- In common law pleading (now obsolete with adoption of Rules of Civil Procedure) a pleading; any one in the series of pleadings. More particularly, the first pleading on the part of the defendant.In the strictest sense, the answer which the defendant in an action at law made to the plaintiffs declaration, and in which he set up matter of fact as defense, thus distinguished from a demurrer, which interposed objections on grounds of law.In equity pleading (now obsolete with adoption of Rules of Civil Procedure) a special answer showing or relying upon one or more things as a cause why the suit should be either dismissed or delayed or barred. A short statement, in response to a bill in equity, of facts which, if inserted in the bill, would render it demurrable.@ affirmative pleaIn equity pleading, one which sets up a single fact, not appearing in the bill, or sets up a number of circumstances all tending to establish a single fact, which fact, if existing, destroys the complainant's case. Such is obsolete under Rules of Civil Procedure.See affirmative defense.@ anomalous plea/anomalas pliy/One which is partly affirmative and partly negative. Obsolete under Rules of Civil Procedure.@ common pleasIn common law pleading, common causes or suits; civil actions brought and prosecuted between subjects or citizens, as distinguished from criminal cases. Such are obsolete under Rules of Civil Procedure.@ criminal pleasThe defendant's response to a criminal charge (guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere). If a defendant refuses to plead or if a defendant corporation fails to appear, the court shall enter a plea of not guilty. Fed.R.Crim.P. ll(a).@See also Alford plea- insanity- plea bargaining- standing mute.@ double plea@ double pleadingIn common law pleading, one having the technical fault of duplicity; one consisting of several distinct and independent matters alleged to the same point and requiring different answers. This does not present any problem under Rules of Civil Procedure which permits party to plead as many separate claims or defenses, regardless of consistency. Fed.R.Civil P. 8(eX2).+ double plea or double pleadingSee duplicity- plea@ false pleaA sham plea.@ insanity pleaSee insanity.@ negative pleaIn equity pleading, one which does not undertake to answer the various allegations of the bill, but specifically denies some particular fact or matter the existence of which is essential to entitle the complainant to any relief. Abolished under Rules of Civil Procedure.See denial@ peremptory pleasIn common law pleading, "pleas in bar" are so termed in contradistinction to that class of pleas called "dilatory pleas." The former, viz., peremptory pleas, are usually pleaded to the merits of the action, with the view of raising a material issue between the parties; while the latter class, viz., dilatory pleas, are generally pleaded with a view of retarding the plaintiffs proceedings, and not for the purpose of raising an issue upon which the parties may go to trial and settle the point in dispute. Peremptory pleas are also called "pleas in bar," while dilatory pleas are said to be in abatement only. Abolished under Rules of Civil Procedure@ plea agreementsSee plea bargaining@ plea in abatementIn common law pleading, a plea which, without disputing merits of plaintiffs claim, objects to place, mode, or time of asserting it. It allows plaintiff to renew suit in another place or form, or at another time, and does not assume to answer action on its merits, or deny existence of particular cause of action on which plaintiff relies. A plea in abatement sets forth facts extrinsic to merits which affect only manner in which action is framed or circumstances under which it is sought to be prosecuted, and does not destroy the right of action but merely suspends or postpones its prosecution. U. S. v. Brodson, C.A.Wis., 234 F.2d 97, 99.In states which have adopted rules patterned on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the plea in abatement has been replaced by a motion. See, e.g., Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b).See abatement@ plea in barA plea which goes to bar the plaintiffs action; that is, to defeat it absolutely and entirely. A plea in bar sets forth matters which per se destroy right of action and bar its prosecution absolutely, such as bar of statute of limitations or constitutional guarantee against self-incrimination. U. S. v. Brodson, C.A.Wis., 234 F.2d 97, 99.A plea in bar is one that denies a plaintiffs right to maintain the action and which, if established, will destroy the action. Gillikin v. Gillikin, 248 N.C. 710, 104 S.E.2d 861, 862@ plea in dischargeIn common law pleading, one which admits that the plaintiff had a cause of action, but shows that it was discharged by some subsequent or collateral matter, as, payment or accord and satisfaction. Abolished under Rules of Civil Procedure.@ plea in reconventionIn the civil law, a plea which sets up new matter, not in defense to the action, but by way of cross-complaint, set-off, or counterclaim@ plea of confession and avoidanceIn common law pleading, one which admits that plaintiff had a cause of action, but which avers that it has been discharged by some subsequent or collateral matter. Abolished under Rules of Civil Procedure.@ plea of guiltyA confession of guilt in open court.See also criminal pleas, above, and guilty plea@ plea of nolo contendere/pliy av nowlow kantendariy/See nolo contendere@ plea of releaseIn common law pleading, one which admits the cause of action, but sets forth a release subsequently executed by the party authorized to release the claim. Abolished by Rules of Civil Procedure.See affirmative defense.@ sham pleaA false plea; a plea of false or fictitious matter, subtly drawn so as to entrap an opponent, or create delay. A vexatious or false defense, resorted to under the old system of pleading for purposes of delay and annoyance. Such a plea may be ordered stricken on motion under Rules of Civil P. 12(f).@ special pleaIn common law pleading, a special kind of plea in bar, distinguished by this name from the general issue, and consisting usually of some new affirmative matter, though it may also be in the form of a traverse or denial. Abolished under Rules of Civil Procedure.See also special plea in bar@ special plea in barIn common law pleading, one which advances new matter. It differs from the general, in this: that the latter denies some material allegation, but never advances new matter. Abolished under Rules of Civil ProcedureSee also special plea@ plea agreementSee plea bargaining.@ plea bargainingThe process whereby the accused and the prosecutor in a criminal case work out a mutually satisfactory disposition of the case subject to court approval. It usually involves the defendant's pleading guilty to a lesser offense or to only one or some of the counts of a multi-count indictment in return for a lighter sentence than that possible for the graver charge. Plea bargaining procedures in the federal courts are governed by Fed.R.Crim.P. ll(e)@
Black's law dictionary. HENRY CAMPBELL BLACK, M. A.. 1990.