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election of remedies

n. an outmoded requirement that if a plaintiff (party filing suit) asks for two remedies based on legal theories which are inconsistent (a judge can grant only one or the other), the plaintiff must decide which one is the most provable and which one he/she really wants to pursue, usually just before the trial begins. Example: suing someone for both breach of contract and for fraud (a secret plan not to fulfill the contract when it was made). Fraud might bring punitive damages, but proof of fraud might be more difficult than of breach of contract. Increasingly, the courts have dispensed with the election of remedies as unfair to the plaintiff since the evidence has not been fully presented.


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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications