lawsuit - A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty, resulting in harm to the plaintiff.
leading question - A question that instructs a witness how to answer or suggests which answer is desired. These questions are usually prohibited on direct examination.
liable - Legally responsible.
libel - Published words or pictures that falsely and maliciously defame a person, that is, injure his or her reputation. Libel is published defamation; slander is spoken.
lien - A legal claim against another person's property as security for a debt. A lien does not convey ownership of the property, but gives the lienholder a right to have his or her debt satisfied out of the proceeds of the property if the debt is not otherwise paid.
limitation (statute of) - A certain time allowed by statute in which litigation must be brought.
liquidated damages - A form of money payment in an amount specified in advance by a contract or agreement as the sum to be paid if terms were violated.
litigant - Individual bringing a lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
litigation - A case, controversy, or lawsuit.
living trust - A trust set up and in effect during the lifetime of the grantor. Also called inter vivos trust.
long-arm statute - State laws that give a court jurisdiction to try civil cases in which persons from other states have been sued. Long-arm statutes are commonly employed to allow a local court to exercise jurisdiction over out-of-state motorists who cause automobile accidents within the state.