A lawsuit is the result of a disagreement that ends up in court. A long-running feud between neighbors about a flock of chickens and a barking dog might eventually end up as a lawsuit.

If someone files a lawsuit against you, you become a defendant, while they are the plaintiff. Lawsuits are always part of civil law, rather than criminal cases, involving something some kind of financial or personal loss. When you're embroiled in a lawsuit, you'll probably need to hire a lawyer. This legal term dates from the 17th century.

Definitions of lawsuit
  1. noun
    a comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual seeks a legal remedy
    synonyms: case, causa, cause, suit
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    civil suit
    a lawsuit alleging violations of civil law by the defendant
    class action, class-action suit
    a lawsuit brought by a representative member of a large group of people on behalf of all members of the group
    a suit brought against someone who has sued you
    criminal suit
    a lawsuit alleging violations of criminal law by the defendant
    a hypothetical case that law students argue as an exercise
    bastardy proceeding, paternity suit
    a lawsuit filed to determine the father of a child born out of wedlock (and to provide for the support of the child once paternity is determined)
    type of:
    legal proceeding, proceeding, proceedings
    (law) the institution of a sequence of steps by which legal judgments are invoked
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