Civil Rights Act of 1964
Federal legislation designed to end discrimination based on religion, color, race or national origin. This law guarantees the right of access to education, public facilities and public accommodations, such as restaurants and hotels. It also prohibits discrimination in employment.
class action
A lawsuit in which a large number of people with similar legal claims join together in a group (the class) to sue someone, usually a company or organization. Common class actions involve cases in which a product has injured many people, or in which a group of people has suffered discrimination at the hands of an organization.
cleaning fee
A nonrefundable fee charged by a landlord when a tenant moves in. The fee covers the cost of cleaning the rented premises after you move out, even if you leave the place spotless. Cleaning fees are illegal in some states and specifically allowed in others, but most state laws are silent on the issue. Landlords in every state are allowed to use the security deposit to clean a unit that is truly dirty.
clear and present danger
Speech that poses a "clear and present danger" to the public or government will not be protected under the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. The classic example is that shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre is not protected speech.
close corporation
A corporation owned and operated by a few individuals, often members of the same family, rather than by public shareholders. State laws permit close corporations to function more informally than regular corporations. For example, shareholders can make decisions without holding meetings of the board of directors, and can fill vacancies on the board without a vote of the shareholders.
closing argument
At trial, a speech made by each party after all the evidence has been presented. The purpose is to review the testimony and evidence presented during the trial as part of forcefully explaining why your side should win. Especially in trials before a judge without a jury, it is common for both parties to waive their closing argument on the theory that the judge has almost surely already arrived at her decision.
Two or more tenants who rent the same property under the same lease or rental agreement. Each co-tenant is 100% responsible for carrying out the rental agreement, which includes paying the entire rent if the other tenant skips town and paying for damage caused by the other tenant.
A supplement or addition to a will. A codicil may explain, modify, add to, subtract from, qualify, alter or revoke existing provisions in a will. Because a codicil changes a will, it must be signed in front of witnesses, just like a will.
Property that guarantees payment of a secured debt.
collateral estoppel
See estoppel.
collection agency
A company hired by a creditor to collect a debt that it is owed. Creditors typically hire a collection agency only after they have made efforts to collect the debt themselves, typically through letters (called "dunning" letters) and telephone calls. Collection agencies are regulated by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Unfortunately, too many collectors ignore this law.
collective mark
A name, symbol or other device used by members of a group or organization to identify goods or services it provides. For example, the letters ILGWU on a shirt label signify that the shirt was made by a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
collective work
For copyright purposes, a work, such as a periodical, anthology or encyclopedia, in which a number of separate and independent works are assembled into one work. To create a collective work, permission must be obtained from the owners of the copyrights of the constituent parts (assuming such parts are not already in the public domain). Although the author of the compilation may not own the copyright to any of the individual parts, the creativity involved in selecting and organizing the constituent materials is in itself protected by copyright.
collision damage waiver
See loss damage waiver.
collision insurance coverage
A component of car insurance that pays for damages to the insured vehicle that result from a collision with another vehicle or object. Collision insurance generally covers the amount of damage over and above an amount the insured person must pay, called the "deductible" amount.