Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Dilatory Plea Definition:

A formal challenge which questions not the cause of action, but the propriety of the suit, or the mode in which the remedy is sought.

Related Terms: Plea to the Jurisdiction

John Bouvier defined a dilatory plea as follows:

"Those which delay the plaintiff's remedy, by questioning, not the cause of action, but the propriety of the suit, or the mode in which the remedy is sought."

A dilatory plea might raise jurisdiction or allege a fatal flaw in the pleadings or an issue as to standing of the other side.

In Texas Parks and Wildlife Department v Miranda, a number of justices of the Supreme Court of Texas participated in the decision, with this result:

"[A] dilatory plea does not authorize an inquiry so far into the substance of the claims presented that plaintiffs are required to put on their case simply to establish jurisdiction, we explained that because a court must not act without determining that it has subject-matter jurisdiction to do so, it should hear evidence as necessary to determine the issue before proceeding with the case. The court should, of course, confine itself to the evidence relevant to the jurisdictional issue."

Justice George Hanks of the Court of Appeals of Texas wrote, in City of Houston v Buttitia:

"The purpose of a dilatory plea is not to force the plaintiffs to preview their case on the merits but to establish a reason why the merits should never be reached."

REFERENCES:

Categories & Topics:


Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only)

If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!