CAUSE - Black's Law Dictionary

What is CAUSE? Definition of CAUSE in Black's Law Dictionary – Legal dictionary – Glossary of legal terms.

v. To be the cause or occasion of ; to effect as an agent; to bring about; to bring into existence; to make. La Page v. U. S., C.C.A. Minn., 146 F.2d 536, 538, 156 A.L.R. 965; Huffman v. U. S., C.C.A.Colo., 259 F. 35, 38; Shea v. U. S., C.C.A.Ohio, 251 F. 440, 447. To induce; to compel. Hill v. Montgomery, 352 Mo. 147, 176 S.W. 2d 284, 287.

n. (Lat. causa.) Each separate antecedent of an event, Griffin v. Anderson Motor Service Co., 227 Mo.App. 855, 59 S.W.2d 805, 808. Means, Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Funderburk, Tex.Civ.App., 81 S.W.2d 132, 137. Motive, In re Canal Bank & 'trust Co.'s Liquidation, 178 La. 575, 152 So. 297, 298. Probable cause, State v. Brockman, 231 Wis. 634, 283 N.W. 338, 340. Producing cause, Traders & General Insurance Co. v. Ray, Tex.Civ.App., 128 S.W.2d 80, 84. Sum of antecedents of an event, Burns v. Eminger, 84 Mont. 397, 276 P. – 437, 442; Griffin v. Anderson Motor Service Co., 227 Mo.App. 855, 59 S.W.2d 805, 808. That which produces an effect; whatever moves, impels or leads. Weinberg v. Richardson, 291 Ill. App. 618, 10 N.E.2d 893; Merlo v. Public Service Co. of Northern Illinois, 381 Ill. 300, 45 N.E.2d S65, 675; State v. Craig, 161 S.C. 232, 159 S.E. 559, 560. The origin or foundation of a thing, as of a suit or action; a ground of action. State v. Dougherty, 4 Or. 203.

As used with reference to the removal of an officer or employee, “cause” means a just, not arbitrary, cause ; one relating to a material matter, or affecting the public interest. Brokaw v. Burk, 89 N.J.Law, 132, 98 A. 11, 12; a cause relating to and affecting administration of office and of substantial nature directly affecting public's rights and interests, State ex rel. Rockwell v. State Board of Education, 213 Minn. 184, 6 N.W.2d 251, 260, 143 A.L.R. 503.

Conduct indicating unworthy or illegal motives or improper administration of power, Voorhees v. Kopler, 239 App.Div. 83, 265 N.Y.S. 532, 533; Tappan v. Helena Federal Savings & Loan Ass'n of Helena, Ark., 193 Ark. 1023, 104 S.W.2d 458, 459; Zurich General Accident & Liability Ins. Co. v. Kinsler, 12 Ca1.2d 98, 81 P.2d 913, 915; misfeasance or nonfeasance, Schoonover v. City of Viroqua, 244 Wis. 615, 12 N.W.2d 912, 914; As used in fraternal benefit society by-law authorizing suspension of subordinate council and dissolution of its charter, "cause," means legal cause or just cause, a substantial, reasonable, or just cause. Wichita Council No. 120 of Security Ben. Ass'n v. Security Ben. Ass'n, 138 Kan. 841, 28 P.2d 976, 979, 94 A.L.R. 629.

"Cause" and "consequence" are correlative terms. Kelsey v. Rebuzzini, 87 Conn. 556, 89 A. 170, 171, 52 L.R.A., N.S., 103; In re Benson, 178 Okl. 299, 62 P.2d 962, 965.

Clause for termination of employment for "any cause" held to refer to cause justifying termination for employee's breach of contract, not arbitrarily. Parsil v. Emery, 242 ,App.Div. 653, 272 N.Y.S. 439, 440.

Statute permitting an award to be set aside for "cause" means for good cause or some such cause as fraud or surprise, Elsenpeter v. Potvin, 213 Minn. 129, 5 N.W.2d 499, 501.

In Civil and Scotch Law
The consideration of a contract, that is, the inducement to it, or motive of the contracting party for entering into it. Dig. 2, 14, 7; Toullier, liv. 3, tit. 3, c. 2, § 4; 1 Abb. 28; Bell, Dict.

The civilians use the term "cause," in relation to obligations, in the same sense as the word “consideration” is used in the jurisprudence of England and the United States. It means the motive, the inducement to the agreement,-id quod inducet ad contrahendum. Mouton v. Noble, 1 La. Ann. 192. But see Ames, 3 Sel. Essays in Anglo – Amer.Leg.Hist. 279; Poll.Contr. 74.

Used also in the civil law in the sense of res (a thing). Non porcellum, non agnellum nec alia causa (not a hog, not a lamb, nor other thing). Du Cange.

In Pleading
Reason; motive; matter of excuse or justification. See S Co. 67; 11 East 451; 1 Chit.Pl. 585.

In Practice
A suit, litigation, or action. Any question, civil or criminal, litigated or contested before a court of justice.

As used in venue statute, “cause” means "cause of action", which means the right which a party has to institute a judicial proceeding. Bergin v. Temple, 111 Mont. 539, 111 P.2d 286, 289, 133 A.L.R. 1115.

Cause imports a judicial proceeding entire, and is nearly synonymous with lis in Latin, or suit in English. "Case" not infrequently has a more limited signification, importing a collection of facts, with the conclusion of law thereon. See Shirts v. Irons, 47 Ind. 445; Erwin v. U. S., D.C. Ga., 37 Fed. 470, 2 L.R.A. 229. But “cause” and “case” are often synonymous. Zilz v. Wilcox, 190 Mich. 486, 157 N.W. 77, 80; Schmaltz v. Arnwine, 118 Or.,300. 246 P. 718, 719; Cheney v. Richards, 130 Me. 288, 155 A. 642, 644.

A distinction is sometimes taken between “cause” and "action." Burrill observes that a cause is not, like an action or suit, said to be commenced, nor is an action, like a cause, said to be tried. But, if there is any substantial difference between these terms, it must lie in the fact that “action” refers more peculiarly to the legal procedure of a controversy ; “cause” to its merits or the state of facts involved. Thus, we cannot say "the cause should have been replevin." Nor would it be correct to say, "the plaintiff pleaded his own action."

As to “Probable Cause” and "Proximate Cause," see those titles. As to challenge "for cause," see "Challenge."

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