Abatement of an Action (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
An entire overthrow or destruction of a suit so that it is quashed and ended.
The purpose of abatement is to save the time and expense of a trial when the plaintiff's suit cannot be maintained in the form originally presented. After an action abates, the plaintiff is ordinarily given an opportunity to correct errors in his or her PLEADING. If the plaintiff still is unable to allege the facts necessary to state a legal CAUSE OF ACTION, then the action is terminated.
Not every possible reason for dissatisfaction with another person can be heard by a court. When the old COMMON LAW form of action governed the procedure followed by courts (as opposed to state and federal rules of procedure, which now do), only legal wrongs that fit exactly into one of the allowed categories could be pleaded in court. If the defendant believed that the plaintiff's complaint did not fit one of these forms, the defendant could respond with a plea in abatement. A plea in abatement was called a dilatory plea because it delayed the time when the court would reach the merits of the plaintiff's claim, if ever.
The rigid formality of common law pleading became less satisfactory as legal disputes became more complicated. It has been replaced in...
(The entire section is 682 words.)
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