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ultimate fact
n. in a trial, a conclusion of fact which is logically deduced from evidence ("evidentiary facts"). Example: the evidentiary facts were that driver Nitin Singh a) exceeded the speed limit, b) drove over the double-line, c) skidded and lost control of his car; the ultimate fact was, therefore, Nitin was negligent. It is essential to introduce the evidentiary facts during the trial in order to prove the ultimate fact. A mere statement by a witness that "Nitin was negligent" is not sufficient, since it is an opinion of the witness and is not evidence.

ultra vires
(uhl-trah veye-rehz) adj. Latin for "beyond powers," in the law of corporations, referring to acts of a corporation and/or its officers outside the powers and/or authority allowed a corporation by law. Example: Directors of ABC Corporation, operate a small bank for its employees and friends, which corporate law does not permit without a bank charter, or sells shares of stock to the public before a permit is issued.

ultrahazardous activity
n. an action or process which is so inherently dangerous that the person or entity conducting the activity is "strictly liable" for any injury caused by the activity. Examples: working with high explosives or conducting a professional auto race on public streets.

unclean hands
n. a legal doctrine which is a defense to a complaint, which states that a party who is asking for a judgment cannot have the help of the court if he/she has done anything unethical in relation to the subject of the lawsuit. Thus, if a defendant can show the plaintiff had "unclean hands," the plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed or the plaintiff will be denied judgment. Unclean hands is a common "affirmative defense" pleaded by defendants and must be proved by the defendant. Example: Rakesh Sharma sues Ajay Rathore for breach of contract for failure to pay the full amount for construction of an addition to his house. Ajay proves that Rakesh had shown him faked estimates from subcontractors to justify his original bid to Ajay.

unconscionable
adj. referring to a contract or bargain which is so unfair to a party that no reasonable or informed person would agree to it. In a suit for breach of contract, a court will not enforce an unconscionable contract (award damages or order specific performance) against the person unfairly treated, on the theory that he/she was misled, lacked information or signed under duress or misunderstanding. It is similar to an "adhesion contract," in which one party has taken advantage of a person dealing from weakness.

unconstitutional
adj. referring to a statute, governmental conduct, court decision or private which violate one or more provisions of the Constitution.

under the influence
n. one of many phrases for being drunk on alcoholic beverages or high on drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. Driving a vehicle when "under the influence" of alcohol or drugs is a crime, as is "public drunkenness."

underwrite
v. 1) to agree to pay an obligation which may arise from an insurance policy. 2) to guarantee purchase of all shares of stock or bonds being issued by a corporation, including an agreement to purchase by the underwriter if the public does not buy all the shares or bonds. 3) to guarantee by investment in a business or project

underwriter
n. a company or person which/who underwrites an insurance policy, issue of corporate securities, business or project.

undisclosed principal
n. a person who uses an agent for his/her negotiations with a third party, often when the agent pretends to be acting for himself/herself. As a result, the third party does not know he/she can look to the real principal in any dispute.

undivided interest
n. title to real property held by two or more persons without specifying the interests of each party by percentage or description of a portion of the real estate. Such interests are typical between joint tenants, tenants in common and tenants by the entirety.

undue influence
n. the amount of pressure which one uses to force someone to execute a will leaving assets in a particular way, to make a direct gift while alive or to sign a contract. The key element is that the influence was so great that the testator (will writer), donor (gift giver) or party to the contract had lost the ability to exercise his/her judgment and could not refuse to give in to the pressure. Evidence of such dominance of another's mind may result in invalidation of the will, gift or contract by a court if the will, gift or contract is challenged. Participation in preparation of the will, excluding other relatives being present when the testator and the attorney meet, are all evidence of undue pressure, and an imbalance or change in language which greatly favors the person exercising the influence is a factor in finding undue influence. Example: Paul Cherian constantly visits his aunt Anita George while she is ill and always urges her to leave her mansion to him instead of to her son. Paul threatens to stop visiting the old lady, who is very lonely, tells her she is ungrateful for his attention, finally brings over an attorney who does not know Anita and is present while she tells the attorney to write a new will in favor of Paul.

unfair competition
n. wrongful and/or fraudulent business methods to gain an unfair advantage over competitors, including: a) untrue or misleading advertising, b) misleading customers by imitative trademark, name or package, c) falsely disparaging another's product. Unfair competition is the basis for a legal action (suit) for damages and/or an injunction to halt the deceptive practices against an unfair competitor if the practices tend to harm one's business.

uniform commercial code
n. a set of statutes governing the conduct of business, sales, warranties, negotiable instruments, loans secured by personal property and other commercial matters, which has been adopted with minor variations.

unilateral contract
n. an agreement to pay in exchange for performance, if the potential performer chooses to act. A "unilateral" contract is distinguished from a "bilateral" contract, which is an exchange of one promise for another.

uninsured motorist clause
n. the clause in a policy of insurance on an automobile which provides that if the owner (or a passenger) of the automobile is injured by a negligent driver of another vehicle who does not have liability insurance, then the insurance company will pay its insured's actual damages.

unissued stock
n. a corporation's shares of stock which are authorized by its articles of incorporation but have never been issued (sold) to anyone. They differ from "treasury stock," which is stock that was issued and then reacquired by the corporation.

unjust enrichment
n. a benefit by chance, mistake or another's misfortune for which the one enriched has not paid or worked and morally and ethically should not keep. If the money or property received rightly should have been delivered or belonged to another, then the party enriched must make restitution to the rightful owner. Usually a court will order such restitution if a lawsuit is brought by the party who should have the money or property.

unlawful
adj. referring to any action which is in violation of a statute or constitution, or established legal precedents

unlawful assembly
n. the act of assembling for the purpose of starting a riot or breaching the peace or when such an assembly reasonably could be expected to cause a riot or endanger the public.

unlawful detainer
n. 1) keeping possession of real property without a right, such as after a lease has expired, after being served with a notice to quit (vacate, leave) for non-payment of rent or other breach of lease, or being a "squatter" on the property. Such possession entitles the owner to file a lawsuit for "unlawful detainer," asking for possession by court order, unpaid rent and damages. 2) a legal action to evict a tenant or other occupier of real property in possession, without a legal right, to declare a breach of lease, and/or a judgment for repossession, as well as unpaid rent and other damages. Such lawsuits have priority over most legal cases and therefore will be calendared for trial promptly.

unreasonable search and seizure
n. search of an individual or his/her premises (including an automobile) and/or seizure of evidence found in such a search by a law enforcement officer without a search warrant and without "probable cause" to believe evidence of a crime is present.

use
n. the right to enjoy the benefits of real property or personal property (but primarily used in reference to real property), whether the owner of the right has ownership of title or not. Under English common law "use" of property became extremely important since title to real property could not be conveyed outside a family line due to "restraints on alienation," so "use" of the property was transferred instead. This is a simplification of the way "uses" were employed, but today it is only of academic interest.

usurious
adj. referring to the interest on a debt which exceeds the maximum interest rate allowed by law.

usury
n. a rate of interest on a debt which is exorbitant and in excess of the percentage allowed by law. Courts will not enforce payment of interest on a loan if the rate is usurious, so a loan may result in being interest free. Charging usury as a practice is a crime, usually only charged if a person makes a business of usury, sometimes called "loan-sharking."

utter
v. 1) to issue a forged document. 2) to speak.

uxor
n. Latin for "wife." In deeds and documents the term "et ux." is sometimes used to mean "and wife," stemming from a time when a wife was a mere legal appendage of a man and not worthy of being named.



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