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Legal Glossary: Debtor-Creditor Law (New York 2023)

The Essential Legal Glossary for Consumer Debtors

Acceptance: 1) Intentionally receiving and keeping something. 2) Agreeing to contract terms.

Acceptance of Service: Agreement by a defendant to accept legal documents without formal delivery.

Accord and Satisfaction: An agreement to accept a reduced amount to settle a debt, which, once paid, extinguishes the original obligation.

Account Stated: An agreed-upon summary of debts between a creditor and debtor as of a specific date, typically represented by bills or invoices.

Accrue: 1) Continuously growing, like accumulating interest. 2) The emergence of a right to sue.

Actual Notice: Direct knowledge of an event, distinct from inferred notice.

Adjourn: 1) To temporarily suspend or delay a proceeding, meeting, or session to a future date or time. 2) The formal closure of a meeting or official gathering.

Admissible Evidence: Evidence deemed relevant and valid in court, free from certain objections.

Admit: To acknowledge the truth of a statement in a legal context.

Affidavit-Langel Glossary

Affidavit: A written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation, often used as evidence in court.

Allegation: A claimed fact in a legal pleading, awaiting proof.

Answer: A written response by a defendant addressing allegations in a lawsuit.

Appearance: The act of attending court by a party or attorney.

Assignment: Transferring property interest or rights to another party.

Attachment: Seizing property or money in anticipation of a favorable judgment.

Attorney of Record: The lawyer officially representing a client in court.

Bad Faith: When a party acts dishonestly or unfairly, often in violation of their legal obligations.

Bank Records: Documents that show account activity, such as deposits, withdrawals, and balances.

Banking Institution: The bank or financial institution where the debtor holds an account.

Bankruptcy: A legal process that allows individuals or businesses to eliminate or repay some or all of their debts under the protection of the federal bankruptcy court.

Belief: Conviction of the truth of a statement, often based on unconfirmed information.

Benefit: A payment or privilege provided, especially by an insurance policy or public assistance program.

Benefit Award Letters: Documents that confirm a debtor's receipt of certain benefits, like social security or disability, which may be exempt from collection.

Breach: A violation or interruption. This can relate to contract terms, duties, or public tranquility.

Breach of Contract: Failure to fulfill the terms of a contract without a valid legal reason.

The Langel Firm: Legal Glossary of Debtor Creditor Terms

Burden of Proof: The obligation to present evidence to support one's claim or defense in a legal proceeding.

Charge-off: When a creditor decides that a debt is unlikely to be collected and removes it from their books. This doesn't mean the debt is forgiven; it can still be sold to a collection agency.

Calendar: 1) A list of cases scheduled for trial in a court; 2) To set a date for a case or motion to be heard.

Calendar Call: A hearing where a trial date is set.

Cancel: To annul or void a document indicating its termination or that an associated debt has been paid.

Caption: The introductory section of legal documents detailing the parties, court, case title, and other pertinent information.

Case: Refers to a lawsuit or the right to sue and can also denote reported legal decisions that serve as precedents.

Cause of Action: The foundation of a lawsuit is based on legal grounds and alleged facts that, if true, fulfill statutory requirements.

Chain of Title: The historical property ownership sequence tracing back from the current owner to the original owner.

Collection Agency: A company that specializes in collecting debts on behalf of creditors.

Complaint: The initial pleading that starts a civil lawsuit, outlining the plaintiff's claims against the defendant.

Compound Interest: Interest calculated on both the principal and the accumulated interest, leading to a faster growth rate.

Constructive Notice: A legal presumption that a person received notice, even if they didn't receive it directly.

Contract: An agreement with defined terms between parties, where there's a commitment to perform in exchange for a benefit.

Counterclaim: A claim made by a defendant against a plaintiff, presented as part of the defendant's answer to the original complaint.

Cosigner: A person who agrees to be responsible for a debt if the primary debtor does not pay.

Costs and Fees: Expenses related to legal proceedings may be awarded to the prevailing party.

Court Caption: The heading on a legal document that indicates the parties, the court, and the case number.

Damages: Monetary compensation awarded to a party who has suffered loss or injury.

Debt: Money or favor owed to another.

Debtor: An individual or entity legally obligated to pay money or render a service to another.

Debt Validation: A debtor's right to request proof or documentation that a debt is valid and that the collection agency has the right to collect it.

Default: The failure of a party to respond to a legal summons within the stipulated time.

Default Judgment: A judgment against a party for its inaction or failure to respond to a lawsuit.

Defendant: The party against whom a lawsuit is filed or who is accused of wrongdoing.

Denial: A formal rejection or dispute of specific allegations made by the plaintiff in a lawsuit.

Debt Glossary-The Langel Firm

Discovery: The pre-trial process where parties gather relevant information and evidence from each other.

Discontinuance: Voluntary cessation of legal proceedings by the plaintiff.

Dispute: A disagreement or argument, which can lead to legal proceedings.

Dismissal: The act of voluntarily ending a lawsuit or charge or by a judge's decision.

Due Process of Law: The principle ensuring fairness, equality, and a fair trial in all legal matters.

Enter a Judgment: The official recording of a judgment by the court clerk.

Entitlement: A right to benefits specified by law or contract, such as social security, pension plans, or unemployment benefits.

Entry of Judgment: The act of officially listing a judgment.

Equal Protection of the Law: The right to equal legal access and treatment.

Estoppel: A bar preventing someone from asserting or denying a fact due to their actions.

Evidence: Proof presented at trial to persuade the judge or jury.

Ex Parte: Actions or orders granted for the benefit of one party without the other's presence.

Excusable Neglect: A valid reason for not taking timely legal action.

Exemption: 1) Tax credits for dependents, disabilities, or age. 2) The right to be excluded from certain obligations.

Exempt Assets: Property or funds that are protected by law from being taken by creditors.

Exempt Funds: Money that is protected by law from being taken by creditors. This can include certain types of income like social security benefits, disability payments, and more.

Exemption Claim Form: A document submitted by a debtor to claim that certain assets or funds are exempt from collection by creditors.

Fact: A verifiable event or occurrence.

Failure of Consideration: Non-delivery of promised contract items.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): A federal law that prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect debts.

Fraud: Deliberate deception for unlawful gain.

Garnish: To obtain a court order directing a third party to hold funds due to a debtor until debt owed to a creditor is determined.

Garnishee: An entity, often a bank or employer, ordered by the court to hold funds for a debtor.

Garnishment: A legal process where a creditor can take money directly from a debtor's wages or bank account to satisfy a debt.

General Denial: A broad rejection of all allegations in a lawsuit without specific denials.

Guarantor: A person or entity promising to fulfill another's obligations if they fail to do so.

Hearsay: Glossary

Hearsay: Second-hand testimony not from direct knowledge.

Hearsay Rule: Rule barring statements from absentees in court.

Homestead: A homeowner's primary, legally protected residence.

Impeach: 1) Discredit a witness's testimony. 2) Charge a public official with misconduct.

Implied Contract: An agreement inferred from circumstances, not explicitly stated.

Incorporate by Reference: Include content from another source without repeating it.

Information and Belief: A qualified statement based on received information and its perceived truth.

Income: Money received, especially on a regular basis, for work or through investments.

Index number: A unique number assigned by the court to a case, used for identification and tracking.

Information Subpoena: A legal directive requiring someone to provide details about a defendant's assets.

Interrogatories: A set of written questions that one party sends to another as part of the discovery process in a lawsuit.

Joint Bank Account: A bank account held by two or more individuals, where each individual has equal access to the account's funds.

Joint and Several: Refers to a debt for which each debtor is fully responsible.

Joint Liability: Multiple parties are responsible for a debt or claim.

Judgment: A court's final decision in a lawsuit or appeal.

Judgment by Default: A decision when a party fails to respond or appear.

Judgment Creditor: The winning party owed money from a lawsuit.

Judgment Debt: The money amount awarded in a judgment.

Judgment Debtor: The losing party who owes money from a judgment.

Jurisdictional Amount: The monetary range determining which court can hear a case.

Judgment: A formal decision or determination by a court in response to a lawsuit.

Judgment Creditor: The party who has won a judgment in court and is seeking to collect money from the debtor.

Judgment Debtor: The party who owes money as a result of a court judgment.

Jurisdiction (Personal): The court's authority over the parties involved in a legal action.

Jurisdiction (Subject Matter): The court's authority to hear and decide a particular type of case.

Lawsuit: A legal action taken by one party against another in court.

Lay a Foundation: To establish the credibility or authenticity of a witness or evidence in court.

Levy: The legal seizure of property to satisfy a debt.

Liability: Legal responsibility for one's actions or failures.

Lien: A claim against property or funds for a debt or service owed.

Litigant: A party involved in a lawsuit.

Litigation: The process of taking legal action in court.

Liability: Legal responsibility for a debt or obligation.

Lowest Intermediate Balance Principle: An accounting method used to determine the amount of exempt funds in an account that contains a mix of exempt and non-exempt funds.

Marshal: A law enforcement officer, especially one involved in the enforcement of court orders and judgments.

Material Representation: A persuasive statement made to induce someone into a contract, which, if false, can nullify the contract.

Memorandum: 1) A brief note or summary. 2) A judge's concise statement announcing a ruling, possibly followed by a detailed decision.

Misrepresentation: Deliberately presenting false facts to gain undeserved benefits.

Mitigation of Damages: The obligation to minimize damages or costs after an injury or breach of contract.

Motion: A formal request to a judge for a specific order or judgment.

Motion for summary judgment-Debt Glossary

Motion for a Summary Judgment: A request for a judgment based on recorded evidence, claiming no trial is necessary.

Motion for Dismissal: A defendant's request to have a case dismissed due to insufficient evidence or claim.

Negligence: Failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another.

Net: The remaining amount after all deductions, costs, and expenses.

Notary Public: An individual authorized by the state to certify documents, administer oaths, and perform other related acts.

Non-Exempt Assets: Assets that are not protected by exemption laws and can be taken by creditors to satisfy a debt.

Notice of Default: A notice to a borrower indicating delinquency in payments, potentially leading to foreclosure.

Nullity: Something treated as non-existent or void.

Oath: A sworn promise to tell the truth, subjecting the individual to perjury charges if knowingly false.

Objection: A lawyer's protest against a question's legal appropriateness during a trial.

Obligee: The individual or entity to whom a duty or obligation is owed.

Obligor: The individual or entity that owes a duty or obligation.

Opinion: A detailed explanation of a court's judgment, often citing precedents and legal reasoning.

Order to Show Cause: A judge's directive for a party to appear in court and provide reasons against a proposed order.

Payable: 1) Debt that is due. 2) All due liabilities of a business.

Payable on Demand: Debt that must be paid when the creditor requests.

Payee: The individual or entity named to receive payment.

Penalties: Additional monetary amounts imposed as punishment for violating certain laws or regulations.

Penalties of Perjury: Legal penalties for making false statements under oath.

Perjury: Intentionally lying under oath.

Personal Service: Direct delivery of a legal document to the named individual.

Plaintiff: The party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a complaint against the defendant.

Postjudgment Interest: Interest accruing on a court judgment from the time it's recorded until it's paid.

Prejudgment Interest: Interest a creditor can collect from the time of injury until a judgment is made.

Prima Facie: Evidence that is sufficient to establish a fact unless rebutted; "at first sight."

Privity: Mutual interest or connection between parties, especially in contracts.

Pro Se: Representing oneself in court.

Promissory Note: A written promise to pay a specific amount of money.

Proof of Exemption: Documentation or evidence provided by the debtor to demonstrate that certain assets or funds are exempt.

Quantum Meruit: Payment for the actual value of services rendered.

Question of Fact: An issue in a case where the truth needs to be determined by the jury or judge.

Question of Law: An issue solely about the application or interpretation of the law.

Release: The removal of a legal hold or restraint, allowing the debtor to access their funds or assets.

Rescind: To cancel a contract, reverting parties to their pre-contractual positions.

Restraint: A legal hold placed on a debtor's bank account or assets, preventing the debtor from accessing or using them.

Satisfaction of Judgment: A document confirming a judgment debt has been fully paid.

Secured Debt: Debt that is backed by an asset, such as a car or home. If the debtor fails to repay the debt, the creditor can take the asset.

Settlement: An agreement between the debtor and creditor to resolve the debt, often for a reduced amount.

Sheriff: The chief law enforcement officer for a county, responsible for various duties including police protection and court services.

Sheriff: A government official, typically at the county level, responsible for maintaining peace and enforcing laws, including the execution of court orders.

Show Cause Order: A court order directing a party to appear and explain why a specific action shouldn't be taken.

Source of Income: The origin or method by which a debtor receives money, which can determine if the funds are exempt.

Subpoena: A court order for a witness to appear and testify or produce documents.

Substituted Service: Serving legal documents by leaving them with a responsible adult or employee when direct service isn't possible.

Summary Judgment: A court decision made without a full trial when no key factual issues remain disputed.

Survivorship: The right to inherit ownership due to outliving another joint owner.

Statute of Limitations: The maximum period of time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event can be initiated.

Statutory Exemptions: Exemptions that are defined and protected by specific statutes or laws.

Subpoena: A legal document ordering someone to attend a court proceeding or produce evidence.

Debt Glossary-Summary-The Langel Firm

Summons: A legal document notifying an individual of a lawsuit and requiring them to respond or appear in court.

Three-Day Notice: A landlord's notice to a tenant to pay overdue rent or vacate within three days.

Trust: An entity holding assets for beneficiaries managed by a trustee.

Truth in Lending Act: A federal law mandating lenders to disclose exact interest rates and allowing borrowers a three-day period to consider loan terms.

Turnover: The act of surrendering property or funds to satisfy a legal judgment.

Turnover Order: A court order directing a party to transfer property or funds to another party.

Unconscionable: Describing a contract so unfairly biased that a reasonable person wouldn't agree to it.

Unsecured Debt: Debt that is not backed by an asset. Examples include credit card debt and medical bills.

Usurious: Interest on a debt exceeding the legal maximum rate.

Usury: Charging interest at a rate higher than what's legally permissible.

Venue: The appropriate or most convenient location for a trial, often based on where the event in question occurred.

Void: Having no legal effect or validity.

Voidable: Capable of being invalidated but not necessarily currently invalid.

Waive: To voluntarily relinquish a right or claim, often in the context of a contract or legal proceeding.

Writ: A formal written order issued by a court or other authority.

Understanding legal terms is vital for consumer debtors facing a lawsuit. This glossary deciphers key legal jargon. Hiring a lawyer is a wise step to protect your rights.

Legal Glossary: Debtor Creditor Law-The Langel Firm