Conduct; behavior; something done; the condition of acting; an act or series of acts. Term in its usual legal sense means a lawsuit brought in a court; a formal complaint within the jurisdiction of a court of law. Pathman Const. Co. v. Knox County Hospital Ass'n, Ind.App., 326 N.E.2d 844, 853.
The legal and formal demand of one's right from another person or party made and insisted on in a court of justice. An ordinary proceeding in a court of justice by which one party prosecutes another for the enforcement or protection of a right, the redress or prevention of a wrong, or the punishment of a public offense. It includes all the formal proceedings in a court of justice attendant upon the demand of a right made by one person of another in such court, including an adjudication upon the right and its enforcement or denial by the court.
See also action for death
- action in equity
- penal action
- transitory action
- action on account
- common law action
- personal action
- popular action
- action popular
- real action
- statutory action
- transitory action
Merger of law and equity.
In the federal courts, and most state courts, there is only one form of action-civil action-which embraces all actions formerly denominated suits in equity and actions at law. While there has been a merger of law and equity for procedural purposes, substantive principles of equity still govern. Fed.R.Civ.P. 2.
Types of action.
Such term was formerly used to describe action for damages as distinguished from suit in equity for equitable relief. This distinction however has been abolished under Fed. Rules of Civil Procedure and in those states which have adopted court rules tracking the Federal Rules. Fed.R.Civ.P. 2
- derivative action
@ action for death
See wrongful death action
@ action in equity
Action in which person seeks equitable relief as distinguished from damages; e.g. injunction or specific performance of real estate agreement. Term has been abolished by Fed. Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule 2) in favor of single form of actioncivil action-which embraces both law and equity actions
@ action on account
An action of assumpsit or debt for recovery of money only for services performed, property sold and delivered, money loaned, or damages for the non-performance of simple contracts, express or implied, when the rights of the parties will be adequately conserved by the payment and receipt of money. Northwest Foundry & Furnace Co. v. Willamette Mfg. & Supply Co., Inc., 268 Or. 343, 521 P.2d 545, 549
@ class actions
- derivative action.
@ common law action
Common law actions are such as will lie, on the particular facts, at common law, without the aid of a statute. Actions are called, in common-law practice, ex contractu when they arise out of a contract, and ex delicto when they arise out of a tort. If a cause of action arises from a breach of promise, the action is "ex contractu", and, if it arises from breach of duty growing out of contract, it is "ex delicto".
@ criminal action
Criminal actions are such as are instituted by the sovereign power (i.e. government), for the purpose of punishing or preventing offenses against the public.
Proceeding by which person charged with a crime is brought to trial and either found not guilty or guilty and sentenced. An action, suit, or cause instituted to punish an infraction of the criminal laws.
See also indictment
- penal action
@ mixed action
Mixed actions partake of twofold nature of real and personal actions, having for their object the demand and restitution of real property and also personal damages for a wrong sustained.
In the civil law, an action in which some specific thing was demanded, and also some personal obligation claimed to be performed; or, in other words, an action which proceeded both in rem and in personam. Penal actions are such as are brought, either by federal, state, or local authorities or by an individual under permission of a statute, to enforce a penalty imposed by law for the commission of a prohibited act.
@ personal action
In civil law, an action in personam seeks to enforce an obligation imposed on the defendant by his contract or delict; that is, it is the contention that he is bound to transfer some dominion or to perform some service or to repair some loss.
In common law, an action brought for the recovery of some debt or for damages for some personal injury, in contradistinction to the old real actions, which related to real property only. An action which can be brought only by the person himself who is injured, and not by his representatives.
@ popular action
@ action popular
Popular actions, in English usage, were those actions which were given upon the breach of a penal statute, and which any man that will may sue on account of the king and himself, as the statute allowed and the case required. Because the action was not given to one especially, but generally to any that would prosecute, it was called "action popular;" and, from the words used in the process (qui tarn pro domino rege sequitur quam pro se ipso, who sues as well for the king as for himself) it was called a qui tarn action.
@ real action
Real actions.
At common law, one brought for the specific recovery of lands, tenements, or hereditaments. They are droitural when they are based upon the right of property, and possessory when based upon the right of possession. They are either writs of right; writs of entry upon disseisin (which lie in the per, the per et cui, or the post), intrusion, or alienation; writs ancestral possessory, as mort d'ancestor, aiel, besaiel, cossinage, or nuper obiit. The former class was divided into droitural, founded upon demandant's own seisin, and ancestral droitural upon the demandant's claim in respect of a mere right descended to him from an ancestor.
@ possessory action
Possessory actions were divided in the same way-as to the demandant's own seisin and as to that of his ancestor. Among the civilians, real actions, otherwise called "vindications," were those in which a man demanded something that was his own. They were founded on dominion, or jus in re. The real actions of the Roman law were not, like the real actions of the common law, confined to real estate, but they included personal, as well as real, property.
+ possessory action
An action which has for its immediate object to obtain or recover the actual possession of the subject-matter; as distinguished from an action which merely seeks to vindicate the plaintiffs title, or which involves the bare right only; the latter being called a "petitory" action; e.g. summary process action to dispossess tenant for non-payment of rent. A "possessory action" is one brought by a possessor of immovable property to be maintained in his possession when his possession has been disturbed or to be restored to possession from which he has been evicted. Mott v. Smith, La.App., 273 So.2d 675, 677.
See also ejectment
- process (summary process).
An action founded on possession. Trespass for injuries to personal property is called a "possessory" action, because it lies only for a plaintiff who, at the moment of the injury complained of, was in actual or constructive, immediate, and exclusive possession.
Admiralty practice.
One which is brought to recover the possession of a vessel, had under a claim of title.
Old English law.
A real action which had for its object the regaining possession of the freehold, of which the demandant or his ancestors had been unjustly deprived by the present tenant or possessor thereof
See in rem.
@ statutory action
Statutory actions are such as can only be based upon the particular statutes creating them.
Contrast common law action, above.
@ transitory action
Transitory actions are those founded upon a cause of action not necessarily referring to or arising in any particular locality. Their characteristic feature is that the right of action follows the person of the defendant.
Actions are "transitory" when the transactions relied on might have taken place anywhere, and are "local" when they could not occur except in some particular place; the distinction being in the nature of the subject of the injury, and not in the means used or the place at which the cause of action arises. The test of whether an action is local or transitory is whether the injury is done to a subject-matter which, in its nature, could not arise beyond the locality of its situation, in contradistinction to the subject causing the injury. Actions triable where defendant resides are termed "transitory" and those triable where the subject-matter is situated are termed "local."
+ transitory action
An action that is personal; i.e., brought against the person of the defendant-and brought in any county in which service of process upon the defendant is obtained. A lawsuit that may be brought in any one of many places.
Actions are "transitory" when transaction on which they are based might take place anywhere, and are "local" when they could not occur except in some particular place; the distinction being in nature of subject of injury and not in means used or place at which cause of action arises. Howie v. Twin States Exp., 237 N.C. 667, 75 S.E.2d 732, 736.
See also in personam

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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