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Legal Terms that Start with "M"
- Mala Fides
- Bad faith. The opposite of bona fides, good faith. From mala for bad (where we get the words malefactor, malicious, etc.) and fides for faith (where we get the word fidelity).
- A writ or court order directing a public official to perform his official duty. A writ of mandamus may be used, for example, to force a mayor to attend his town hall meetings or to require the clerk of court to give you access to a file that is part of the local public records. Mandamus from a higher court can be used to cause a lower court to enter an order instead of continuing to sit on your case. Mandamus can direct any public official, any branch. The President of the United States should be subject to mandamus by the U.S. Supreme Court, and every judge, governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, court clerk, sheriff, and all other officers of each state should be subject to the mandamus of their state’s supreme court. Mandamus is a very powerful writ. The power of mandamus issues only by a court, however it belongs to the people. The power is yours. You have a right to ask the court to issue a writ of mandamus for you anytime a situation warrants it. If you need to, you can use your mandamus power to make leaders do what their Constitutional job descriptions require of them. Make your school board do its job. Here’s how. Get a writ of mandamus requiring them to do it. State Attorney’s office won’t act? Go to court. Complain for a writ of mandamus. Make public officials do their jobs. Use your pen power to move mountains. See Writ of Mandamus.
- A fact is material if it is necessary to or can affect the outcome of a case. If a fact is not necessary and cannot affect the outcome of the case it is not material to the case. See also relevant, pertinent, and dispositive.
- The materiality of a fact is the degree to which such fact is or is not material. Frequently, during the course of a lawsuit, one party argues the materiality of facts offered by the other side as evidence. If the court finds an offered fact is not material, it cannot be used as evidence in the proceedings.
- A quasi-judicial process by which the parties meet to seek a mutually agreeable result to their dispute. If the parties agree, the mediator will prepare a mediation agreement for the parties to sign. Both parties must appear for mediation or be represented by persons empowered to settle fully. If the mediation agreement is signed, the mediator will present it to the court, and an order will be entered binding the parties to their agreement. If the parties do not reach and agreement, the mediation is said to be at a impasse, and the parties are left to take their dispute to court. The best preparation for mediation is to know as much as possible about the law and facts prior to attending the mediation conference.
- Remember this: You are not required to settle with the other side. If the terms are not agreeable, tell the mediator you cannot agree to the terms, and the mediator will report to the judge that you and your opponent have met an impasse and cannot find room for agreement.
- Meeting of the Minds
- In settling disputes over contracts, courts may look to see if parties were in actual agreement, if there was a genuine meeting of the minds ... for unless there is agreement there is no contract.
- If, for example, a painter reasonably believes a contract required him to paint the barn red (i.e., if such an interpretation can be reasonably read from the parties’ agreement) and the farmer reasonably believed his barn was to be painted blue (i.e., that the contrary interpretation was also reasonable), the court may relieve the parties of their obligation on the basis that there was no meeting of the minds and try to assist the parties to find some mutual ground for resolving their difficulty.
- If there is no actual meeting of the minds, there can be no enforceable contract, for contracts are only enforceable by our courts if both parties agreed to the same thing. The word "agreement" is synonymous in the law with "contract". See informed consent.
- A breach of public law that may require a fine but does not deprive the accused of his civil rights. Conviction on misdemeanor charges does not authorize incarceration, forfeiture of property (other than the fine), nor otherwise authorize the state to deny the accused his right to own property and move about free from restraint or imprisonment. See felony.
- Money Lent
- Exactly what it sounds like. Money loaned to another that now forms the thing in controversy before the court where the parties are arguing over who has a right to the money lent. Money lent is not a gift.
- Used as either an adjective or a verb, a thing is moot when it is no longer effective, e.g., a dead issue. The famous case of Roe v. Wade dealt with the concept and should be studied, because the issue (being a pregnancy and matters related to the law pertaining to the voluntary termination of pregnancy) was likely to become moot before the courts could deal with it (since the courts could not be expected to reach a decision before the child was born). A moot point, therefore, is one that is beyond the reach of settlement. Either the point has been resolved, or it has disappeared by the action of time or some other change. The old saying, "carrying coals to Newcastle" comes to mind, because Newcastle is a town in England that has no shortage of coal and, therefore, it would be moot to carry coals to that town.
- A conditional title in property given to secure promises or other obligations. Mortgages in real property (land) are commonly given to secure lenders by granting conditional title in the land as collateral to protect against default on the part of borrowers. Chattel mortgages may be given to collateralize an obligation by giving a conditional title in personal property. Depending on the terms of the mortgage, if the borrower defaults, the mortgage holder can foreclose to gain complete unconditional title.
- Here is your power. You can move the court.
- To move the court you file a motion. Although you may speak your motions, it is far better practice to write them using the common sense language in separate numbered simple sentences, one subject, one verb, no connectors (like and, but, however, etc.), minimum adjectives and adverbs.
- Move the court. Don’t request. For Heaven’s sake, don’t beg. Move the court. Say, "The undersigned moves the court to ... " and fill in the blank with any action you believe justice demands (usually an order resolving some dispute between you and the other party).
- If the court denies your motion, move the court to explain in a written order by what authority it denies your motion, i.e., move the court to say why. You are entitled to an explanation in writing from the court, i.e., a reasonable adjudication according to law and not just a curt "no".
- If your motion is reasonable and lawful, fair and even-handed, and does not unduly prejudice the other side, the court should grant your motion. Use this word a lot in your motions. Tell the court what it should do. Tell the court why it should do what you move it to do. Cite laws, if you can. State facts that are already part of the public record. Give the judge some solid ground to stand on, and a good judge will grant your reasonable motion in the interests of justice. Tell the court why it should grant your motion. Be as specific and concise as possible.
- Move the court to order what you wish. Let each motion clearly seek an order, and follow up each motion with a hearing at which you again ask for the order. Just like a salesman closing a deal, you must ask the court for it’s order ... and if the order does not say what you think it should say then you must move the court to explain itself, i.e., on the public record.
- Keep on in this manner until you get what you want.
- Motions may be made by either side, and most motions may be made at any time during the court’s jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter of the case.
- Well-stated and reasonable motions that seek justice are your most powerful tools to get what you want in civil lawsuits. Use motions to show the court what it should do, then demand justice.
- One who makes a motion. The movant usually has the burden to prove his motion should be granted by the court, while the non-moving party has no burden to prove the motion should not be granted ... however, the wise non-moving party will research the law pertaining to the facts asserted in the motion and file a memorandum in opposition to the motion to explain why the movant should not be granted what he asks. The non-moving party should also be prepared to argue his memorandum in opposition at the hearing on the movant’s motion, explaining to the court why the motion should be denied.
- Make a motion. Move the court for an order or other action.
- Mutatis Mutandis
- A phrase indicating that a document or thing may be changed or amended to reflect non-material matters (like a new address or telephone number) without changing the legal effect thereof. Altered, yet fundamentally the same.