Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 1 decade ago

Does the order of the names in a case like Smith v. Jones matter? Does it mean Smith is suing Jones?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes, the order always matters. The first name is the person bringing the action and the second name is the person the action is being brought against.

    If, as in the example by the answer before me, you see "The State of New York" v. Peter P. Paul then the state would be the State of Ne2w York or the People bringing action against Peter P. Paul for what ever reason. In criminal cases they would later in briefs be referred to as the prosecution (State of New York) and defendant (Paul).

    The name after the v. is always the defendant and he is, as the word indicates, defending himself from some type of allegation made by the name or person in front of the v. An other word for the person in front of the v. is Plaintiff used mostly in civil cases.

    So, Richard G. Guetz v. Peter Paul Smith would, somewhere in the brief read, the plaintiff (Guetz) is suing the defendant (Smith) for....

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  • 1 decade ago

    yes. It means Jones is the defendant and Smith is the prosecution.

    You might also see: The State of New Jersey v. Jones if the state takes up the case against Jones, for example.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Almost always the plaintiff will be the first party and the defendant will be the second party listed when at the trial level. However if you're reading an appeals court (Circuit Court, Supreme Court of the US, Supreme Court of almost every state (not New York) or another appeals case it may change. If it's a federal case it will not change the order, however the order will change in PA, NJ and MD from what I remember. In that case generally the Appellant will be the first name listed.

    Source(s): I've read too many cases
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  • WC
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Yes, Smith is suing, and Jones is the defendent.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, the first party name is the Plaintiff, or Complainant, also sometimes known as the Petitioner -- it depends on the type of complaint and the location, but that first name is the person who initiated the action. The second name would be the Defendant, or the Respondent.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes Smith is the good guy and Jones is the bad guy...

    But I mean "innocent until proven guilty" so who knows if Jones is a bad guy haha

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  • 1 decade ago

    Agreed with Potato.

    Almost always the first name (entity) appearing is the one who initiated the action. Usually this is the prosecutor, plaintiff, or petitioner (it would be the appellant in an appeals case).

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