COUNTERCLAIM - Black's Law Dictionary

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

A claim presented by a defendant in opposition to or deduction from  the claim of the  plaintiff. A species of setoff or recoupment introduced by the codes of civil  procedure  in many  of the states,  of a broad  and liberal  character. Quoted in Wollan v. McKay, 24Idaho, 691, 135 P. 832, 837.

It is an offensive as well as a defensive plea,  which is not necessarily confined  to the justice of plaintiff's  claim, and it represents the right  of the defendant to have the claims of the parties counterbalanced in whole or in part, with judgment to be entered  for the excess,  if any. Olsen v. McMaken & Pentzien, 139 Neb. 506, 297 N.W. 830, 833.

Its sole requisites  are that it must tend to defeat or diminish  plaintiff's  demand,  and that demands must be  reciprocal. Bond v. Farmers & Merchants Nat.  Bank, Los Angeles, 64 Cal.App.2d 842, 149 P.2d 722, 724; Dobbins v. Horsfall, 58 Cal. App.2d 23, 136 P.2d 35, 38.

It is in effect  a new suit in which  the party  named as defendant under the bill is plaintiff and the party named as plaintiff  under the bill is defendant. Roberts  Min. & Mill. Co. v. Schrader, C.C.A.Nev., 95 F.2d 522, 524.

The term is broader  in meaning  than set off or recoupment, and includes  them both. Williams  v. Williams,  192 N.C. 405, 135 S.E. 39, 40; Fricke v. W. E. Fuetterer Battery & Supplies Co., 220 Mo.App. 623, 288 S.W. 1000, 1002; Curtis-Warner Corporation v. Thirkettle, 99 N.J.Eq. 806, 134 A. 299, 302; Otto v. Lincoln Sa y . Bank of Brooklyn, 51 N.Y.S.2d 561, 563, 268 App.Div. 400; 'Etna Life Ins. Co. v. Griffin, 200 N.C. 251, 156 S.E. 515, 516.

The  counterclaim is a substitute for the crossbill in equity. McAnarney v. Lembeck, 97 N.J.Eq. 361, 127 A. 197, 198; Vidal v. South American Securities Co., C.C.A.N.Y., 276 F. 855. It is but another name for a crosspetition, and may be so styled, especially in actions prosecuted  by equitable proceedings.  Taylor v. Wilson, 182 Ky. 592, 206 S.W. 865, 866; Clark v. Duncanson, 79 OkI. 180, 192 P. 806, 809, 16 A.L.R. 450.

Under  rule 30 of Federal  rules in equity  see Fed.Rules Civ.Proc. rules 8, 13, 28 U.S.C.A., "counterclaim" means any claim,  not such as to constitute a set-off,  which,  in equity, a defendant might  assert  against the plaintiff in the same  suit. Terry  Steam  Turbine Co.  v. B. F. Sturtevant Co., D.C.Mass., 204 F. 103, 105.

A counterclaim may be any cause  of action  in favor of defendants or some of them against  plaintiffs or some of them, a person  whom  a plaintiff  represents or a plaintiff and another person  or persons alleged  to be liable. New York Civ.Prac.Act, § 266.

A "counterclaim" must be a cause of action,  and seeks affirmative  relief, while a defense merely defeats the plaintiff's cause of action by a denial or confession and avoidance, and does not admit of affirmative relief to the defendant. Lovett v. Lovett, 93 Fla. 611, 112 So. 768, 780; Secor v. Siver, 165 Iowa, 673, 146 N.W. 845, 847.


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