What is ACTION? Definition of ACTION in Black’s Law Dictionary
Conduct; behavior; something done; the condition of acting; an act or series of acts.
French Commercial Law
Stock in a company, or shares in a corporation.
The legal and formal demand of one’s right from another person or party made and insisted on in a court of justice. Smith-Webster Co. v. John, C.C.A.Pa., 259 F. 549, 551; Dinsmore v.
Barker, 61 Utah, 332, 212 P. 1109; Shaw v. Lone Star Building & Loan Ass’n, Tex.Civ.App., 40 S.W. 2d 968, 969. Pursuit of right in court, without regard to form of procedure. Ginzberg v. Wyman, 272 Mass. 499, 172 N.E. 614, 615. Form of suit given by law for recovery of that which is one’s due. Co.Litt. 284b, 285a; Peterson v. A. Guthrie & Co., D.C.Wash., 3 F.Supp. 136, 138. Judicial means of enforcing a right. Code Ga. 1882, § 3151 (Civ.Code 1926, § 5507). Judicial remedy for the enforcement or protection of a right. White v. White, 98 Ind.App. 587, 186 N.E. 349, 351.
An ordinary proceeding in a court of justice by which one party prosecutes another for the enforcement or protection of a right, the redress or prevention of a wrong, or the punishment of a public offense. Code Civ.Proc.S.D.1903, § 12 (Comp.Laws 1929, § 2091) ; Missionary Soc. v. Ely, 47 N.E. 537, 56 Ohio St. 405.
Cross-action, White v. St. Louis Post Offices Corporation, 348 Mo. 961, 156 S.W.2d 695, 698, and counterclaim, Websterv. Freeman, 27 Cal.App.2d 5, 80 P.2d 497, 499, are actions but not set off, Kress v. Central Trust Co. of Rochester, 283 N.Y.S. 467, 471, 246 App. Div. 76.
It includes all the formal proceedings in a court of justice attendant upon the demand of a right made by one person of another in such court, including an adjudication upon the right and its enforcement or denial by the court.
Proceedings held actions : Disbarment, In re Wilcox, 90 Kan. 646, 135 P. 995; probating will, Simpson v. Simpson, 273 Ill. 90, 112 N.E. 276, 277; will contest, Byrne v.
Byrne, Mo.Sup., 181 S.W. 391, 392; workmen’s compensation, Pigeon v. Employers’ Liability Assur. Corporation, 216 Mass. 51, 102 N.E. 932, 935, Ann.Cas.1915A, 737; criminal prosecution, Mason v. U. S., C.C.A.I11., 1 F.2d 279, 280; mandamus, People v. Lueders, 287 Ill. 107, 122 N.E. 374, 375; naturalization, In re Fordiani, 98 Conn. 435, 120 A. 338, 341.
Proceedings held not actions : attachment, State v. Superior Court of Spokane County, 110 Wash. 49, 187 P. 708; arbitration, Temple v. Riverland Co., Tex.Civ.App., 228 S.
W. 605, 609; criminal prosecution, U. S. v. Cleveland, D.C. Ala., 281 F. 249, 253; Wynn v. Commonwealth, 198 Ky. 644, 249 S.W. 783, 784; writ of citation, McClelland v. State, 101 Ohio St. 42, 127 N.E. 409, 410; certiorari, Campbell, v. Common Council of City of Watertown, 46 S.D. 574, 195 N.W. 442; mandamus, De Leyer v. Britt, 212 N.Y. 565, 106 N.E. 57; child’s support, Head v. Fuller, 122 Me. 15, 118 A. 714, 715; drainage, Richardson County v. Drainage Dist. No. 2 of Richardson County, 96 Neb. 169, 147 N.W. 205, 206; condemnation, State v. Superior Court for Ferry County, 145 Wash. 576, 261 P. 110, 111.
A suit or judicial proceeding.
Strictly applied, action does not usually refer to chancery practice. City of Beckley v. Craighead, 125 W.Va. 484, 24 S.E.2d 908, 911. But
terms “action” and “suit” are now nearly, if not entirely, synonymous. (3 Bl.Comm. 3, 116, et passim.) Elmo v. James, Tex.Civ.App., 282 S.W. 835, 839; Coleman v. Los Angeles County, 180 Cal. 714, 182 P. 440. Or, if there be a distinction, it is that the term “action” is generally confined to proceedings in a court of law, while “suit” is equally applied to prosecutions at law or in equity. McBride v. University Club, 112 Ohio St. 69, 146
N.E. 804, 805; Guarantee Trust & Banking Co. v. Dickson, 148 Ga. 311, 96 S.E. 561, 562; Niantic Mills Co. v. Riverside & 0. Mills, 19 R.I. 34, 31 A. 432; Ulshafer v. Stewart, 71 Pa. 170. Formerly, however, an action was considered as terminating with the giving of judgment, the execution forming no part of it. (Litt. § 504; Co.Litt. 289a.) A suit included the execution. (Litt. § 291a.) So, an action is termed by Lord Coke, “the right of a suit.” (2 Inst. 40.) Burrill.
Types of Actions
Actions are called, in common-law practice, ex contractu when they are founded on a contract; ex delicto when they arise out of a tort. Nelson
- Great Northern R. Co., 28 Mont. 297, 72 Pac. 642; Van Oss v. Synon, 85 Wis. 661, 56 N.W. 190.
If a cause of action arises from a breach of promise, the action is “ex contractu,” and, if it arises from breach of duty growing out of contract, it is “ex delicto.” Tort or trespass is none the less such because it incidentally in- volves breach of contract. Berning v. Colodny & Colodny, 103 Cal.App. 188, 284 P. 496, 498.
As to class or representative actions. See Class Or Representative Action.
As to the distinction between a revocatory action and an action in simulation, see Chapman v. Irwin, 157 La. 920, 103 So. 263, 265.
Civil actions are such as lie in behalf of persons to enforce their rights or obtain redress of wrongs in their relation to individuals.
Common law actions are such as will lie, on the particular facts, at common law, without the aid of a statute.
Criminal actions are such as are instituted by the sovereign power, for the purpose of punishing or preventing offenses against the public.
Local action. See Local Action.
Mixed actions partake of twofold nature of real and personal actions, having for their object the demand and restitution of real property and also personal damages for a wrong sustained. 3 Bl.Comm. 118; Hall v. Decker, 48 Me. 257. Mixed actions are those which are brought for the specific recovery of lands, like real actions, but comprise, joined with this claim, one for damages in respect of such property; such as the action of waste, where, in addition to the recovery of the place wasted, the demandant claims damages; the writ of entry, in which, by statute, a demand of mesne profits may be joined; and dower, in which a claim for detention may be included. 48 Me. 255. In the civil law, an action in which some specific thing was demanded, and also some personal obligation claimed to be performed; or, in other words, an action which proceeded both in rem and in personam. Inst. 4, 6, 20.
Penal actions are such as are brougnt, either by the state or by an individual under permission of a statute, to enforce a penalty imposed by law for the commission of a prohibited act.
Personal action. In civil law, an action in personam. It seeks to enforce an obligation imposed on the defendant by his contract or delict; that is, it is the contention that he is bound to transfer some dominion or to perform some service or to repair some loss. Gaius, bk. 4, § 2. In common law. An action brought for the recovery of some debt or for damages for some personal injury, in contradistinction to the old real actions, which related to real property only. See 3 Bl.Comm. 117. Boyd v. Cronan, 71 Me. 286; Doe v. Waterloo Min. Co., C.C.Cal., 43 F. 219; Osborn v. Fall River, 140 Mass. 508, 5 N.E. 483. An action which can be brought only by the person himself who is injured, and not by his representatives.
Popular actions, in English usage, are those actions which are given upon the breach of a penal statute, and which any man that will may sue on account of the king and himself, as the statute allows and the case requires. Because the action is not given to one especially, but generally to any that will prosecute, it is called “action popular ;” and, from the words used in the process, (qui tam pro domino rege sequitur quam pro se ipso, who sues as well for the king as for himself,) it is called a qui tam action. Tomlins.
Real actions. At common law, one brought for the specific recovery of lands, tenements, or hereditaments. Steph.Pl. 3; Crocker v. Black, 16 Mass. 448; Hall v. Decker, 48 Me. 256; Doe v. Waterloo Min. Co., C.C.Cal., 43 F. 220; Mathews v. Sniggs, 75 Okl. 108, 182 P. 703, 708. They are droitural when they are based upon the right of property, and possessory when based upon the right of possession. They are either writs of right ; writs of entry upon disseisin (which lie in the per, the per et cui, or the post), intrusion, or alienation; writs ancestral possessory, as mort d’ancestor, aiel, besaiel, cossinage, or nuper obiit. Com.Dig. Actions ( D 2). The former class was divided into droitural, founded upon demandant’s own seisin, and ancestral droitural upon the demandant’s claim in respect of a mere right descended to him from an ancestor. Possessory actions were divided in the same way—as to the demandant’s own seisin and as to that of his ancestor. Among the civilians, real actions, otherwise called “vindications,” were those in which a man demanded something that was his own. They were founded on doiminion, or jus in re. The real actions of the Roman law were not, like the real actions of the common law, confined to real estate, but they included personal, as well as real, property. Wharton.
Statutory actions are such as can only be based upon the particular statutes creating them.
Transitory actions are those founded upon a cause of action not necessarily referring to or arising in any particular locality. Their characteristic feature is that the right of action follows the person of the defentlant. Brown v. Brown, 155 Tenn. ;,30, 296 S.W. 356, 358. Actions are “transitory” when the transactions relied on might have taken place anywhere, and are “local” when they could not occur except in some particular place ; the distinction being in the nature of the subject of the injury, and not in the means used or the place at which the cause of action arises. Brady v. Brady, 161 N.C. 324, 77 S.E. 235, 236, 44 L.R.A.,N.S., 279; Taylor v. Sommers Bros. Match Co., 35 Idaho, 30, 204 P. 472, 474, 42 A.L.R. 189. The test of
whether an action is local or transitory is whether the injury is done to a subject-matter which, in its nature, could not arise beyond the locality of its situation, in contradistinction to the subject causing the injury. Mattix v. Swepston; 127 Tenn. 693, 155 S.W. 928, 929. Actions triable where defendant resides are termed “transitory” and those triable where the subject-matter is situated are termed “local.” State v. District Court of Swift County, 164 Minn. 433, 205 N.W. 284, 285.
See Cause of Action.