SECRETARY OF STATE: The office in each state that provides information regarding all businesses, including businesses with a fictitious name that are registered to do business in that state. All corporations conducting business in that state will have an agent for service of process identified. Virtually all states have an Internet website that can be used to look up businesses registered in that state.
SERVICE OF PROCESS: The act of providing an opposing party with notice of a pleading or action to assure that the opposing party is aware an action has been filed and is given an opportunity to appear.
SETTLEMENT: An agreement between the parties disposing of a lawsuit.
SHALL: In legal terms, "shall" is defined as "required."
SMALL CLAIMS COURT: A court that handles civil claims for small amounts of money where people often represent themselves without an attorney.
STATEMENT OF COMPLAINT: The pleadings or legal papers filed by the plaintiff describing the claim against the defendant.
STATUTE: A law adopted by the legislature.
STATUTORY AGENT: A representative appointed by the defendant and registered with the Secretary of State to accept service of process on behalf of defendant.
STATUTE OF LIMITATION: The time limit setting the maximum period of time, after certain events, that a plaintiff may file a lawsuit. Once the statute tolls, the time period to file an action expires and the plaintiff is barred from filing any action.
STANDING: The legal right to bring a lawsuit. Only a person with something as stake can bring a lawsuit.
STIPULATION: An agreement by attorneys/parties on both sides of a case as to any manner pertaining to the proceedings or trial. For example, agree to extend the time to answer or admit certain facts at the trial.
SUA SPONTE: Latin phrase meaning on one's own behalf--voluntary, without prompting or suggestion.
SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION: It is the authority of a court to decide a particular type of case as established by federal or state Constitution, or by state or federal statute.
SUBSIDIARY: A company having the majority of its stock owned by another company
SUBPOENA: Order of the court requiring a witness to attend and testify at trial.
SUMMONS: The section of the Notice, Claim, and Summons to Appear for Trial form that informs the Defendant when and where to appear.