Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Defendant Definition:

The individual, company or organization who defends a legal action taken by a plaintiff and against whom the court has been asked to order damages or specific corrective action redress some type of unlawful or improper action alleged by the plaintiff.

Related Terms: Plaintiff, Respondent, Tort-Feasor, Accused, Litigant

A defendant is one who responds and defends a court action initiated by a plaintiff.

Some legal disputes are taken by way of a petition in which case the initiator is called a petitioner and the defending party, the respondent.

Generally, however, the defendant starts his participation in a trial by responding to a statement of claim by way of a statement of defence and, if the facts lend themselves to it, a counterclaim.

In a tort or personal injury action, the defendant is always the person whom, it is alleged, is the tort-feasor; the plaintiff being the alleged injured party.

In a third party claim, it is the defendant who seeks to draw in a third party.

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