A generic term, of comprehensive signification, referring to any proceeding by one person or persons against another or others in a court of law in which the plaintiff pursues, in such court, the remedy which the law affords him for the redress of an injury or the enforcement of a right, whether at law or in equity. Kohl v. U. S., 91 U.S. 367, 375, 23 L.Ed. 449; Weston v. Charleston, 27 U.S. (2 Pet.) 449, 464, 7 L.Ed. 481; Syracuse Plaster Co. v. Agostini Bros. Bldg. Corporation, 169 Misc. 564, 7 N.Y.S.2d 897.
It is, however, seldom applied to a criminal prosecution. And it was formerly sometimes restricted to the designation of a proceeding in equity, to distinguish such proceeding from an action at law.
Term "suit" has generally been replaced by term "action"; which includes both actions at law and in equity. Fed.R.Civil P. 2.
For ancillary suit and suit in rem see those titles.
See also action
Old English law.
The witnesses or followers of the plaintiff. 3 Bl.Comm. 295.
See secta.
Old books mention the word in many connections which are now disused, - at least, in the United States.
Thus, "suit" was used of following any one, or in the sense of pursuit; as in the phrase "making fresh suit." It was also used of a petition to the king or lord.
"Suit of court" was the attendance which a tenant owed at the court of his lord.
"Suit covenant" and "suit custom" seem to have signified a right to one's attendance, or one's obligation to attend, at the lord's court, founded upon a known covenant, or an immemorial usage or practice of ancestors.
"Suit regal" was attendance at the sheriffs tourn or leet (his court).
"Suit of the king's peace" was pursuing an offender,-one charged with breach of the peace, while "suithold" was a tenure in consideration of certain services to the superior lord.
Class suits.
Derivative suit

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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