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quantum meruit
(kwahn-tuhm mare-ooh-it) n. Latin for "as much as he deserved," the actual value of services performed. Quantum meruit determines the amount to be paid for services when no contract exists or when there is doubt as to the amount due for the work performed but done under circumstances when payment could be expected. This may include a physician's emergency aid, legal work when there was no contract, or evaluating the amount due when outside forces cause a job to be terminated unexpectedly. If a person sues for payment for services in such circumstances the judge or jury will calculate the amount due based on time and usual rate of pay or the customary charge, based on quantum meruit by implying a contract existed.

quash
v. to annul or set aside. In law, a motion to quash asks the judge for an order setting aside or nullifying an action, such as "quashing" service of a summons when the wrong person was served.

quasi
(kway-zeye, kwah-zee) adj., adv. from Latin for "as if," almost, somewhat, to a degree (always used in combination with another word). Quasi refers to things and actions which are not exactly or fully what they might appear, but have to be treated "as if" they were.

quasi contract
n. a situation in which there is an obligation as if there was a contract, although the technical requirements of a contract have not been fulfilled.

quasi corporation
n. a business which has operated as a corporation without completing the legal requirements, often in the period just before formal incorporation.

quasi in rem
adj. referring to a legal action which is primarily based on property rights, but includes personal rights as well.

quasi-criminal
adj. a reference to a court's right to punish for actions or omissions as if they were criminal. The most common example is finding a parent who is delinquent in child support in contempt of court and penalizing him/her with a jail sentence. If a hearing is quasi-criminal the quasi-defendant is entitled to all due process protections afforded a criminal defendant.

quasi-judicial
adj., adv. referring to the actions of an agency, boards or other government entity in which there are hearings, orders, judgments or other activities similar to those conducted by courts.

queen's bench
n. 1) the highest court in Great Britain during the reign of a Queen, so that opinions are identified as a volume of Queen's Bench (QB).

query
n. common lawyer lingo for a question to be answered.

question of fact
n. in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution, an issue of fact in which the truth or falsity (or a mix of the two) must be determined by the "trier of fact" (the jury or the judge in a non-jury trial) in order to reach a decision in the case. A "question of fact" may also be raised in a motion for summary judgment which asks the court to determine whether there are any questions of fact to be tried, allowing the judge to rule on the case (usually to dismiss the complaint) at that point without a trial. "Questions of fact" are distinguished from "questions of law," which can only be decided by the judge.

question of law
n. an issue arising in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution which only relates to determination of what the law is, how it is applied to the facts in the case, and other purely legal points in contention. All "questions of law" arising before, during and sometimes after a trial are to be determined solely by the judge and not by the jury. "Questions of law" are differentiated from "questions of fact," which are decided by the jury and only by the judge if there is no jury.

qui tam action
(kwee tam) n. from Latin for "who as well," a lawsuit brought by a private citizen (popularly called a "whistle blower") against a person or company who is believed to have violated the law in the performance of a contract with the government or in violation of a government regulation, when there is a statute which provides for a penalty for such violations. Qui tam suits are brought for "the government as well as the plaintiff." In a qui tam action the plaintiff (the person bringing the suit) will be entitled to a percentage of the recovery of the penalty (which may include large amounts for breach of contract) as a reward for exposing the wrongdoing and recovering funds for the government.

quid pro quo
(kwid proh kwoh) n. Latin for "something for something," to identify what each party to an agreement expects from the other, sometimes called mutual consideration. Example of its use: "What is the quid pro quo for my entering into this deal?"

quiet enjoyment
n. the right to enjoy and use premises (particularly a residence) in peace and without interference. Quiet enjoyment is often a condition included in a lease. Thus, if the landlord interferes with quiet enjoyment, he/she may be sued for breach of contract. Disturbance of quiet enjoyment by another can be a "nuisance" for which a lawsuit may be brought to halt the interference or obtain damages for it.

quiet title action
n. a lawsuit to establish a party's title to real property against anyone and everyone, and thus "quiet" any challenges or claims to the title. Such a suit usually arises when there is some question about clear title, there exists some recorded problem (such as an old lease or failure to clear title after payment of a mortgage), an error in description which casts doubt on the amount of property owned, or an easement used for years without a recorded description. An action for quiet title requires description of the property to be "quieted," naming as defendants anyone who might have an interest (including descendants-known or unknown- of prior owners), and the factual and legal basis for the claim of title. Notice must be given to all potentially interested parties, including known and unknown, by publication. If the court is convinced title is in the plaintiff (the plaintiff owns the title), a quiet title judgment will be granted which can be recorded and thus provide legal "good title." Quiet title actions are a common example of "friendly" lawsuits in which often there is no opposition.

quit
v. to leave, used in a written notice to a tenant to leave the premises (notice to quit).

quitclaim deed
n. a real property deed which transfers (conveys) only that interest in the property in which the grantor has title. Commonly used in transfers of title or interests in title, quitclaims are often made to family members, divorcing spouses, or in other transactions between people well-known to each other. Quitclaim deeds are also used to clear up questions of full title when a person has a possible but unknown interest in the property. Grant deeds and warranty deeds guarantee (warrant) that the grantor has full title to the property or the interest the deed states is being conveyed, but quitclaim deeds do not warrant good title.

quo warranto
(kwoh wahr-rahn-toe) n. the name for a writ (order) used to challenge another's right to either public or corporate office or challenge the legality of a corporation to its charter (articles).

quorum
n. the number of people required to be present before a meeting can conduct business. Unless stated differently in bylaws, articles, regulations or other rules established by the organization, a quorum is usually a majority of members. A quorum for meetings of corporate boards of directors, homeowners' associations, clubs and shareholders meetings are usually set in the bylaws. The quorum for meetings of governmental bodies such as commissions and boards are usually set by statute.

quotient verdict
n. an award of money damages set by a jury in a lawsuit in which each juror states in writing his/her opinion of what the amount should be. Then the amounts are totalled and divided by the number of jurors to reach a figure for the award. A quotient verdict is illegal and improper since it is based on guesses and not a rational discussion of the facts. Such a judgment will be set aside on a motion for a new trial and a mistrial will be declared by the judge.



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