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1. in a judicial proceeding, a litigant (plaintiff or defendant); a person directly interested in the subject matter of a case; one who would assert a claim, make a defense, control proceedings, examine witnesses or appeal from the judgment.

2. a person or entity that enters into a contract, lease, deed, etc.

AGGRIEVED PARTY: see aggrieved party
INDISPENSABLE PARTY: one whose involvement in the subject matter of a controversy is such that his or her interest will be affected, or adjudication of the issues as well as the fashioning of an effective remedy. A suit cannot in equity and good conscience proceed without one who is regarded as an indispensable party.
EXAMPLE: Ball Corporation is the largest maker of a chemically based ceiling tile, although other smaller companies also produce the product. The tiles were installed in school buildings, and the chemical in them has had an adverse effect on the children. it could not be determined which company's tiles had been used, but only the smaller companies are named in a suit by the children. Ball is never mentioned. The other companies want Ball named as an indispensable party because, by numbers alone, it is most likely that Ball's tiles were used in schools. Ball also wants to be named because it fears that a judgment against the other companies will be used against it, even thoug hit did not have an opportunity to participate in the litigation, and because otherwise a favorable outcome for the other companies would not prevent Ball from being sued later for the same thing.
NECESSARY PARTY: one whose interests will be affected by the suit or without whom complete relief cannot be granted, but who will not be joined if doing so would deprive the court of jurisdiction in the case.
NOMINAL PARTY: party appearing on the record not because he or she has any real interest in the case, but because technical rules of pleading require his or her presence in the record.
POLITICAL PARTY: a group of people united in pursuit of common political goals, specifically including the election of their members to public office.
PREVAILING PARTY: see prevailing party
PROPER PARTY: one who has an interest in the subject matter of the litigation, but without whom a substantial decree may nevertheless issue, though such decree will not settle all questions in the controversy with respect to such party.
REAL PARTY IN INTEREST: see real party in interest.
SECONDARY PARTY: see secondary party.
THIRD PARTY: someone other than the parties directly involved in the action or transaction; an outsider with no legal interest in the matter.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; ©
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