Counterclaim Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Counterclaim, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Counterclaim?

When a defendant claims from the plaintiff in the lawsuit,against the claim of the plaintiff, in order to reduce the plaintiff’s claim.

History and Meaning of Counterclaim

A counterclaim is a claim made by the defendant in a lawsuit against the plaintiff. It is a legal action that the defendant takes in response to the plaintiff's initial claim. The purpose of a counterclaim is to reduce or negate the plaintiff's claim by proving that the defendant has a claim against the plaintiff.

Counterclaims have been a part of legal systems for centuries. They are often used as a strategic tool by defendants to turn the tables on the plaintiff and assert their own claims. The idea behind counterclaims is to provide a fair and balanced legal process where both parties have the opportunity to present their cases in court.

Examples of Counterclaim

  1. A plaintiff sues a restaurant for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident. The restaurant could file a counterclaim against the plaintiff for damages the plaintiff caused to the restaurant during their visit.

  2. In a divorce case, a wife files for divorce and requests spousal support. The husband could counterclaim for custody of the children and argue that he should not have to pay spousal support.

  3. A tenant sues their landlord for failing to make necessary repairs to the property. The landlord could counterclaim for unpaid rent or damages caused by the tenant.

Legal Terms Similar to Counterclaim

  1. Cross-claim: A legal action made by a co-defendant against another co-defendant in the same lawsuit.

  2. Third-party claim: A legal action made by a third-party against the defendant in a lawsuit.

  3. Affirmative defense: A legal defense that admits to the plaintiff's claim but argues that there is a different legal justification for the defendant's actions.