Glossary of Litigation Terms

Subpoena or Subpena (modern spelling)

A Subpoena is a court order issued at the request of a party to a lawsuit requiring a witness to appear in court.

Summary Judgment

A Motion for Summary Judgment is a procedural device designed to end a case without trial when there is no dispute concerning material facts, the only dispute being questions of law. The motion can be directed toward all of a portion of the claim. If the motion is successful, it results in a summary judgment.


Upon the filing of a complaint, the clerk of the court issues a Summons and delivers it for service to a person appointed to serve it on the defendant. It notifies the defendant that an action has been filed against him or her in the court from which the process issues and that he or she is required to respond.

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

A TRO is a short term, emergency order of a court issued only in extraordinary circumstances and only until a trial court can hear the matter. Is it intended to maintain the status quo pending a hearing for an injunction.


A Tort is a private or civil wrong for which a court will provide a remedy. It may be an intentional act or negligence that results in some form of injury.

Trier of Fact

The Trier of Fact determines facts in a legal proceeding. In a jury trial, the jury is the trier of fact. In a bench trial, the judge is the trier of fact.


A Verdict is the formal decision or finding made by a jury.


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