Civil Definitions

Complaint - In a Civil action, a complaint is the first pleading by a plaintiff stating the various names of parties to a civil action, and the remedy requested.

Foreclosure - See Writ of Execution.

Injunction - a court order which requires a party to refrain from doing a particular act or activity.

Levy - is a seizure of real property through lawful process. The land or property seized may be sold to satisfy a judgement. The levy may be against personal property such as bank accounts, cash, vehicles etc.

Return - an affidavit is sent to the plaintiff's attorney notifying him/her as to the result of service.

Summons - A mandate requiring the answer of a defendant and specifying the time in which the defendant must answer the complaint. A summons enables the court to acquire jurisdiction of the defendant.

Wage Execution (Garnishment) - the process in which the Sheriff may levy money or salary which is in the hands of a third person but which is due to the defendant. For example, a percentage of salary due to an employee (defendant debtor) which is controlled by a third party (employer) is taken to repay the debt due to the plaintiff (lender).

Writ of Attachment - Prevents the disposal of an item prior to a final judgement and is used to enforce obedience to an order of judgement.

Writ of Execution - Orders the enforcement of a judgement by commanding the Sheriff to levy or seize and sell the personal and/or real property of the judgement debtor (usually the defendant).

Writ of Execution against Goods and Lands - see Writ of Execution.

Writ of Possession - A writ of execution which allows the Sheriff to take possession of real or personal property and give it to the person entitled to it under the judgement.

Writ of Replevin - A writ that requires or provides for recovery of goods which the owner believes were unlawfully taken.

* Please note that the definitions on this page are simplified explanations of the true definitions of those terms. If you need the true definition please refer to an official reference.

Revised on July 23, 2018

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