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What is a Defendant?



The defendant in a lawsuit is the person against whom the action is brought, by the plaintiff. The defendant does not have to prove his or her case; that is the responsibility of the plaintiff.

The term "defendant" is used in both civil and criminal lawsuits. In an arbitration, the defendant is called a respondent, because he/she is responding to the claims of the claimant.

Also Known As: A defendant in an arbitration case is called the "respondent."
Common Misspellings: defendent
The defendant sat with her attorney while the plaintiff's attorney outlined the case against her.

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