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LEGAL TERMS

REAL PROPERTY

Another term for real estate. It includes land and things permanently attached to the land, such as trees, buildings, and stationary mobile homes. Anything that... (more...)
Another term for real estate. It includes land and things permanently attached to the land, such as trees, buildings, and stationary mobile homes. Anything that is not real property is termed personal property.

EVIDENCE

The many types of information presented to a judge or jury designed to convince them of the truth or falsity of key facts. Evidence typically includes testimony... (more...)
The many types of information presented to a judge or jury designed to convince them of the truth or falsity of key facts. Evidence typically includes testimony of witnesses, documents, photographs, items of damaged property, government records, videos and laboratory reports. Rules that are as strict as they are quirky and technical govern what types of evidence can be properly admitted as part of a trial. For example, the hearsay rule purports to prevent secondhand testimony of the 'he said, she said' variety, but the existence of dozens of exceptions often means that hairsplitting lawyers can find a way to introduce such testimony into evidence. See also admissible evidence, inadmissible evidence.

UNCONSCIONABILITY

A seller's taking advantage of a buyer due to their unequal bargaining positions, perhaps because of the buyer's recent trauma, physical infirmity, ignorance, i... (more...)
A seller's taking advantage of a buyer due to their unequal bargaining positions, perhaps because of the buyer's recent trauma, physical infirmity, ignorance, inability to read or inability to understand the language. The unfairness must be so severe that it is shocking to the average person. It usually includes the absence of any meaningful choice on the part of the buyer and contract terms so one-sided that they unreasonably favor the seller. A contract will be terminated if the buyer can prove unconscionability.

ESTOPPEL

(1) A legal principle that prevents a person from asserting or denying something in court that contradicts what has already been established as the truth. equit... (more...)
(1) A legal principle that prevents a person from asserting or denying something in court that contradicts what has already been established as the truth. equitable estoppelA type of estoppel that bars a person from adopting a position in court that contradicts his or her past statements or actions when that contradictory stance would be unfair to another person who relied on the original position. For example, if a landlord agrees to allow a tenant to pay the rent ten days late for six months, it would be unfair to allow the landlord to bring a court action in the fourth month to evict the tenant for being a week late with the rent. The landlord would be estopped from asserting his right to evict the tenant for late payment of rent. Also known as estoppel in pais.estoppel by deedA type of estoppel that prevents a person from denying the truth of anything that he or she stated in a deed, especially regarding who has valid ownership of the property. For example, someone who grants a deed to real estate before he actually owns the property can't later go back and undo the sale for that reason if, say, the new owner strikes oil in the backyard.estoppel by silenceA type of estoppel that prevents a person from asserting something when she had both the duty and the opportunity to speak up earlier, and her silence put another person at a disadvantage. For example, Edwards' Roofing Company has the wrong address and begins ripping the roof from Betty's house by mistake. If Betty sees this but remains silent, she cannot wait until the new roof is installed and then refuse to pay, asserting that the work was done without her agreement.estoppel in paisSee equitable estoppel.promissory estoppelA type of estoppel that prevents a person who made a promise from reneging when someone else has reasonably relied on the promise and will suffer a loss if the promise is broken. For example, Forrest tells Antonio to go ahead and buy a boat without a motor, because he will sell Antonio an old boat motor at a very reasonable price. If Antonio relies on Forrest's promise and buys the motorless boat, Forrest cannot then deny his promise to sell John the motor at the agreed-upon price.(2) A legal doctrine that prevents the relitigation of facts or issues that were previously resolved in court. For example, Alvin loses control of his car and accidentally sideswipes several parked cars. When the first car owner sues Alvin for damages, the court determines that Alvin was legally drunk at the time of the accident. Alvin will not be able to deny this fact in subsequent lawsuits against him. This type of estoppel is most commonly called collateral estoppel.

LIQUID ASSETS

Business property that can be quickly and easily converted into cash, such as stock, bank accounts and accounts receivable.

SETBACK

The distance between a property boundary and a building. A minimum setback is usually required by law.

ASSIGNMENT

A transfer of property rights from one person to another, called the assignee.

CAUSE OF ACTION

A specific legal claim -- such as for negligence, breach of contract or medical malpractice -- for which a plaintiff seeks compensation. Each cause of action is... (more...)
A specific legal claim -- such as for negligence, breach of contract or medical malpractice -- for which a plaintiff seeks compensation. Each cause of action is divided into discrete elements, all of which must be proved to present a winning case.

JOINT TENANCY

A way for two or more people to share ownership of real estate or other property. When two or more people own property as joint tenants and one owner dies, the ... (more...)
A way for two or more people to share ownership of real estate or other property. When two or more people own property as joint tenants and one owner dies, the other owners automatically own the deceased owner's share. For example, if a parent and child own a house as joint tenants and the parent dies, the child automatically becomes full owner. Because of this right of survivorship, no will is required to transfer the property; it goes directly to the surviving joint tenants without the delay and costs of probate.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Goldstein v. URBAN DEV. CORP.

... We are asked to determine whether respondent's exercise of its power of eminent domain to acquire petitioners' properties for purposes of the proposed land use improvement project, known as Atlantic Yards, would be in conformity with certain provisions of our State ...

Kaur v. URBAN DEV. CORP.

... In this appeal, we are called upon to determine whether respondent's exercise of its power of eminent domain to acquire petitioners' property for the development of a new Columbia University campus was supported by a sufficient public use, benefit or purpose (see NY Const ...

Kaur v. NYS Urban Dev. Corp.

... In addition, the petitioners assert that the alleged "civic" benefits of the Project are insufficient public purposes for the use of eminent domain. In particular ... THERE IS NO CIVIC PURPOSE TO THIS USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN. The use ...