit is about, and also to make the parties decide if they should settle or drop frivolous claims and/or defenses. At this point the parties may also engage in pretrial motions to exclude or include particular legal or factual issues before trial.

There is also the ability of one to make an under oath statement during the pretrial, also known as a deposition. The deposition can be used in the trial or just in the pretrial, but this allows for both parties to be aware of the arguments or claims that are going to be made by the other party in the trial. It is notable that the depositions can be written or oral.[8]

At the close of discovery, the parties may either pick a jury and then have a trial by jury or the case may proceed as a bench trial. A bench trial is only heard by the judge if the parties waive a jury trial or if the right to a jury trial is not guaranteed for their particular claim (such as those under equity in the U.S.) or for any lawsuits within their jurisdiction.

Resolution

Usually, lawsuits end in a settlement, with an empirical analysis finding that less than 2% of cases end with a trial.[9] It is sometimes said that 95% of cases end in settlement; few jurisdictions report settlements, but empirical analysis suggests that the settlement rate varies by type of lawsuit, with torts settling around 90% of the time and overall civil cases settling 50% of the time; other cases end due to default judgment, lack of a valid claim, and other reasons.[9]

At trial, each person presents witnesses and the evidence collected is recorded. After this occurs, the judge or jury renders their decision. Generally speaking, the plaintiff has the burden of proof in making his claims, however, the defendant may have the burden of proof on other issues, such as affirmative defenses. The attorneys are held responsible in devising a trial strategy that ensures they meet the necessary elements of their case or (when the opposing party has the burden of proof) to ensure the opponent will not be able to meet his or her burden.

There are numerous motions that either party can file throughout the lawsuit to terminate it "prematurely"—before submission to the judge or jury for final consideration. These motions attempt to persuade the judge, through legal argument and sometimes accompanying evidence, that there is no reasonable way that the other party could legally win and therefore there is no sense in continuing with the trial. Motions for summary judgment, for example, can usually be brought before, after, or during the actual presentation of the case. Motions can also be brought after the close of a trial to undo a jury verdict contrary to law or against the weight of the evidence, or to convince the judge to change the decision or grant a new trial.

Also, at any time during this process from the filing of the complaint to the final judgment, the plaintiff may withdraw the complaint and end the whole matter, or the defendant may agree to a settlement. If the case settles, the parties might choose to enter into a stipulated judgment with the settlement agreement attached, or the plaintiff may simply file a voluntary dismissal, so that the settlement agreement is never entered into the court record.

The decisions that the jury makes are not put into effect until the judge makes a judgment, which is the approval to have this trial information be filed in public records. In a civil case, the judge is allowed at this time to make changes to the verdict that the jury came up with by either adding on or reducing the punishment. In criminal cases the situation is a little different, because in this case the judge does not have the authority to change the jury decision.

Appeal

After a final decision has been made, either party or both may appeal from the judgment if they believe there had been a procedural error made by the trial court. It isn't necessarily an automatic appeal after every judgment has been made, however, if there is a legal basis for the appeal, then one has the right to do so. The prevailing party may appeal, for example, if they wanted a larger award than was granted. The appellate court (which may be structured as an intermediate appellate court) and/or a higher court then affirms the judgment, declines to hear it (which effectively affirms it), reverses—or vacates and remands. This process would then involve sending the lawsuit back to the lower trial court to address an unresolved issue, or possibly request for a whole new trial. Some lawsuits go up and down the appeals ladder repeatedly before final resolution.

The appeal is a review for errors rather than a new trial, so the appellate court will defer to the discretion of the original trial court if an error is not clear. The initial step in making an appeal consists of the petitioner filing a notice of appeal and then sending in a brief, a written document stating reason for appeal, to the court. Decisions of the court can be made immediately after just reading the written brief, or there can also be oral arguments made by both parties involved in the appeal. The appellate court then makes the decision about what errors were made when the law was looked at more closely in the lower court. There were no errors made, the case would then end, but if the decision was reversed, the appellate court would then send the case back down to the lower court level. There, a new trial will be held and new information taken into account.

Some jurisdictions, notably the United States, but prevalent in many other countries, prevent parties from relitigating the facts on appeal, due to a history of unscrupulous lawyers deliberately reserving such issues in order to ambush each other in the appellate courts (the "invited error" problem). The idea is that it is more efficient to force all parties to fully litigate all relevant issues of fact before the trial court. Thus, a party who does not raise an issue of fact at the trial court level generally cannot raise it on appeal.

When the lawsuit is finally resolved, or the allotted time to appeal has expired, the matter is res judicata, meaning the plaintiff may not bring another action based on the same claim again. In addition, other parties who later attempt to re-litigate a matter already ruled on in a previous lawsuit will be estopped from doing so.

Enforcement

When a final judgment is entered, the plaintiff is usually barred under the doctrine of res judicata from relitigating any of the issues, even under different legal theories. Judgments are typically a monetary award. If the defendant fails to pay, the court has various powers to seize any of the defendant's assets located within its jurisdiction, such as:

If all assets are located elsewhere, the plaintiff must file another suit in the appropriate court to seek enforcement of the other court's previous judgment. This can be a difficult task when crossing from a court in one state or nation to another, however, courts tend to grant each other respect when there is not a clear legal rule to the contrary. A defendant who has no assets in any jurisdiction is said to be "judgment-proof."[10] The term is generally a colloquialism to describe an impecunious defendant.

Indigent judgment-proof defendants are no longer imprisoned; debtor's prisons have been outlawed by statute, constitutional amendment, or international human rights treaties in the vast majority of common law jurisdictions.

Etymology

During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was common for lawyers to speak of bringing an "action" at law and a "suit" in equity. An example of that distinction survives today in the text of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. The fusion of common law and equity in England in the Judicature Acts of 1873 and 1875 led to the collapse of that distinction, so it became possible to speak of a "lawsuit." In the United States, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (1938) abolished the distinction between actions at law and suits in equity in federal practice, in favor of a single form referred to as a "civil action."

In England and Wales the term "claim" is far more common; the person initiating proceedings is called the claimant.

American terminology is slightly different, in that the term "claim" refers only to a particular count (or cause of action) in a lawsuit. Americans also use "claim" to describe a demand filed with an insurer or administrative agency. If the claim is denied, then the claimant (or policyholder or applicant) files a lawsuit with the courts and later participates in the lawsuit.

In medieval times, both "action" and "suit" had the approximate meaning of some kind of legal proceeding, but an action terminated when a judgment was rendered, while a suit also included the execution of the judgment.

Financing

Particularly in the United States, plaintiffs and defendants who lack financial resources for litigation or other attorney's fees may be able to obtain legal financing. Legal financing companies can provide a cash advance to litigants in return for a share of the ultimate settlement or award. If the case ultimately loses, the litigant does not have to pay any of the money funded back. Legal financing is different from a typical bank loan in that the legal financing company does not look at credit history or employment history. Litigants do not have to repay the cash advance with monthly payments, but do have to fill out an application so that the legal financing company can review the merits of the case.

Legal financing can be a practical means for litigants to obtain financing while they wait for a monetary settlement or an award in their personal injury, workers' compensation, or civil rights lawsuit. Often, plaintiffs who were injured or forced to leave their jobs still have mortgages, rent, medical expenses, or other bills to pay. Other times, litigants may simply need money to pay for the costs of litigation and attorneys' fees, and for this reason, many litigants turn to reputable legal financing companies to apply for a cash advance to help pay for bills.

Defendants, civil rights organizations, public interest organizations, and government public officials can all set up an account to pay for litigation costs and legal expenses. These legal defense funds can have large membership counts where the members contribute to the fund. Unlike legal financing from legal financing companies, legal defense funds provide a separate account for litigation rather than a one-time cash advancement, nevertheless, both are used for purposes of financing litigation and legal costs.

There was a study conducted in the Supreme Court Economic Review that shows why litigation financing can be practical and beneficial to the overall court system and lawsuits within the court. This study concluded that the new rules that were set for litigation financing actually did produce more settlements. Under conservative rules, there tended to be fewer settlements, however under the older rules they tended to be larger on average.[11]

Legal financing can become an issue in some cases, varying from case to case and person to person. It can be beneficial in many situations, however also detrimental in others.

See also

References

  1. ^ Brian A. Garner, ed. (2014). ""Suit"". Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed.). West.
  2. ^ Abram, Lisa L. (2000). "Civil Litigation". The Official Guide to Legal Specialties. Chicago: National Association for Law Placement, Harcourt Legal & Professional Publications. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-15-900391-6.
  3. ^ Matthews, Joseph L. (2001). The Lawsuit Survival Guide. Nolo.com. ISBN 0-87337-760-5.
  4. ^ "WILLIAM J. RALPH, JR., Complainant, v. LIND-WALDOCK & COMPANY and JEFFREY KUNST, Respondents" (PDF). Cftc.gov. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  5. ^ "WILLIAM J. RALPH, JR., Complainant, v. LIND-WALDOCK & COMPANY, Respondent" (PDF). Cftc.gov. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Pleading: AxonHCS". New York State Unified Court System. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "How Courts Work: Steps in a Trial - Discovery". American Bar Association. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  8. ^ "Glossary D: Deposition". American Bar Association. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Barkai, John; Kent, Elizabeth (2014-01-01). "Let's Stop Spreading Rumors About Settlement and Litigation: A Comparative Study of Settlement and Litigation in Hawaii Courts". Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. SSRN 2398550.
  10. ^ Dionne, Georges (1992). Foundations of Insurance Economics: Readings in Economics and Finance. Springer. ISBN 0-7923-9204-3.
  11. ^ Inglis, Laura; McCabe, Kevin (2010). "The Effects of Litigation Financing Rules on Settlement Rates". Supreme Court Economic Review. University of California, Santa Barbara. 18 (1): 135–15. doi:10.1086/659984. JSTOR 10.1086/659984.
Bethesda Softworks

Bethesda Softworks LLC is an American video game publisher based in Rockville, Maryland. The company was founded by Christopher Weaver in 1986 as a division of Media Technology Limited, and in 1999 became a subsidiary of ZeniMax Media. In its first fifteen years, it was a video game developer and self-published its titles. In 2001, Bethesda spun off its own in-house development team into Bethesda Game Studios, and Bethesda Softworks became a publisher. It also publishes games by ZeniMax Online Studios, id Software, Arkane Studios, MachineGames and Tango Gameworks.

Bill O'Reilly (political commentator)

William James O'Reilly Jr. (born September 10, 1949) is an American journalist, author, and former television host. During the late 1970s and 1980s, he reported for local television stations in the United States and later for CBS News and ABC News. He anchored the tabloid television program Inside Edition from 1989 to 1995. In 1996, O'Reilly joined the Fox News Channel and hosted The O'Reilly Factor until 2017. The O'Reilly Factor was the highest-rated cable news show for 16 years and he was described by media analyst Howard Kurtz as "the biggest star in the 20 year history at Fox News" at the time of his departure. He is the author of numerous books and hosted The Radio Factor (2002–2009). Since 2017, he has hosted the No Spin News podcast, which he founded after being fired from Fox.O'Reilly's media career took a major blow after several New York Times investigations revealed that he had paid half a dozen women nearly $50 million to settle various sexual harassment lawsuits. After the first New York Times investigation revealed that O'Reilly and Fox News had settled five sexual harassment lawsuits totaling $13 million, Fox News terminated O'Reilly's employment in April 2017. In October 2017, The New York Times reported an additional settlement of $32 million that O'Reilly had paid to settle a sixth sexual harassment lawsuit, which had been filed against him by former Fox News analyst Lis Wiehl because of the "non-consensual sexual relationship" she says O'Reilly initiated with her. The revelation of this sixth settlement caused O'Reilly to be dropped by the United Talent Agency.O'Reilly is considered to be a conservative commentator. He is registered as a member of the Independence Party of New York, and was formerly registered as a Republican.

Bryan Singer

Bryan Jay Singer (born September 17, 1965) is an American director, producer and writer of film and television. He is the founder of Bad Hat Harry Productions and has produced or co-produced almost all of the films he has directed.

Singer wrote and directed his first film in 1988 after graduating from a university. His film, Public Access (1993), was a co-winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. In the mid-1990s, Singer received critical acclaim for directing the neo-noir crime thriller The Usual Suspects (1995), which starred Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, and Benicio del Toro. He followed this with another thriller, Apt Pupil (1998), an adaptation of a Stephen King novella about a boy's fascination with a Nazi war criminal. In the 2000s, he became known for big budget superhero films such as X-Men (2000), for which Singer won the 2000 Saturn Award for Best Direction, its sequel X2 (2003), and Superman Returns (2006). He then directed the World War II historical thriller Valkyrie (2008), co-wrote/co-produced X-Men: First Class (2011), and directed the fantasy adventure film Jack the Giant Slayer (2013), as well as two more X-Men films, X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), and the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (2018).

From 1997 through 2019, a number of men have alleged that Singer sexually assaulted them as minors. Singer has denied all of the allegations, and several of the resulting lawsuits were dismissed. As a result of the allegations, in December 2017 Singer was fired as the director of the Freddie Mercury biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody, and was also dismissed from his role as director of the motion picture Red Sonja.

Class action

A class action, class suit, or representative action is a type of lawsuit where one of the parties is a group of people who are represented collectively by a member of that group. The class action originated in the United States and is still predominantly a U.S. phenomenon, but Canada, as well as several European countries with civil law have made changes in recent years to allow consumer organizations to bring claims on behalf of consumers.

Gawker Media

Gawker Media LLC (formerly Blogwire, Inc. and Gawker Media, Inc.) was an online media company and blog network.

It was founded by Nick Denton in October 2003 as Blogwire, and is based in New York City. Incorporated in the Cayman Islands, as of 2012, Gawker Media was the parent company for seven different weblogs and many subsites under them: Gawker.com, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jalopnik, and Jezebel. All Gawker articles are licensed on a Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial license. In 2004, the company renamed from Blogwire, Inc. to Gawker Media, Inc., and to Gawker Media LLC shortly after.In 2016, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a direct result of the monetary judgement against the company related to the Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit. On August 16, 2016, Gawker and all its brands were acquired at auction by Univision Communications. Two days later on August 18, the company announced that Gawker.com would cease operations the following week, while its other sites will continue to operate.On September 21, 2016, Gawker Media's assets except for Gawker were purchased by Univision Communications and have been moved to Gizmodo Media Group.

Judge Judy

Judge Judy is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by Judge Judy Sheindlin, a retired Manhattan family court judge. The show features Sheindlin adjudicating real-life small claim disputes within a simulated courtroom set. Prior to the proceedings, all parties involved must sign arbitration contracts agreeing to Sheindlin's ruling, handling and production staff management. The series is in first-run syndication and distributed by CBS Television Distribution.

The program has won three Emmy awards and has had the highest ratings in courtroom programming in the United States.

The program debuted in 1996 and its 22nd season commenced in September 2018. In March 2015, Sheindlin and CBS Television Distribution extended their contract through the program's 25th season (2020–21).

Legal liability

In law, liable means "responsible or answerable in law; legally obligated." Legal liability concerns both civil law and criminal law and can arise from various areas of law, such as contracts, torts, taxes, or fines given by government agencies. The claimant is the one who seeks to establish, or prove, liability. Claimants can prove liability through a myriad of different theories, known as theories of liability. Which theories of liability are available in a given case depends on nature of the law in question. For example, in case involving a contractual dispute, one available theory of liability is breach of contract; or in the tort context, negligence, negligence per se, respondeat superior, vicarious liability, strict liability, or intentional conduct are all valid theories of liability.

Each theory of liability has certain conditions, or elements, that must be proven by the claimant before liability will be established. For example, the theory of negligence requires the claimant to prove that (1) the defendant had a duty; (2) the defendant breached that duty; (3) the defendant's breach caused the injury; and (4) that injury resulted in recoverable damages. Theories of liability can also be created by legislation. For example, under English law, with the passing of the Theft Act 1978, it is an offense to evade a liability dishonestly. Payment of damages usually resolves the liability. A given liability may be covered by insurance. In general, however, insurance providers only cover liabilities arising from negligent torts rather than intentional wrongs or breach of contract.

In commercial law, limited liability is a business form that shields its owners from certain types of liability and that amount a given owner will be liable for. A limited liability form separates the owner(s) from the business. This means that when a business is found liable in case, the owners are not themselves liable; rather, the business is. Thus, only the funds or property the owner(s) have invested into the business are subject to that liability. If, for example, a limited liability business goes bankrupt, then the owner(s) will not lose unrelated assets such as a personal residence (assuming they do not give personal guarantees). This is the standard model for larger businesses, in which a shareholder will only lose the amount invested (in the form of stock value decreasing). (For an explanation, see business entity.) There is an exception to this rule that allows a claimant to go after the owners of a limited liability business where the owners have engaged in conduct that justifies the claimant's recovery from the owners. This is known as "piercing the veil."

Manufacturer's liability, a legal concept in most countries, reflects the fact that producers have a responsibility not to sell a defective product. See product liability.

Economists use the term "legal liability" to describe the legal-bound obligation to pay debts.

Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants

Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants, also known as the McDonald's coffee case and the hot coffee lawsuit, was a 1994 product liability lawsuit that became a flashpoint in the debate in the United States over tort reform. Although a New Mexico civil jury awarded $2.86 million to plaintiff Stella Liebeck, a 79-year-old woman who suffered third-degree burns in her pelvic region when she accidentally spilled hot coffee in her lap after purchasing it from a McDonald's restaurant, ultimately Liebeck was only awarded $640,000. Liebeck was hospitalized for eight days while she underwent skin grafting, followed by two years of medical treatment.

Liebeck's attorneys argued that, at 180–190 °F (82–88 °C), McDonald's coffee was defective, claiming it was too hot and more likely to cause serious injury than coffee served at any other establishment. McDonald's had refused several prior opportunities to settle for less than what the jury ultimately awarded. The jury damages included $160,000 to cover medical expenses and compensatory damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages. The trial judge reduced the final verdict to $640,000, and the parties settled for a confidential amount before an appeal was decided.

The case was said by some to be an example of frivolous litigation; ABC News called the case "the poster child of excessive lawsuits", while the legal scholar Jonathan Turley argued that the claim was "a meaningful and worthy lawsuit". In June 2011, HBO premiered Hot Coffee, a documentary that discussed in depth how the Liebeck case has centered in debates on tort reform.

Oracle Corporation

Oracle Corporation is an American multinational computer technology corporation headquartered in Redwood Shores, California. The company specializes primarily in developing and marketing database software and technology, cloud engineered systems, and enterprise software products — particularly its own brands of database management systems. In 2018, Oracle was the third-largest software maker by revenue, after Microsoft and Alphabet.The company also develops and builds tools for database development and systems of middle-tier software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and supply chain management (SCM) software.

Panera Bread

Panera Bread Company is a chain store of bakery-café fast casual restaurants with over 2,000 locations, all of which are in the United States and Canada. Its headquarters are in Sunset Hills, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. The company operates as Saint Louis Bread Company in Greater St. Louis, where it has over 100 locations. Offerings include soups, salads, pasta, sandwiches, specialty drinks, and bakery items.

The company, which also owns Au Bon Pain, is owned by JAB Holding Company, which is in turn owned by the Reimann family of Germany.Panera offers a wide array of pastries and baked goods, such as croissants, bagels, cookies, scones, muffins and brownies. These, along with Panera's artisan breads, are typically baked before dawn by an on-staff baker. Aside from the bakery section, Panera has a regular menu for dine-in or takeout including: sandwiches, panini, pastas, soups, flatbreads, salads, side choices, Panera Kids, fruit smoothies, frozen drinks, iced drinks, coffee, tea, and lemonade, espresso drinks, lattes, and hot chocolate.During its final 20 years as a public company, from 1997 to 2017, it was the best performing restaurant stock, delivering an 86-fold return to shareholders.Panera was once the largest provider of free Wi-Fi Hotspots in the United States. Many locations restrict the duration of free Wi-Fi to 30 or 60 minutes during peak hours.

Phil McGraw

Phillip Calvin McGraw (born September 1, 1950), known as Dr. Phil, is an American television personality, author, psychologist, and the host of the television show Dr. Phil. McGraw first gained celebrity status with appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the late 1990s.

Raised in the Midwestern United States, McGraw played college football for the University of Tulsa and Midwestern State University, where he earned a B.A. in psychology. He then earned his M.A. in experimental psychology and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Texas. He began working in private practice for several years while also holding large seminars for patients.

McGraw's notoriety began in 1998, when he began making weekly appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah Winfrey then helped McGraw launch his own program, Dr. Phil, in September 2002. The show is formatted as an advice show. In October 2003, he launched the Dr. Phil Foundation which is dedicated toward fighting childhood obesity.

McGraw has also been the source of some controversy. He has not held a medical license to practice psychology since 2006. His advice has been criticized for being simplistic and ineffective. He has been the defendant of several lawsuits, including regarding poor business practices, the mistreatment of employees and defamation.

Plaintiff

A plaintiff (Π in legal shorthand) is the party who initiates a lawsuit (also known as an action) before a court. By doing so, the plaintiff seeks a legal remedy; if this search is successful, the court will issue judgment in favor of the plaintiff and make the appropriate court order (e.g., an order for damages). "Plaintiff" is the term used in civil cases in most English-speaking jurisdictions, the notable exception being England and Wales, where a plaintiff has, since the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules in 1999, been known as a "claimant", but that term also has other meanings. In criminal cases, the prosecutor brings the case against the defendant, but the key complaining party is often called the "complainant".

In some jurisdictions, a lawsuit is commenced by filing a summons, claim form or a complaint. These documents are known as pleadings, that set forth the alleged wrongs committed by the defendant or defendants with a demand for relief. In other jurisdictions, the action is commenced by service of legal process by delivery of these documents on the defendant by a process server; they are only filed with the court subsequently with an affidavit from the process server that they had been given to the defendant according to the rules of civil procedure.

Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola Co.

Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola, 578 F.3d 1252 (11th Cir. 2009), was a case in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the dismissal of a case filed by Colombian trade union Sinaltrainal (National Union of Food Workers) against Coca-Cola in a Miami district court, demanding monetary compensation of $500 million under the Alien Tort Claims Act for the deaths of three workers in Colombia.

Strategic lawsuit against public participation

A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. Such lawsuits have been made illegal in many jurisdictions on the grounds that they impede freedom of speech.

In the typical SLAPP, the plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff's goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs, or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. In some cases, repeated frivolous litigation against a defendant may raise the cost of directors and officers liability insurance for that party, interfering with an organization's ability to operate. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. A SLAPP is often preceded by a legal threat.

There is a difficulty in that plaintiffs do not present themselves to the court admitting that their intent is to censor, intimidate, or silence their critics. Hence, the difficulty in drafting SLAPP legislation, and in applying it, is to craft an approach which affords an early termination to invalid abusive suits, without denying a legitimate day in court to valid good faith claims. Thus, anti-SLAPP laws target tactics used by SLAPP plaintiffs. Common anti-SLAPP laws include measures such as penalties for plaintiffs who file lawsuits ruled frivolous and special procedures where a defendant may ask a judge to consider that a lawsuit is a SLAPP (and usually subsequently dismiss the suit).

Anti-SLAPP laws occasionally come under criticism from those who believe that there should not be barriers to the right to petition for those who sincerely believe they have been wronged, regardless of ulterior motives. Nonetheless, anti-SLAPP laws are generally considered to have a favorable effect, and many lawyers have fought to enact stronger laws protecting against SLAPPs.

Streisand effect

The Streisand effect is a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the internet. It is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware that some information is being kept from them, their motivation to access and spread it is increased.It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose 2003 attempt to suppress photographs of her residence in Malibu, California inadvertently drew further public attention to it. Similar attempts have been made, for example, in cease-and-desist letters to suppress files, websites, and even numbers. Instead of being suppressed, the information receives extensive publicity and media extensions such as videos and spoof songs, often being widely mirrored on the Internet or distributed on file-sharing networks.

Tata Consultancy Services

Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) is an Indian multinational information technology (IT) service, consulting company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is part of the Tata Group and operates in 46 countries.TCS is one of the largest Indian companies by market capitalization. TCS is now placed among the most valuable IT services brands worldwide. In 2015, TCS is ranked 64th overall in the Forbes World's Most Innovative Companies ranking, making it both the highest-ranked IT services company and the top Indian company. It is the world's 2nd largest IT services provider. As of 2017, it is ranked 10th on the Fortune India 500 list. In April 2018, TCS became the first Indian IT company to breach $100 billion market capitalization, and second Indian company ever (after Reliance Industries achieved it in 2007) after its m-cap stood at Rs 6,79,332.81 crore ($102.6 billion) in Bombay Stock Exchange.In 2016-2017, Parent company Tata Sons owned 70% of TCS; and more than 70% of Tata Sons' dividends were generated by TCS. In March 2018, Tata Sons decided to sell stocks of TCS worth $1.25 billion in a bulk deal.

The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

The Blade, also known as the Toledo Blade, is a daily newspaper in Toledo, Ohio, in the United States, first published on December 19, 1835.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (film)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, also promoted as LXG, is a 2003 steampunk-dieselpunk superhero action film loosely based on the first volume of the comic book series of the same name by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. It was released on July 11, 2003, in the United States, and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Stephen Norrington and starred Sean Connery (in his final film role to date), Naseeruddin Shah, Peta Wilson, Tony Curran, Stuart Townsend, Shane West, Jason Flemyng, and Richard Roxburgh.

As with the comic book source material, the film features prominent pastiche and crossover themes set in the late 19th century, featuring an assortment of fictional literary characters appropriate to the period, who act as Victorian Era superheroes. It draws on the works of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H. Rider Haggard, Ian Fleming, Herman Melville, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, Gaston Leroux, and Mark Twain, albeit all adapted for the film.

The film grossed over $175 million worldwide at the box office, rental revenue of $48.6 million, and DVD sales as of 2003 at $36.4 million. It was intended to spawn a film franchise based on further titles in the original comic book series, but due to poor critical reception there was little enthusiasm for a sequel.

Victory Records

Victory Records is a Chicago-based record label founded by Tony Brummel. It is a privately held corporation. It also operates a music publishing company called "Another Victory, Inc." and is the distributor of several smaller independent record labels. It has featured many prominent post-hardcore and metalcore artists, and such bands as Thursday, Hawthorne Heights, Silverstein, Taking Back Sunday, Bayside, Streetlight Manifesto, and A Day to Remember.

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