Plea In Abatement Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Plea In Abatement?

It is a pleading by the defendant, as a response to the plaintiff’s claim, where the defendant does not object to the claims but objects to its form or time or place thereby having an excuse for which a judge should consider before proclaiming a sentence as that may affect the decision. This is also known as dilatory plea where the judge considers the merits of each party. However, its not a defeat for the plaintiff because, once the judge finds the defendant guilty, the plaintiff can file the lawsuit again in proper form, time and place.

History and Meaning of Plea In Abatement

Plea in Abatement is a legal defense term that dates back to Medieval England during the 11th century. It was initially used in ecclesiastical courts before the common law. The term "abatement" in Latin means to "cut short", "reduce," or "diminish." The purpose of the plea is to challenge the form, place, or time of the lawsuit rather than the allegations themselves.

This means that a defendant acknowledges they may be liable, but argues that the lawsuit was filed incorrectly, making the case "abate." The court may dismiss the case so it can be refiled properly. A plea in abatement can only be claimed at the beginning of the lawsuit, and often as part of the first response to the filing of the lawsuit. People favor using the plea in abatement for its procedural characteristics, as a dilatory defense, unlike substantive defenses that challenge the merits of the plaintiff's case.

Examples of Plea In Abatement

  1. If a plaintiff sues a defendant in a state court that does not have jurisdiction over the defendant, the defendant's attorney can file a plea in abatement regarding the court's jurisdiction over the matter, making the case abate.

  2. If a plaintiff sues the defendant at an improper venue, for instance, in the wrong county, a plea in abatement will be filed to challenge and dismiss the matter until it can be filed at the appropriate venue.

  3. If the defendant believes the plaintiff has inadequate documentation or lack of evidence to support the allegations, they may challenge the lawsuit's form and file a plea in abatement.

Legal Terms Similar to Plea in Abatement

  1. Motion to Dismiss: A document filed by a defendant, which requests the court sets aside the lawsuit due to lack of jurisdiction, unlikely to recover, or the correct legal procedures not being followed.

  2. Demurrer: A plea entered by the defendant, which alleges that there are errors significantly related to the lawsuit and gives a basis for dismissal.

  3. Statute of Limitations: A legal term that describes the deadline for filing a lawsuit. If the plaintiff fails to file the lawsuit within the time frame allotted, they are barred by law from asserting the rights or bringing the cause of action to court.