Litigation Lingo & Acronyms Glossary


LAWSUIT ACRONYMS, LEGAL LINGO, 
LAWYER, JUDGE, and COURT CLERK JARGON 

A/A/O or a/a/o = as assignee of (added to name of plaintiff when plaintiff bought the debt from original creditor or prior assignee of original owner of the promissory note, loan contract, or debt)
A/K/A or a/k/a or aka = also known as; p/k/a = previously known as; n/k/a = now known as 
A/S/I/I or a/s/i/i = as successor in interest (plaintiff is surviving entity after merger and now sues instead of the original creditor) 
A/J = Abstract of Judgment (recorded in county real estate records)
AJ = Agreed Judgment (both parties sign as to form and substance, and waive right to appeal it) 

AG = Attorney General (previously Greg Abbott, who is now Texas Governor, currently Ken Paxton). 

AIC = Amount in controversy (important for jurisdiction purposes and case classification for discovery plan purposes) 

Answer, Original Answer = Defendant's written response to a lawsuit. Also see general denial.

Attorney of record/attorney in charge = Attorney who signed first pleading, or is otherwise designated attorney "in charge". Copies of pleadings and motions filed by the opposing party/attorney must be sent to the attorney in charge. 

ATTY = Attorney, lawyer, sometimes also ATY 
Attorney in Charge = Atty who signed first pleading or is expressly designated attorney in charge under rule 8 in trial court; called Lead Attorney on appeal 

Bench = court or judge
Bench and Bar = judges and attorneys 
Bench trial = trial before the judge with judge deciding all issues of law and fact, distinguished from jury trial in which jury acts as fact finder and renders verdict while judge rules on evidentiary matters and legal issues in the case, and instructs the jury as to their role and specific question to answer based on the evidence presented to them. 
BCFP = Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. New name and acronym for CFPB under Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, who is less committed to consumer protection mission and wants to make a break  with the agency's past.  
BFED = bona fide error defense -- > fair debt collection laws -- > FDCPA 

BOC = Breach of Contract
BOM = Brief on the Merits (filed after Petition for Review in the Texas Supreme Court, if the court requests briefing) 

CA = Customer Agreement 
CFPB = Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, federal consumer watchdog agency for consumer financial services . Acting Director (as of 2018) Mick Mulvaney prefers the moniker Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP)

CIT = Citation (called summons in federal court and in other states). The citations is served on the Defendant together with a copy of original petition to give the Defendant formal notice of the lawsuit. Proof of service is required before plaintiff may obtain a default judgment when defendant does not file an answer or otherwise appear. 

CLE = Continuing Legal Education, also MCLE = mandatory continuing legal education. Requirement for attorneys to keep up with new developments in the law through educational coursework, now often done on-line rather than through live seminars.  

CMA = Card Member Agreement, credit card agreement, also called account agreement 

CM-RRR = Certified Mail - Return Receipt Requested (signed return receipt is also informally called "green card")

COA = Court of Appeals or Cause of Action 
COC = Certificate of Conference (certification about having contacted opposing counsel to determine if a procedural issue can be worked out without court intervention, e.g. discovery dispute, or motion for continuance, trial reset) 

COS = Certificate of Services
CPRC = Civil Practice and Remedies Code 
CR = Clerk's Record (on appeal); RR = Reporter's Record (on appeal), i.e. court reporter's transcript of the proceedings in the trial court (hearing or trial)

CPRC = Civil Practice and Remedies Code 

Dismissal with prejudice means that the action cannot be refiled and is barred.
A dismissal of a suit with prejudice constitutes an adjudication on the merits and operates as if the case has been fully tried and decided. See Ritchey v. Vasquez, 986 S.W.2d 611, 612 (Tex. 1999); Mossler v. Shields, 818 S.W.2d 752, 754 (Tex. 1991); Garrett v. Williams, 250 S.W.3d 154, 160 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2008, no pet.); Hickman v. Adams, 35 S.W.3d 120, 124 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2000, no pet.). Thus, an order dismissing a case with prejudice has full res judicata and collateral estoppel effect, barring subsequent relitigation of the case, causes of action, or issues between the same parties. See Garrett, 250 S.W.3d at 160.
Dismissal without prejudice means that the action may be re-filed, if not time-barred 
A dismissal without prejudice allows a plaintiff to file suit again on the same cause of action. See McConnell v. Attorney Gen. of Tex., 878 S.W.2d 281, 283 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 1994, no writ). 
DBA or D/B/A = doing business as (assumed name used for business, usually be an individual as sole proprietor) 

DEPO = Deposition
DJ = Default Judgment. Judgment entered without the defendant having filed an answer, or defendant having answered but not appeared for trial. Different from SJ = Summary Judgment FJ = Final Judgement (which could be DJ, SJ, or judgment after trial) 
DJA = Declaratory Judgments Act, Chapter 37 of the CPRC, also UDJA = Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act 
DOA = Defendant's Original Answer  
DMSJ = Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment or Defendants' Motion for SJ
DTPA = Deceptive Trade Practices Act (consumer protection act; can sometimes be invoked in conjunction with the TDCA through the latter's tie-in provision).  
DWOJ = Dismissal for Want of Jurisdiction = jurisdictional dismissal, e.g. wrong court, case moot 

DWOP = Dismissal for Want of Prosecution (also verb). May happen when the plaintiff misses a court date, or when the case lingers on the docket for a long time without any activity, and effort to bring it to a conclusion. Collection cases or frequently DWOPPED after a certain amount of time (which differs among courts) when service on the Defendant is unsuccessful or not even attempted. 

DWOPPED = Dismissed for Want of Prosecution
FED, also The Fed = Federal Reserve Bank or Federal Reserve Board 

FDCPA = Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (federal law)

Google Scholar = Free online search engine and repository of research and resources provides text of state and federal appellate court opinions converted into reader-friendly on-line display format. Allows for keyword searches, has hotlinks to cited cases, and feature to identify subsequent history (i.e. citing cases). 
Green Card = card signed by addressee or recipient of certified mail and returned to sender (also Alien Registration Receipt Card in the immigration context)
FJ = Final Judgment 
FOFs = Findings of Facts, Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law (document that can be 
requested after a bench trial in preparation of an appeal; likely necessary if appeal is pursued) 

HBA = Houston Bar Association (local bar, unlike State Bar, a voluntary professional association)

HBJ = Houston Business Journal

HC = Houston Chronicle

Hearing by submission = there will be no hearing; judge will look at what was filed and will decide

Hon. = [the] Honorable [name of judge] 

J = Justice (member of court of appeals) 
JD = Doctor of Law, academic degree needed to become an attorney, but not enough without law license, which requires passing the Bar exam. 

JGMT = Judgment
Laundry list violation = violation of one of a number of specifically enumerated prohibitions or abusive practices in a consumer protection statute such as the DTPA for which a private suit may be brought. See TEX. BUS. & COM. CODE § 17.46(b)(1)–(33). The TDCA also features a list of proscribed practices, albeit a shorter one, which may be actionable as DTPA claims through the tie-in provision of the Act. 

LEXIS-NEXIS = Proprietary subscription-based online database of court opinions and other legal resource materials (not free of charge like Google Scholar) 

MCLE = Mandatory CLE (continuing legal education for lawyers) 
MDJ = Motion for Default Judgment (usually no-answer default judgment when Defendant fails to file answer after being served with citation and original petition) 

MFC = Motion for Continuance (reset or postponement of hearing or trial)
MFE = Motion for Extension (normally, to file brief in appellate court) 
MFR = Motion for Rehearing 

MFS = Motion for Sanctions (based on rule violation, failure to cooperate in discovery process, or misconduct)
MFDJ = Motion for Default Judgment, also MDJ 


MNT = Motion for New Trial, one type of post-judgment motion, also MFNT 
"Mother Hubbard" clause = a clause in a judgment stating that all relief not expressly granted is denied, or essentially those words.

MSJ = Motion for Summary Judgment, sometimes MFSJ or M4SJ (adding character for 'for')

MTC = Motion to Compel (discovery responses)
MTV = Motion to Transfer Venue (move case to other court/county) 
NADJ = No-answer Default Judgment. This is a default judgment caused by a defendant’s failure to answer after being served with citation; distinguished from post-answer default judgment, which may be entered when a defendant has answer on file but did not appear for trial. 
N/K/A or n/k/a = now known as (current name after name change) 
NONSUIT = Voluntary dismissal of case by the party that filed it; done by Notice of Nonsuit or Motion for Nonsuit 
NCSLT = National Collegiate Student Loan Trust (Delaware statutory trust) that bought and securitized private student loans originated 2005-2007 by numerous banks and sues to collect on defaulted student loans. 

NOTE = Promissory Note

NYT = New York Times

OA = Original Answer, response to lawsuit filed to prevent entry of a default judgment, and to assert affirmative defenses, if applicable 
OC or O.C. = Opposing Counsel, the attorney on the other side of the case, attorney of the opponent (opposing party)  
OCC = Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (federal regulator with oversight of banks) 


OC or O.C. = Opposing Counsel

OP = Original Petition (not called Complaint in Texas state courts, Original Complaint is term used in federal court, and that includes United States District Courts sitting in Texas) 
Passing a hearing, to pass a hearing (by movant on movant's motion) 
To "pass" a hearing simply means "to forego" the hearing. Immobiliere Jeuness Estasblissement v. Amegy Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 525 S.W.3d 875, 883 n.7 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2017, no pet.) (internal quotations omitted); see also Pass, BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY (10th ed. 2014) (defining "pass" as "[t]o forgo or proceed beyond"). It is commonly understood that a trial court can pass a hearing, but a party may also pass a hearing, for instance, when a conflict arises, the issue set becomes moot, or simply because the party no longer wishes to pursue the matter set. Immobiliere Jeuness Estasblissement, 525 S.W.3d at 883 n.7.

Pleading vs Motion: Pleadings in a suit are the petition (called complaint in other jurisdictions) and the answer, while a motion is an application requesting a court to make a specified ruling or sign a requested order or judgment. 
PFR = Petition for Review (instrument used to initiate appeal to Texas Supreme Court after intermediate court judgment; first appeal is "perfected" by filing notice of appeal in the trial court) 
PJ MOTION = Postjudgment Motion, of which there are several types: MNT = Motion for New Trial (sometimes MFNT); Motion to Set Aside Default or Vacate Default Judgment; Motion for Reconsideration of Summary Judgment; Motion to reinstate case dismissed for want of prosecution (DWOP) 

PMSJ = Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment 
P/K/A or p/k/a = previously known as (used when there was a name change) 
PRO SE = not represented by attorney, acting as one's own attorney (called "pro per" in some states), unrepresented, self-represented 
QM = Quantum Meruit, a theory of recovery for the value of goods or services where there is no contract 
Restricted Appeal in Texas, appeals from default judgment within six months under Tex. R. App. P. 30; previously known as "writ of error" appeals. Gonzalez v. Guilbot, 315 S.W.3d 533, 537 n.12 (Tex. 2010), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 951 (2011). Legal principles that once applied to writ of error appeals now apply to restricted appeals. See Boyo v. Boyo, 196 S.W.3d 409, 417 n.2 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 2006, no pet.).
RFA = Request(s) for Admissions; RFAs = Requests for Admission (set or battery) 
RFP = Request for Production (of documents or things)
ROG = Interrogatory (Question that must be answered in writing under oath)
ROGs = Interrogatories (questions served upon opposing party that require sworn answers) 
Rule 11 or Rule Eleven Agreement = Agreement by parties/attorneys in lawsuit compliant with 
Rule 11 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure provides: "Unless otherwise provided in these rules, no agreement between attorneys or parties touching any suit pending will be enforced unless it be in writing, signed and filed with the papers as part of the record, or unless it be made in open court and entered of record."
SBN = State Bar Number, also TBN = Texas Bar Number, or SBOT no. 
SBOT = State Bar of Texas
SCOTX = Unofficial acronym for Supreme Court of Texas = Texas Supreme Court; official abbreviation in in citations is Tex. Sup. Ct. or Tex.;   
SCOTUS = Supreme Court of the United States (U.S. Supreme Court)
Service = Service of Process (delivery of citation and copy of original petition to person being sued; most often in person)
SLABS = Student Loan Asset Backed Securities, see -- > National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts 
SP-X = Special Exception (written complaint about defect in opposing party's pleading or motion)
SW3d = South Western Reporter (3rd and most recent set of appellate court opinions published in hundreds of consecutively numbered volumes. This is a regional reporter that includes cases from Texas state courts of appeals, but covers over states also).
TBC = Texas Bar Card
TBJ = Texas Bar Journal (monthly magazine published by the State Bar of Texas and mailed to all Texas attorneys. Official organ for notices, distribution of orders for rule amendments, etc.) 
TBN = Texas Bar Number, also SBN, or SBOT number 
TC = Trial Court 
TCPA = Texas Citizen Participation Act, Tex Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code (CPRC) § 27 or (federal) Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227.
TDCA = Texas Debt Collection Act, Texas Finance Code Chapter 392 (state counterpart to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), with similar provisions but broader in scope; also encompasses original creditors, and has tie-in to Texas DTPA); sometimes referred to as 
TDCPA for Texas Debt Collection Practices Act, in analogy with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The relevant chapter in the Texas Finance Code is simply titled DEBT COLLECTION as is part of TITLE 5. PROTECTION OF CONSUMERS OF FINANCIAL SERVICES.  
TDRPC = Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (attorney disciplinary rules) 
TDTPA = Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (less common acronym for the DTPA)
Tex. = Texas Supreme Court (abbreviation used in citing opinion from the Tex. Sup. Ct.)
Tex. Sup. Ct. = Texas Supreme Court (abbreviation used in some citations; as in Tex. Sup. Ct. J. [Texas Supreme Court Journal])
Tex.App. = Texas Court of Appeals (abbreviation in citations, usually followed by city of relevant court)
Texas AG = Texas Attorney General (currently Ken Paxton, previously Greg Abbott, who is  Governor of the Lone Star State now) 
The Bar = State Bar of Texas (SBOT)
TIL Disclosures = Disclosures of cost-of-credit terms required by federal law (TILA) 
TILA = Truth in Lending Act (a federal consumer protection law)
TIL is used as an adjective to refer to TILA, such as TIL disclosures (disclosures of cost of credit terms lenders are required to make to consumers under the Truth in Lending Act).  
TILDS = Truth–in–Lending disclosure statement (TILDS) or TILA Disclosures 
TL = TEXAS LAWYER (previously weekly, now monthly, legal biz trade magazine published by a private company, not the State Bar of Texas. The latter publishes the Texas Bar Journal as its official organ) 
TNJ = Take Nothing Judgment (judgment denying the plaintiff's claim) 
TRAP = Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure abbreviated Tex. R. App. P. in appellate briefs. 
TRCP = Texas Rules of Civil Procedure abbreviated Tex. R. Civ. P. for citation purposes. 
TRE = Texas Rules of Evidence or Tex. R. Evid. in citations to specific rules 
UETA = Uniform Electronic Transaction Act, commonly referred to as UETA. Texas version at TEX. BUS. & COM. CODE ANN. §§ 322.001–.021
WOG = Writ of Garnishment = Order issued by court or clerk of the court on application by judgment creditor against a bank or other third party to freeze judgment-debtor's bank deposit or other asset held by the bank (called garnishee)  
UDJA = Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act, also DJA, Texas version at CPRC 37 
UPLC = Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee
Westlaw  and WestLaw Next = Proprietary research database containing case law and other legal resources and research materials (subscription required but available for free use in many law libraries) 
WSJ = Wall Street Journal (financial newspaper) 
Your Honor = way to address judge respectfully without using the pronoun "you" 

Date of last update of this glossary of Texas legal abbreviations and acronyms: 5/11/2019 

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