Racketeer Influenced And Corrupt Organizations Act (Rico)
A federal law, passed in 1970, that allows prosecution and civil penalties for certain acts (including illegal gambling, bribery, kidnapping, murder, and money laundering) performed as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise. RICO has been used to prosecute members of the mafia, the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, and Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group, among others.

Certain illegal activities, such as bribery, money laundering, prostitution, or extortion, committed as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise.

An employee who creates a lot of new business for a company by bringing in new clients.

1) As a noun, money paid to, or demanded by, someone in exchange for the release of a kidnapped person or stolen property. 2) As a verb, ransom may refer to either end of the transaction -- that is, it may mean to demand payment for release of a person held captive, or it may mean to pay money in exchange for the release of the person held captive.

The crime of having sexual intercourse with another person without consent. Common law defined rape as unlawful intercourse by a man against a woman who is not his wife by force or threat and against her will. However, modernly, states have broadened the definition so that marriage, gender, and force are not relevant -- lack of consent is the crucial element. Statutory rape occurs when the victim is under the legal age of consent even if the intercourse is consensual.

Capable of being appraised or apportioned. Also taxable according to value, such as an estate or property.

See: ratify

Approval or confirmation of a previous contract or other act that would not otherwise be binding in the absence of such approval. If an employer ratifies the unauthorized acts of an employee, those actions become binding on the employer. A person who is under the legal age to enter into a contract may ratify (and thereby adopt) the contract when he or she reaches majority, or may refuse to honor the contract without obligation.

Rational Basis
See: rational basis test

Rational Basis Test
A legal standard to determine the constitutionality of a statute. To determine whether a statute passes the test, a court considers whether it has a reasonable connection to achieving a legitimate objective. (See also: strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny)

Read On
In patent law, to literally describe an element of an invention. Thus, a patent is infringed if the patents claims read on (literally describe) all the elements of the infringing device.

Ready, Willing, And Able
Fully prepared to act, as in prepared to perform the services required under a contract.

An agreement that a debtor and a creditor enter into after a debtor has filed for bankruptcy, in which the debtor agrees to repay all or part of an existing debt after the bankruptcy case is over. For instance, a debtor might make a reaffirmation agreement with the holder of a car note that the debtor can keep the car and must continue to pay the debt after bankruptcy.

Real Covenant
See: covenant that runs with the land

Real Estate
Land and things permanently attached to it, such as buildings, houses, stationary mobile homes, fences and trees. Real estate is also called real property. Anything that isn't real estate is personal property.

Real Estate Agent
A foot soldier of the real estate business who shows houses and does most of the other nitty-gritty tasks associated with selling real estate. An agent must have a state license and be supervised, in most U.S. states by someone called a real estate "broker" (or, if the agent is already referred to as a broker in his or her state, by a "managing broker"). Most agents are completely dependent upon commissions from sellers for their income.

Real Estate Broker
A real estate professional licensed to negotiate the purchase and sale of real estate for a commission or fee. In most states, a broker is one step up from a real estate agent, having more training and the power to supervise agents. However, in some states, the term "broker" is used for all agents. In Washington State, for example, regular real estate agents are referred to as "designated brokers," and those who can supervise others are called "managing brokers."

Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
A business that invests in real estate. Investors buy shares in a REIT to invest in real estate in much the same way as they might buy shares in a mutual fund to invest in stocks. A REIT is set up to minimize or avoid corporate income taxes.

Real Party In Interest
The person or entity who will benefit from a lawsuit or petition even though the plaintiff (the person filing the suit) is someone else (often called a "nominal" plaintiff). For example, a trustee files a suit against a person who damaged a building owned by the trust; the real party in the interest is the beneficiary of the trust.

Real Property
See: real estate

A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (www.realtor.com) is allowed to call him or herself a Realtor

See: real estate

Just, rational, appropriate, ordinary, or usual in the circumstances. It may refer to care, cause, compensation, doubt (in a criminal trial), and a host of other actions or activities. In the law of negligence, for example, the reasonable person standard is the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would observe under a given set of circumstances. An individual who subscribes to such standards can avoid liability for negligence.

Reasonable Accommodation
Any adjustment to a work environment or job that allows a qualified worker to perform the job in question. Employers subject to federal employment laws must offer reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities (for example, providing a TDD telephone to an employee with a hearing impairment) or based on religious beliefs (such as not assigning an employee to a shift on his Sabbath), as long as those accommodations do not create an undue burden for the employer.

Reasonable Care
The degree of caution and attention to possible dangers that an ordinarily prudent and rational person would use in similar circumstances. This is a subjective test of determining whether a person is negligent and therefore liable.

Reasonable Doubt
The standard of proof used in criminal trials to find a defendant guilty of a crime. When a criminal defendant is prosecuted, the prosecutor must prove the defendant's guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt." A reasonable doubt exists when a juror cannot say with moral certainty that a person is guilty. Compare: preponderance of the evidence

Reasonable Person
A legal standard used in negligence (personal injury) cases. The hypothetical reasonable person behaves in a way that is legally appropriate. Those who do not meet this standard -- that is, they do not behave at least as a reasonable person would -- are considered negligent and may be held liable for damages caused by their actions.

Reasonable Reliance
A legal standard based upon what a prudent person would believe. If reliance is not reasonable, a defendant in certain situations may not seek redress. For example, someone who invested in a machine that allegedly turned rocks into gold could not recover damages for fraud if it could be shown that a prudent person would not have reasonably relied on such claims.

Reasonable Speed
The speed at which it is safe to drive an automobile considering road conditions and other circumstances, such as rain, ice, heavy traffic, the vehicle's condition, or visability. Reasonable speed may be less than the posted speed limit. Drivers who exceed reasonable speed can be cited for speeding or may be found to be negligent even if they were driving within the posted speed limit.

Reasonable Time
A vague, and disfavored, contractual qualifier used to connote a period by which an act should be performed. Compare: time is of the essence

Reasonable Victim
The legal standard used by many courts when evaluating a sexual harassment claim. The claim may proceed only if a "reasonable victim" of the same sex would have felt sexually harassed by the alleged harasser's behavior.

Reasonable Wear And Tear
Damage or loss to an item (such as a table) or element of a room (such as the floor) resulting from ordinary use and exposure over time. The term is commonly used in leases to limit the tenant's responsibility to repair damage, repaint the walls, or replace items when moving out. The term is subjective, but more wear and tear can be expected the longer the occupancy or the worse the condition of the premises when the tenant moved in. This is often a source of conflict between landlord and tenant, particularly when there is a deposit for any damages beyond reasonable (sometimes called normal or ordinary) wear and tear.

1) A discount or deduction on sales price. A secret rebate given by a subcontractor to a contractor is illegal. 2) To give a discount or deduction.

Rebuttable Presumption
An assumption of fact accepted by the court to be true unless someone proves it to be untrue. A rebuttable presumption is often drawn from prima facie evidence.

1) Evidence or argument introduced to counter, disprove, or contradict the opposing party's evidence or argument. 2) Legal arguments presented in a reply brief.

Rebuttal Witness
A witness who is called to rebut testimony already presented.

In tax law, the requirement that a taxpayer - upon the sale of property - pay the amount of tax savings from past years due to accelerated depreciation or deferred capital gains.

A written and signed acknowledgement by the recipient of payment for goods, money in payment of a debt, or receiving assets from the estate of someone who has died.

1) In a lawsuit, a neutral person (often a professional trustee) appointed by a judge to take charge of the property and business of a party to the lawsuit, and receive the rents and profits due to the party, while the lawsuit is being decided. A receiver is appointed if requested by the other party to the suit and if there is a strong showing that the property would not be available when the lawsuit concludes. 2) In debt and bankruptcy law, a person appointed to receive rents and profits coming to a debtor either while a bankruptcy is being processed or while an arrangement is being worked out to pay creditors. 3) In criminal law, shorthand for one who commits the crime of receiving stolen goods knowing they were obtained illegally.

The process of appointment by a court of a receiver to take custody of the property, business, rents and profits 1) of a party to a lawsuit pending a final decision or 2) an agreement that a receiver control the financial receipts of a debtor for the benefit of creditors.

A break in a trial or other court proceedings or a legislative session until a date and time certain. Recess is not to be confused with adjournment, which winds up the proceedings.

A repeat criminal offender, who is convicted of a crime after having been previously convicted for another.

Reciprocal Beneficiaries
Any two people who register under Hawaii's reciprocal beneficiary laws. Reciprocal beneficiaries have hospital visitation rights, the right to inherit from each other in the absence of a will, and certain other limited rights under Hawaii state law. Reciprocal beneficiaries may be of the same or opposite sex and may be related--there is no requirement that the two people be in an intimate relationship.

Reciprocal Discovery
Also known as "reverse Jencks material," (named after the U.S. Supreme Court decision that established the principle, Jencks v. United States), the duty of the defense to give the prosecution copies of any pretrial statements that a defense witness may have given. The prosecution has a similar duty, to supply the defense with any written or recorded pretrial statement that the defendant may have given. (See also: Brady material)

1) The condition of being reciprocal. 2) The mutual exchange of privileges between states, nations, businesses, or individuals for commercial or diplomatic purposes.

Behavior that is so careless that it is considered an extreme departure from the care a reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances.

Reckless Disregard
Grossly negligent without concern for injury to others.

Reckless Driving
Operating an automobile in a dangerous manner under the circumstances, including speeding (or going too fast for the conditions, even if within the posted speed limit) and other careless and dangerous driving behavior. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor.

The transfer of title to real estate from a lender to the buyer when a loan secured by the property is paid off. A trustee (commonly a title or escrow company) usually holds title for the lender and handles the reconveyance when the loan is fully paid back. (See also: trust deed)

1) To file a copy of a deed or other document concerning real estate with the land records office (often called the county recorder, registry of deeds, or something similar) for the county in which the land is located. 2) The official transcript of a trial or public hearing, including in the case of a trial all evidence introduced.

Record Keeping
The listing of financial transactions, including inflows (income) and outflows (payment of expenses) for a business.

The process of filing a copy of a deed or other document concerning real estate with the land records office for the county in which the land is located. Recording creates a public record of changes in ownership (including liens) of all property in the state. (See also: chain of title)

Recording Acts
State statutes that establish a system to keep records of land ownership in an office in each county, commonly called the county recorder, register of deeds, or recorder of deeds.The laws provide for the recording of deeds, liens, mortgages, decrees of distribution from estates, and other documents that affect ownership of land. By making land records public, recording gives everyone notice of ownership and interests in land.

In business, tangible evidence, usually in writing, of the income, expenses, and financial transactions of a business or individual.

1) The reduction of a successful plaintiff's judgment by an amount the plaintiff owes the defendant arising from the same transaction. For example, if a landlord wins an action against a tenant for failing to pay rent, the tenant might be entitled to recoupment for periods of time when the property was uninhabitable and, therefore, the tenant was not obligated to pay rent. 2) Generally, the recovery or collection of money that was paid out.

The right to demand payment to the writer of a check or bill of exchange.

Recourse Loan
A loan that permits the lender to collect, in the event of default, out of the debtor's collateral or other personal assets.

To receive a money judgment in a lawsuit.

Capable of being recovered in a lawsuit. Refers to the amount of money to which a plaintiff (the party suing) is entitled. (See also: damages)

The amount of money and any other right or property awarded to or received by a plaintiff in a lawsuit.

Recurring Closing Costs
Those costs of closing a home purchase that represent the first of a series of payments that will recur over time -- such as homeowners' insurance and property taxes.

A situation in which a judge or prosecutor is removed or voluntarily steps down from a legal case. This often happens when the judge or prosecutor has a conflict of interest -- for example, a prior business relationship or close friendship with one of the parties.

See: recusal

Red Herring
A legal or factual issue that is irrelevant and is used to divert attention away from the main issues of a case. (The term is derived from the practice of training hunting dogs by dragging cured herrings across the scent trail of a fox.)

The act of going over a document with a fine-toothed comb in order to find any ambiguities or areas that are not to your advantage

To buy back property, as when a homeowner pays off a mortgage. (This typically happens when the homeowner faces foreclosure and pays off the original mortgage by refinancing or when someone in bankruptcy pays off a loan to keep an item of property.) A person who has pawned a possession may redeem the item by paying the loan and interest to the pawnbroker. (See also: redemption)

1) In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, when the debtor obtains legal title to collateral for a debt by paying the creditor the replacement value of the collateral in a lump sum. For example, a debtor may redeem a car note by paying the lender the amount a retail vendor would charge for the car, considering its age and condition. 2) In foreclosure, the homeowner's right (usually granted by state statute), for a certain period of time, to redeem the mortgage and keep the house by refinancing and paying off the original mortgage.

Taking back, or literally reentering, property that belongs to the person entering the property but that, until a specific event has happened, was lawfully occupied by another. A landlord properly reenters property that a tenant has clearly abandoned; and a bank reenters when it has foreclosed upon a mortgage or deed of trust.

A person whom a judge appoints to handle certain parts of a case, such as taking testimony or reviewing written evidence. Sometimes, the referee makes written findings and submits them to the judge to use in deciding the case.

The process by which the repeal or approval of an existing statute or state constitutional provision is voted upon. Many states allow for referenda which are placed on the ballot by a required number of voter signatures on a petition filed.

The act of changing a written contract when one of the parties can prove that the actual agreement was different than what's written down. Reformation is usually made by a court, for example, when both parties overlooked a mistake in the document, or when one party has deceived the other.

Refresh One's Recollection
To show a witness a document in an effort to help the witness remember something. A party may try to refresh a witness's recollection only after demonstrating that the witness does not remember. The party may then show the document to the witness, ask the witness to read it silently, and then ask whether the document refreshes the witness's recollection. If the witness answers in the affirmative, the party then takes the document away from the witness and asks the witness to answer the question that led to the failure of memory. The testimony the witness gives after reviewing the document is sometimes referred to as "present recollection refreshed."

In the context of U.S. immigration law, people who have been allowed to live in the United States indefinitely to protect them from persecution in their home countries. Refugees get their status before coming to the U.S.and may, after one year, apply for U.S. green cards. (See also: asylum)

Regents Of The University Of California V. Bakke (1978)
The U.S. Supreme Court's first major decision on affirmative action. The Court ruled that the University of California could consider race as part of a competitive admissions process as long as it did not use quotas.

In corporations, the record of shareholders, including information on the issuance and transfer of shares.

Register Of Deeds
A county government office where you file documents in the public records. Most register of deeds offices record documents related to real estate, including deeds, land contracts, mortgages, liens, and lease agreements. Some also accept vital records such as birth, death, and marriage certificates. In many locations, the register of deeds office is known as the county recorder's office.

Registered Agent
See: agent for service of process

Registered Sex Offender
An individual who has been convicted of a sex offense and has been required to register as part of the sex offender registration system. This system allows government authorities to keep track of the locations and activities of registrants. In most jurisdictions, the information in a sex offender registry is available to the public.

Registration Statement
A detailed report to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by a corporation making an issuance of shares to be advertised and sold to the general public in more than one state, which must be approved by the SEC before it will approve the stock issuance.

Registry Of Deeds
See: Register of Deeds

A rule, adopted under authority granted by a statute, issued by a municipal, county, state, or federal agency. Although not laws, they have the force of law and often include penalties for violations. Regulations are not generally published in the books that contain state statutes or federal laws, but often must be obtained from the agency. To adopt a regulation, an agency usually drafts the rule, publishes it in governmental journals intended to give public notice, holds hearings, and then adopts a final, revised regulatrion. The process is best known to industries and groups concerned with the subject matter. Federal regulations are adopted under the procedure set out in the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA); states usually follow similar procedures.

Rehabilitation Act Of 1973
A federal law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities by federal agencies, by federal contractors, or by programs receiving federal funds. Generally considered to be a precursor to the broader Americans with Disabilities Act.

Conducting a hearing again based on the motion of one of the parties to a lawsuit, petition, or criminal prosecution, usually by the court or agency which originally heard the matter. Rehearings are usually requested due to newly discovered evidence, an unfortunate and possibly unintended result of the original order, a change of circumstance, or a simple claim that the judge or agency was just wrong.

See: real estate investment trust

1) To give up a right, as releasing one from the obligation to perform under a contract, or relinquishing an interest in property. 2) To give freedom, as letting out of prison. 3) The written document that establishes or grants a release.

Release On One's Own Recognizance
A judge's decision to allow a person charged with a crime to remain at liberty pending the trial, without having to post bail. Likely candidates for such release are those with strong roots in the community, regular employment, and the recommendation of the prosecutor. The type of crime charged may also play a role. Often called "O.R." or "R.O.R," it is granted routinely in traffic matters, minor and technical crimes, and to people with no criminal record who display stability. (See also: O.R.)

Having some reasonable connection with, and in regard to evidence in trial, having some value or tendency to prove a matter of fact significant to the case. A common objection to testimony or physical evidence is that it is irrelevant.

Dependence on another person's (or entity's) statements or actions. Reasonable reliance on another person's statements may, in some cases, lead to a claim of fraud. (See also: reasonable reliance)

The increase in land caused by the gradual recession or shrinkage of a body of water (such as a lake or sea) which gives the owner of the property more dry land.

The generic term for a benefit which an order or judgment of court can give a party to a lawsuit, including a money award, injunction, return of property, property title, alimony, and many others.

Relinquished Property
In a 1031 exchange, the property the investor is selling. Instead of receiving the funds, the investor has them held in trust (usually, with a neutral trustee), until he or she uses the funds to purchase a replacement property.

A future interest that will become available when another estate ends. For example, Patricia deeds Happy Acres Ranch to Sally for life, and upon Sally's death to Charla or to Charla's children if Charla does not survive. Charla has a remainder, and her children have a contingent remainder, which they will receive if Charla dies before Sally.

Remainder Subject To A Condition Precedent
See: contingent remainder

Remainder Subject To Divestment
See: defeasible remainder

Remainder Subject To Open
A vested remainder that will go to a group containing an undetermined number of people. For example, "to Adam for life, and then to his children." The remainder left to the children is subject to open because it is unknown how many children (if any) Adam will have at his death.

Someone who will inherit property in the future -- usually as a result of the end of a life estate. For instance, if someone dies and leaves his home "to Alma for life, and then to Barry," Barry is a remainderman because he will inherit the home in the future, after Alma dies.

To send back. For example, an appeals court might reverse a lower court's decision and send a matter back to that court for a new trial. Or a judge might remand into custody a person accused of a crime, if there appears to be a legal reason to hold the person for trial.

The means of redressing an injury or enforcing a right in a legal action. Remedies may be ordered by the court, granted by judgment after trial or hearing, by agreement between the parties, and by the automatic operation of law. Some remedies require that certain acts be performed or prohibited, others involve payment of money, and still others require a court's declaration of the rights of the parties and an order to honor them.

To give up a claim to something; a term sometimes used in quitclaim deeds conveying property.

Latin for "it is sent back." 1) A judge's order reducing a judgment awarded by a jury. 2) An appellate court's transmittal of a case back to the trial court so that the case can be retried, or an order can be entered consistent with the appeallate court's decision (such as dismissing the plaintiff's case or awarding costs to the winning party on appeal).

1) The change of a legal case from one court to another, as from a state court to federal court or vice versa based on a motion by one of the parties stating that the other jurisdiction is more appropriate for the case. 2) An immigration legal proceeding, formerly known as "deportation," conducted before an immigration judge to decide whether or not an immigrant will be allowed to enter or remain in the United States. Generally speaking, a person who is already in the U.S. cannot be expelled without first going through a removal hearing, while someone arriving at the border or a port of entry can be removed without a hearing or ever seeing a judge (called "summary" or "expedited" removal). Those who are deported or removed are barred from returning to the United States for at least five years unless U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants a special waiver.

Keeping an existing agreement in force for an additional period of time, such as a lease, a promissory note, insurance policy, or any other contract. Renewal usually requires a writing or some action which evidences the new term.

Monetary amount a tenant pays a landlord (typically on a monthly basis) for occupying premises for a set period of time or an open-ended term.

Rent Control
Laws that limit the amount of rent landlords may charge, and that state when and by how much the rent can be raised. Most rent control laws also require a landlord to provide a good reason, such as repeatedly paying rent late, for evicting a tenant. Rent control exists in some cities and counties in California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, DC. Also called rent stabilization, maximum rent regulation, or a similar term.

Rent To Buy
See: rent to own

Rent To Own
A contract between a property owner (the landlord) and the tenant, where the tenant pays for the option to buy the property at some time in the future, before the end of the lease term. To be enforceable, the option contract must specify, at a minimum, the property's selling price (or an objective way of arriving at the selling price, such as submitting the matter to brokers chosen by each side), the date or time window in which the tenant must exercise the option, and the manner of notifying the landlord. In some states, rent-to-own option contracts must be accompanied by the same property disclosures that are required in a standard home sale. Because exercising an option contract creates an irrevocable sales contract, the landlord and tenant should address other issues that are common in property sales -- such as terms of payment, time and place of closing, nature of title to be given, and any adjustments to be made at closing.

Rent Withholding
A residential tenant's refusal to pay the rent, based on the landlord's unjustified refusal or failure to fix a defect in the rental that renders it unlivable or seriously unsafe. Rent withholding is legal only if a state statute provides for it, and often the tenant must deposit the rent in court or in an escrow account, pending the landlord's repairs. (See also: implied warranty of habitability)

Rental Agreement
A contract (oral or written) between a landlord and tenant that provides for a tenancy for a short period of time, such as one month; it automatically renews at the end of this period, unless the landlord or tenant give each other the proper amount of notice (which usually must be written) to terminate the contract.

Rental Value
The amount which someone would pay for rental of similar property in the same condition in the same area. Evidence of rental value becomes important in lawsuits in which loss of use of real property or equipment is an issue, and the rental value is the measure of damages. In divorce cases in which one of the spouses stays in the family residence, the use of the property may have rental value which is considered in balancing the income of the parties, determining division of property, or setting the amount of alimony to be paid.

1) The act of forfeiting a right. For example, in wills and estates, if a beneficiary does not want to take an inheritance, the beneficiary can make a renunciation of that inheritance. 2) In criminal law, renunciation is abandoning a crime before it takes place.

1) The implementation of a business plan to restructure a corporation, which may include transfers of stock between shareholders of two corporations in a merger. 2) In bankruptcy, a corporation in deep financial trouble may be given time to restructure itself while protected from creditors by the bankruptcy court. The theory is that if the business is able to get on its feet and either survive or be able to sell itself for a good price, the creditors will eventually collect. (See also: Chapter 11 bankruptcy)

Repair And Deduct
A residential tenant's repair of a serious defect or problem in the rental, making it unlivable or significantly unsafe, followed by deducting the cost of the repair from the next month's rent. Proper use of the remedy, which may be invoked only if state law provides for it, requires notice to the landlord and allowing the landlord a reasonable time to fix the problem.

To annul an existing law by passage of a repealing statute or by public vote on a referendum. Repeal of Constitutional provisions require an amendment.

Replacement Property
In a 1031 exchange, the property the investor purchases with the proceeds of the sale of the original property (called the relinquished property). Under current IRS rules, replacement property must be identified within 45 days of the sale of the relinquished property, and the sale must close within 180 days of the sale.

Replacement Value
The amount you would have to pay, at the present time, to replace a particular item, taking into consideration the item's age and condition.

A type of legal action where the owner of movable goods is given the right to recover them from someone who shouldnt have them. Replevin is often used in disputes between buyers and sellers -- for example, a seller might bring a replevin action to reclaim goods from a buyer who failed to pay for them.

Reply Brief
When a case is appealed to a higher court, the written legal argument of the respondent (the party who won in trial court), submitted in answer to the "opening brief" of an appellant (the party who lost at trial and has appealed to the appellate court).

A published volume of federal, state, or regional judicial decisions. Examples include California Appellate Reports and Supreme Court Reporter. (See also: advance sheets)

To take back property that has been pledged as collateral for a loan. (See also: repossession)

A creditor's taking of property that has been pledged as collateral for a loan. Vehicles are the type of property most often repossessed: Lenders will repossess cars when the owner has missed loan or lease payments and has not attempted to work with the lender to resolve the problem. The loan contract or lease and state law dictate what a repossessor can and cannot do, but usually a repossessor cannot use force to take a car. A repossession of property will appear on the car owner's credit report for seven years, and he or she will owe the costs of repossession and attorney's fees, as well as the difference between what the lender can sell the car for and what was owed on the loan or lease.

1) To act as the agent for another. 2) To serve -- for example, as a member of a legislative body after an election. 3) To act as a client's attorney. 4) To state something as a fact, such as "This horse is only four years old."

1) The act of representing -- for example, by serving as agent for another or acting as an attorney for a client. 2) A statement of alleged fact either in negotiations or in court. 3) A process by which an heir inherits in place of a predecessor, called right of representation.

1) An agent or other individual who stands in for another. 2) Someone who serves a constituency, such as a member of the House of Representatives. 3) The executor or administrator of the estate of a person who has died, sometimes called a personal representative.

Representative Payee
Typically, a person authorized by a government agency such as the Social Security Administration to receive benefits such as SSI payments on behalf of a recipient who is not competent to handle his or her own money.

A temporary delay in imposition of the death penalty by order of the state's governor. Reasons for reprieves include the possibility of newly discovered evidence, awaiting the result of a last-minute appeal, or the governor's concern that there might have been some error in the record that should be examined. On occasion a reprieve has saved someone who was later found to be innocent. A reprieve is only a delay, not a pardon or reduction or commutation of the sentence. When the reprieve expires, the date for execution can be reset.

Actions demonstrating that one party to a contract refuses to perform an obligation. (See also: anticipatory breach)

What the community thinks of a person; a factor in determining liability and damages in suits for defamation, because damage to reputation is the principal injury.

Information based on public belief, whether or not correct.

When a party asks the court to act (such as a request for reconsideration), demands a right (such as request for production of documents from an opposing party), or asks a question.

Request For Admission
A discovery procedure, authorized by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the court rules of most states, in which one party asks an opposing party to admit that certain facts are true. If the opponent admits the facts or fails to respond in a timely manner, the facts will be deemed true for purposes of trial. A request for admission is called a "request to admit" in many states.

Request To Admit
See: request for admission

Required Minimum Distribution
Commonly called an RMD, the minimum amount that a person must take out of their Individual Retirement Account (IRA) starting at either age 70 and a half or the year of the person retires, whichever is later.

Requirements Contract
A contract between a supplier or manufacturer and a buyer, where the seller agrees to sell all the particular products that the buyer needs, and the buyer agrees to purchase the goods exclusively from the supplier. Compare: output contract

Latin for "thing" or "matter."

Res Adjudicata
See: res judicata

Res Gestae
(rayz-jest-eye) All circumstances surrounding and connected with a happening. Thus, the res gestae of a crime includes the immediate area and all occurrences and statements immediately before and after the crime.

Res Gestae Witness
(rayz-jest-eye) A witness who has experienced an event firsthand and can therefore testify about what happened.

Res Ipsa Loquitur
(ray-sip-sah loh-quit-er) Latin for "the thing speaks for itself"; a legal presumption that a defendant acted negligently even though there may be no direct evidence of liability. For example, a construction company is presumed to be negligent if a load of bricks under its control falls off a roof and injures a pedestrian, even though nobody witnessed the accident. The presumption arises only if 1) the thing that caused the accident was under the defendant's control, 2) the accident could happen only as a result of a careless act, and 3) the injured plaintiff's behavior did not contribute to the accident. Lawyers also refer to this doctrine as "res ips" or "res ipsa."

Res Judicata
Latin for a legal issue that has been finally decided by a court, between the same parties, and cannot be ruled on again. For example, if a court rules that John is the father of Betty's child, John cannot raise the issue again in another court. (He could appeal the court's ruling to a higher court, but he could not raise the paternity issue again in another lawsuit.) Sometimes called res adjudicata. (See also: collateral estoppel)

Res Nova
Latin for "a new thing," used by courts to describe an issue of law or case that has not previously been decided.

Selling again, particularly at retail (a retail product is sold once to the retail store and again to the final customer). In many states, a resale license, resale number, or seller's permit is required so that the state can monitor the collection of sales tax on retail sales.

To cancel a contract by mutual agreement of the parties, putting them the positions they would have occupied had the contract not existed.

Cancellation of a contract by mutual agreement of the parties.

Rescue Doctrine
A rule in tort law that states that when a wrongdoer (tortfeasor) has negligently endangered the safety of another, the wrongdoer can be held liable for injuries suffered by a third person who attemps to rescue the person in danger.

A provision in a deed which keeps (reserves) to the grantor some right or portion of the property. The language might read: "Sarah Sims reserves to herself an easement of access to lots 6, 7, and 8."

Reserve Fund
The fund of money that covers maintenance, repairs, or unexpected expenses of a business or a multiunit housing development (often condominiums or a housing cooperative), managed by a homeowners' association or other governing body.

1) The place where one makes his or her home. (Compare: domicile) 2) In corporation law, a business's state of incorporation.

A person who lives in a particular place.

Residuary Beneficiary
A person who receives any property by a will or trust that is not specifically left to another designated beneficiary. For example, if Antonio makes a will leaving his home to Edwina and the remainder of his property to Elmo, then Elmo is the residuary beneficiary.

Residuary Bequest
In a will, the gift of whatever is left over after all specific and general gifts are given. For example, John gives his house and his stocks to his wife, and leaves everything else to his daughter -- the gift of "everything else" is the residuary bequest.

Residuary Estate
The property that remains in a deceased person's estate after all specific gifts are made, and all debts, taxes, administrative fees, probate costs, and court costs are paid. The residuary estate also includes any specific gifts under a will that fail or lapse. For example, Connie's will leaves her house and all its furnishings to Andrew, her VW bug to her friend Carl, and the remainder of her property (the residuary estate) to her sister Sara. She doesnt name any alternate beneficiaries. Carl dies before Connie. The VW bug becomes part of the residuary estate and passes to Sara, along with all of Connie's property other than the house and furnishings. Also called the residual estate or residue.

See: residuary estate

Resisting Arrest
The crime of using physical force (no matter how slight in the eyes of most law enforcement officers) to prevent arrest, handcuffing, or taking the accused to jail. It is also called "resisting an officer" (which can include interfering with a peace officer's attempt to keep the peace) and is sometimes referred to merely as "resisting."

1) In business, an approval of an action or determination of policy of a corporation or limited liability company by the vote of its members, managers, or board of directors. 2) In government, a statement of policy, belief, or appreciation passed by a legislative body.

Resolution Of Congress
Also called a simple resolution, used by Congress to regulate the administrative or internal business in either the House or the Senate, or to express facts or opinions on non-legislative matters. Identified by the abbreviations "H.Res." or "S.Res." and a number, resolutions of Congress do not have to be signed by the president and do not have the force of law.

Respondeat Superior
(ruh-spon-dee-at soo-peer-ee-or) Latin for "let the master answer." A legal doctrine that holds the employer or principal responsible for the acts of its employees or agents committed within the scope of employment.

A term used instead of defendant or appellee in some states -- especially for divorce and other family law cases -- to identify the party who is sued and must respond to the petitioner's complaint.

See: answer

1) Legally liable or accountable. 2) Having the ability to pay or perform.

Responsive Pleading
See: answer

Restatement Of The Law
A series of legal treatises that set out basic U.S. law on a variety of subjects, written and updated by legal scholars and published by the American Law Institutes. While not having the force of statutes or court rulings, the Restatements (as lawyers generally call them) are prestigious and can carry some weight in a legal argument. Topics covered include agency, contracts, property, torts, trusts, and more.

Returning property or its monetary value to the rightful owner. The losing party in a negligence or contracts case may be ordered to make restitution, such as restoring ruined landscaping. A criminal defendant may also be ordered to make restitution, such as returning stolen goods or paying the victim for harm caused. Restitution may be imposed as a condition of probation or a shorter-than-normal sentence.

Restraining Order
An order from a court directing one person not to do something, such as make contact with another person, enter the family home, or remove a child from the state. Restraining orders are often issued in cases in which spousal abuse, stalking, or other immediate harm is feared. A restraining order is always temporary and is also commonly referred to as a temporary restraining order or TRO.

Restraint Of Trade
Any activity (including agreements among competitors or companies doing business with each other) that tends to limit trade, sales, and transportation in interstate commerce or has a substantial impact on interstate commerce. Most restraints of trade are illegal under various antitrust statutes. Some state laws also outlaw local restraints on competitive business activity. (See also: monopoly)

Restraint On Alienation
A provision in a deed or will that attempts to restrict the sale or transfer of the property forever or for an extremely long period of time -- for example, selling your house to your daughter with the provision that it never be sold to anyone outside the family. These provisions are usually unenforceable on the grounds that a present owner should not be allowed to tie the hands of future generations. The maximum period of time for limiting transfer is generally "lives in being, plus 21 years." (This is known as the rule against perpetuities.) Restraints on alienation (restrictive covenants) based on race ("only Caucasians may hold title") were declared unconstitutional in 1949.

Any limitation on activity, by statute, regulation, or contract provision. In multiunit real estate developments, condominiums, and cooperative housing projects, the homeowners' associations or similar organizations that manage these developments are usually required to impose restrictions on use. The restrictions are part of the "covenants, conditions, and restrictions" ("CC&Rs") intended to protect and enhance the property. They are part of each owner's deed.

Restrictive Covenant
An agreement (covenant) in a deed to real estate that restricts future use of the property. Example: "No fence may be built on the property except of dark wood and not more six feet high, no tennis court or swimming pool may be constructed within 30 feet of the property line, and no structure can be built within 20 feet of the frontage street." Also called "covenant running with the land" if it's enforceable against future owners. Restrictive covenants based on race (for example, "the property may be occupied only by Caucasians") were declared unconstitutional in 1949.

Restrictive Endorsement
An endorsement signed on the back of a check, note, or bill of exchange that restricts to whom the paper may be transferred -- for example, "for transfer only to Frank Lowry." Also spelled "indorsement."

Resulting Trust
A trust implied by law, as determined by a court. Under this type of trust, the person who holds title to or has possession of property is considered a trustee for the proper owner, who is considered the beneficiary. The resulting trust is a legal fiction that forces a property holder to honor the beneficiary's property rights. For example, Mahalia leaves $100,000 with her friend, Albert, while she is on a trip to Europe, asking him "to buy the old Barsallo place if it comes on the market." Albert buys the property, but has title put in his own name, which the court will find is held in a resulting trust for Mahalia. A resulting trust differs from a "constructive trust," which comes about when someone gains possession of another's property by accident, misunderstanding, or dishonesty.

Resume Inflation
To include false or misleading information on one's resume to make oneself a more attractive candidate for a job. Examples include adding degrees or awards one never received or positions one never held.

Retained Earnings
The accumulated profits of a corporation that are not paid out as dividends. Instead, the money is reinvested in the core business or used to pay off debt. Also called accumulated earnings or earned surplus.

A fee paid in advance to a lawyer to secure the lawyer's services. It acts as a down payment, ensuring that the lawyer won't get stiffed and that the client will be represented. If the amount is significant, some states require the lawyer and client to sign an agreement.

Punishment of an employee by an employer for engaging in legally protected activity such as making a complaint of harassment or participating in workplace investigations. Retaliation can include any negative job action, such as demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, or job or shift reassignment.

Retaliatory Eviction
An eviction of a tenant by a landlord that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the tenant's exercise of a legal right, such as complaining in good faith to the health department, using a tenant remedy such as rent withholding, or organizing tenants in response to rental conditions. Not all states recognize retaliation as a defense to an eviction, and of those that do, each state defines retaliation, and how to prove it, differently.

Retirement Benefits
Benefits provided by the Social Security Administration to persons of retirement age (which varies depending on the year you were born) who have accumulated sufficient work credits to be eligible. Retirement benefits may also be provided by an individual's private pension or other reqirement plan.

To disavow or take back. This may include: 1) withdrawing a confession or legal document in a lawsuit or other proceeding; 2) withdrawing a promise or offer of contract; or 3) correcting any untruth published or broadcast in the media, usually upon the demand of the person about whom the damaging false statement was made. A clear and complete retraction will usually end the right of the defamed party to go forward with a libel lawsuit. In most states the plaintiff must request a retraction before filing suit, in order to give the defendant a chance to cure the problem without litigation.

A new trial (by the same court as made the decision in the first trial), granted upon the motion of the losing party, based on obvious error, bias, or newly discovered evidence.

A law or court decision that takes away or impairs a previously vested right, imposes new duties or obligations, or changes or effects past transactions or legal actions. Retroactive (or retrospective) laws are not favored and, unless it is expressly stated, it is usually presumed that legislation is not intended to apply retroactively. In criminal law, statutes which would increase penalties or make activities which had been previously legal criminal are prohibited by the Constitutional ban on ex post facto laws.

Return Of Service
Written confirmation under oath by a process server declaring that there was service of legal documents (such as a summons and complaint).

Revenue Agent
An IRS employee who performs audits in the field; for example, at a business, a taxpayer's home, or an attorney's office.

Revenue Ruling
A published opinion of the Internal Revenue Service stating what it would rule on future tax questions based on the same circumstances. These rulings are of general use to taxpayers, tax preparers, accountants, and attorneys in anticipating tax treatment by the IRS. They have the force of law until otherwise determined by the federal tax court or a new revenue ruling.

The decision of a court of appeal ruling that the judgment of a lower court was incorrect and is reversed. The result is that the lower court which tried the case is instructed to dismiss the original action, retry the case, or is ordered to change its judgment.

Reverse Engineering
Disassembly and examination of products that are available to the public.

Reverse Mortgage
A loan for homeowners 62 years of age or older who have considerable equity in their houses. Typically, borrowers make no payments during their lifetimes; the loan is paid off at their death, when the house is sold.

Reversible Error
A legal mistake at the trial court level that is so significant (resulted in an improper judgment) that the judgment must be reversed by the appellate court. A reversible error is distinguished from an error which is minor or did not contribute to the judgment at the trial.

The return to an original owner, or to that person's heirs, of real estate after all interests in the property given to others have terminated. Example: George deeds property to the local hospital district for "use for health facilities only." Eventually, the hospital is torn down, and the property is now vacant. The property reverts to George's descendants. Also called reverter.

See: reversion

The judicial consideration of a lower court judgment by an appellate court, determining if there were legal errors sufficient to require reversal. In reviewing a lower court decision or order, appellate courts focus on errors of a legal nature and will usually not disturb factual findings.

1) Requesting a court to reinstate the force of an old judgment. 2) Reinstating a contract or debt by a new agreement after the right to demand performance or collect has expired under the statute of limitations.

Revocable Living Trust
A trust set up during life that can be revoked at any time before death. Revocable living trusts are a common and excellent way to avoid the cost and hassle of probate, because the property held in the trust during life passes directly to the trust beneficiaries after the trust maker's death, without probate court proceedings. The successor trustee - the person appointed to handle the trust after the trust maker's death --simply transfers ownership to the beneficiaries named in the trust. Certain revocable living trusts can also reduce federal estate tax. Also called "inter vivos trust." Compare: living trust, living will, testamentary trust

Annulment or cancellation of a statement, document, or offer not yet accepted, or cancellation of a contract by the parties to it. For example, a person can revoke a will or revoke an offer to enter into a contract, and a government agency can revoke a license. Compare: rescission

To annul or cancel an act, particularly a statement, document, or promise, as if it no longer existed. For example, a person can revoke a will or revoke an offer to enter into a contract, and a government agency can revoke a license.

Revolving Credit
A type of credit that permits a consumer to purchase goods or obtain loans on an as-needed basis, as long as the consumer does not exceed the credit limit established by the lender. Also called a "revolving charge account" or "open credit."

Reynolds V. Sims (1964)
A U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that the voting districts of state legislatures must have roughly equal populations. The decision was based on the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and is sometimes known as the "one person, one vote" rule.

(rad a man</> then) Strict and inflexible in the application of the law; sometimes used to describe a judge.

See: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

1) An attachment to a document that adds to or amends it. Typical is an added provision to an insurance policy, such as additional coverage for a valuable item or temporary insurance to cover a public event. 2) An amendment tacked on to a legislative bill that has little or no connection to the main purpose of the legislation, as a way to get the amendment passed.

1) Just, fair, correct. 2) An entitlement to something, whether to a concept like justice or due process, or to a legally enforceable claim or interest -- for example, an ownership interest in property.

Right Of Representation
See: per stirpes

Right Of Survivorship
The right of a surviving co-owner to take ownership of a deceased owner's share of the property. Forms of ownership that come with a right of survivorship include joint tenancy, tenancy by the entirety, and community property with right of survivorship.

Right Of Way
1) The right to pass over or through property owned by someone else, usually based upon an easement. There may be a specific path that must be taken, or the right may be more general. The mere right to cross without a specific description is a "floating" easement. A right of way may be granted for a particular purpose -- for example, to repair power lines or to make deliveries to the back door of a business. 2) In traffic law, the right to proceed, which must be granted to a driver by other drivers under certain circumstances. A driver who fails to yield the right of way when it is required by law may be ticketed. The failure to yield can also be evidence of negligence if an accident results and there is a lawsuit.

Right To Cancel (A Contract)
See: cooling-off rule

Right To Counsel
The right of criminal defendants to have a lawyer appointed by the court to represent them if the defendants cannot afford to hire one. The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees this right to those charged with federal crimes; the U.S. Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainright extended this right to those charged with state offenses. The right to counsel applies only where the defendant faces the possibility of imprisonment, and only at trial and through the first appeal, if the defendant is convicted. Juveniles are also entitled to counsel.

Right To Privacy
1) The right not to have one's personal matters disclosed or publicized; the right to be left alone. 2) The right against undue government intrusion into fundamental personal issues and decisions. Although the U.S. Constitution does not explicitly state that there is a right to privacy, Supreme Court decisions have found an implicit constitutional right to privacy in striking down laws that criminalize sodomy, the use of contraceptives, and abortion.

Right To Work State
A state that has a law prohibiting union security agreements.

1) Plural of right. 2) Slang for the information which must be given by law enforcement officers to a person who is under arrest or otherwise not free to leave. (See also: Miranda warnings)

1) A turbulent and violent disturbance of peace by three or more people acting together. 2) An assemblage of people who are out of control, causing injury, or endangering the physical safety of others or themselves, causing or threatening damage to property, and often violating various laws both individually and as a group. The common thread is that the people in a riot have the power through violence to break the public peace and safety, requiring police action.

Referring to land adjoining a river or stream.

Riparian Rights
Rights of the owner of land adjacent to a river or stream to use the water for certain purposes. State laws vary on the extent of the rights given riparian landowners.A riparian landowner may not, however, interfere with the rights of other riparian landlowners farther downstream -- which means no damming or diversion of a stream.

Referring to a claim for relief that is ready for a court's review because an injury has occurred or will occur, and is not just hypothetical or speculative.

The probability of danger or loss, particularly of property covered by an insurance policy. (See also: assumption of risk)

Risk Of Loss
The responsibility a carrier, borrower, or user of property or goods assumes, or an insurance company agrees to cover, if there is damage or loss.

Roadside Test
See: field sobriety test

The crime of directly taking property (including money) from a person (victim) through force, threat, or intimidation. Robbery is a felony, punishable by a term in state or federal prison. Armed robbery involves the use of gun or other weapon, such as a knife or club, and under most state laws carries a stiffer penalty than robbery by merely taking. Compare: burglary, embezzlement, shoplifting

Roe V. Wade (1973)
A U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that abortions (previously limited to those necessary to save a woman's life) are legal, and any state law that denied the right of a woman to have an abortion in the first trimester (three months) of pregnancy was a denial of her right to privacy under the due process guarantee in the Fourteenth Amendment. Until this ruling, every state had laws making an elective abortion a crime.

Rogatory Letters
See: letter of request

Roll Over
1) To reinvest funds from a tax-deferred account or maturing security into a similar account or security. For example, moving money from one individual retirement account (IRA) to another IRA, or from a qualified retirement plan into an IRA. 2) To defer or postpone payment of an obligation, such as a loan that gives the borrower the option to renew the terms on maturity.

Roth V. United States (1957)
The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court defined obscenity as that which "appeals to the prurient interest," and not merely as sexual material. The Court ruled that obscenity has no redeeming social importance and therefore is not entitled to First Amendment free speech protection. The Court also ruled that contemporary community standards should be used to judge whether something is obscene.

1) A form of compensation based on a percentage of revenue or unit sales generated under an agreement, typically a patent or copyright licensing contract. 2) A compulsory payment required under statute in exchange for the right to use or sell certain property -- for example, a statutory royalty that is paid by the sellers of musical ringtones to the copyright owners of the underlying songs.

1) To decide a legal question, as when at the end of a lawsuit a court announces: "This court rules that the plaintiff is entitled to the goods and damages for delay in the sum of $10,000." 2) A regulation issued by a court or government agency. 3) A legal principle set by a court's written decision in an appellate case, as "the rule in the case of Murray v. Crampton is...." (See also: rules of court, local rules)

Rule Against Perpetuities
An exceedingly complex legal doctrine that limits the amount of time that property can be controlled after death by a person's instructions in a will. The maximum period for which title to real property may be held without being transferred to another is "lives in being plus 21 years." For example, a provision in a deed or will that reads "Title shall be held by David Smith and, upon his death, title may be held only by his descendants until the year 2200, when it shall vest in the Trinity Episcopal Church" is invalid. But a provision stating that "the property will be held by my son George for his life, and thereafter by his son, Thomas, and for 20 years by the Trinity Episcopal Church, before it may be conveyed" is acceptable under the rule.

Rule Of Doubt
The rule under which the U.S. Copyright Office allows software object code to be deposited in connection with a computer program registration. Under the rule there is an express understanding that doubt exists as to whether the code qualifies for copyright protection should litigation later occur. In essence, the Copyright Office is saying, "We will let you deposit object code, but since we can't read or understand it, we won't commit ourselves as to its copyrightability." If the registration is accomplished under the rule of doubt, the copyright owner may be unable to claim the presumption of ownership -- an important benefit of registration -- should the issue end up in court because of an alleged copyright infringement.

Rules Of Court
A set of procedural rules adopted by local, state, or federal courts that instruct parties and attorneys what the court's mandatory procedures are about things like the time allowed to file papers, format of documents, filing procedures and fees, basis for calculating alimony and child support.

Any decision a judge makes during the course of a lawsuit.

Running At Large
1) A reference to an animal that is roaming free, such as cattle that have escaped an enclosure or a dog that has slipped its leash. The owner of an animal running at large is generally liable for any damage it causes. 2) A reference to a candidate who is campaigning for an office elected by an entire city, county, or state, rather than from a particular political district within that larger region.

Running With The Land
A phrase used in real estate law to describe a right or duty that remains with a piece of real estate no matter who owns it. For example, the duty to allow a public path across beachfront property would most likely pass from one owner of the property to the next.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominated to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Ginsburg is the second female to serve on the Court (after Sandra Day O'Connor), and is considered one of the Court's more liberal Justices.