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LEGAL TERMS

MECHANIC'S LIEN

A legal claim placed on real estate by someone who is owed money for labor, services or supplies contributed to the property for the purpose of improving it. Ty... (more...)
A legal claim placed on real estate by someone who is owed money for labor, services or supplies contributed to the property for the purpose of improving it. Typical lien claimants are general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers of building materials. A mechanics' lien claimant can sue to have the real estate sold at auction and recover the debt from the proceeds. Because property with a lien on it cannot be easily sold until the lien is satisfied (paid off), owners have a great incentive to pay their bills.

AGREEMENT

A meeting of the minds. An agreement is made when two people reach an understanding about a particular issue, including their obligations, duties and rights. Wh... (more...)
A meeting of the minds. An agreement is made when two people reach an understanding about a particular issue, including their obligations, duties and rights. While agreement is sometimes used to mean contract -- a legally binding oral or written agreement -- it is actually a broader term, including understandings that might not rise to the level of a legally binding contract.

NOVATION

The substitution of a new contract for an old one. A novation may change one of the parties to the contract or the duties that must be performed by the original... (more...)
The substitution of a new contract for an old one. A novation may change one of the parties to the contract or the duties that must be performed by the original parties.

JUS COGENS

Principles of international law so fundamental that no nation may ignore them or attempt to contract out of them through treaties. For example, genocide and par... (more...)
Principles of international law so fundamental that no nation may ignore them or attempt to contract out of them through treaties. For example, genocide and participating in a slave trade are thought to be jus cogens.

SHORT SALE (OF HOUSE)

A sale of a house in which the proceeds fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage. Many lenders will agree to accept the proceeds of a short sale ... (more...)
A sale of a house in which the proceeds fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage. Many lenders will agree to accept the proceeds of a short sale and forgive the rest of what is owed on the mortgage when the owner cannot make the mortgage payments. By accepting a short sale, the lender can avoid a lengthy and costly foreclosure, and the owner is able to pay off the loan for less than what he owes. See also deed in lieu (or foreclosure).

CONDITIONS OF CARRIAGE

The terms of your contract with an airline after you buy a ticket. Conditions of carriage cover everything from baggage limitations to the amount of compensatio... (more...)
The terms of your contract with an airline after you buy a ticket. Conditions of carriage cover everything from baggage limitations to the amount of compensation you can recover if you're injured on the flight. These provisions often vary from airline to airline. A few, but by no means most, conditions of carriage appear in the fine print on the back of your ticket. To find out about the rest, you can ask the airline for a copy; it is legally obligated to provide one. The conditions of carriage contain a lot of fine print detail and will not make for exciting reading.

QUANTUM MERUIT

The reasonable value of services provided, which a winning party may be able to recover from an opponent who broke a contract.

IMPLIED WARRANTY OF HABITABILITY

A legal doctrine that requires landlords to offer and maintain livable premises for their tenants. If a landlord fails to provide habitable housing, tenants in ... (more...)
A legal doctrine that requires landlords to offer and maintain livable premises for their tenants. If a landlord fails to provide habitable housing, tenants in most states may legally withhold rent or take other measures, including hiring someone to fix the problem or moving out. See constructive eviction.

NET LEASE

A commercial real estate lease in which the tenant regularly pays not only for the space (as he does with a gross lease) but for a portion of the landlord's ope... (more...)
A commercial real estate lease in which the tenant regularly pays not only for the space (as he does with a gross lease) but for a portion of the landlord's operating costs as well. When all three of the usual costs--taxes, maintenance and insurance--are passed on, the arrangement is known as a 'triple net lease.' Because these costs are variable and almost never decrease, a net lease favors the landlord. Accordingly, it may be possible for a tenant to bargain for a net lease with caps or ceilings, which limits the amount of rent the tenant must pay. For example, a net lease with caps may specify that an increase in taxes beyond a certain point (or any new taxes) will be paid by the landlord. The same kind of protection can be designed to cover increased insurance premiums and maintenance expenses.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

GEN. SEC. IND. CO. v. Mt. States Mut. Cas.

... We affirm. In granting defendants' summary judgment motions, the trial court rejected GSINDA's claims that defendants were obligated to contribute to the defense of GSINDA's insured, Foster Frames, against a third-party construction defect complaint. ...

Specialty Restaurants Corp. v. Nelson

... A. Standard of Review & Statutory Construction. Statutory construction is a question of law we review de novo. Williams v. Kunau, 147 P.3d 33, 36 (Colo.2006). ... Id. If the statute is reasonably susceptible to multiple interpretations, we may look to other aids in construction. ...

Smith v. Executive Custom Homes, Inc.

... The Smiths sought review of the court of appeals' holding that their claims for personal injuries under 1188 the Construction Defect Action Reform Act ("CDARA") began to accrue, for purposes of the CDARA's two-year statute of limitations, on the date the Smiths discovered the ...