The Terms Plaintiff and Defendant


my name is Jim McKeen and today we're

going to talk about two common terms you

hear in the law and that is plaintiff

and defendant so in a civil case that

means someone is suing another person

you have a plaintiff the person suing

and you have the defendant the person

being sued well those two names or

designations for the parties can take on

many different iterations so if the

defendant say the plaintiff Sue's the

defendant for $10,000 well the defendant

says oh yeah well you owe me $5,000 and

the defendant Sue's them back that is

called a counter complaint and the

defendant becomes the defendant counter

plaintiff and the plaintiff becomes the

plaintiff / counter defendant and there

can be other ones as well if there are

multiple defendants and they sue each

other they may have cross complaints

against each other and then they become

like a defendant / cross plaintiff or if

a plaintiff Sue's the defendant and the

defendant says it was actually somebody

else who you didn't sue who's

responsible they become a third party

defendant so plaintiff Sue's defendant

defendant then sues a third party

defendant who they say is responsible

for the damages to plaintiff 2 other

words you may hear often are petitioner

and respondent and those are essentially

interchangeable with plaintiff and

defendant although petitioner responded

normally you're not seeking monetary

relief it may be something like custody

if someone is petitioning for custody

and the respondent who's responding to

that petition instead of a plaintiff

defendant but if plaintiff and defendant

are used instead of petitioner or

respondent it's not that big a deal you

can find out more about this legal issue

and other legal issues by going to my

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