Action at Law – an action where the only relief obtainable, appropriate, or sought is a legal remedy (a money judgment to recover damages)

action at law:

1. A civil suit stating a legal cause of action and seeking only a legal remedy. [1]

1. An action prosecuted in a law court, as distinguished from a suit in equity.  An action, the purpose of which is the recovery of the sum of money or damages, or an action where the only relief obtainable or appropriate is a money judgment for damages.  Royal indem. Co. v Sangor, 166 Wis 148, 164 NW 821, 9 ALR 397.
     Notwithstanding the abolition of the distinction between actions at law and suits in equity, it is still important to determine whether the case is at law or in equity.  The method of review, the right to a jury trial, etc. may depend upon whether the case is to be regarded as a law or in equity.  1 Am J2d Actions § 7. [2]

1. A lawsuit brought in a court of law as opposed to a  court of equity. [3]

legal remedy:

1. A remedy historically available in a court of law, as distinguished from a remedy historically available only in equity.  *  After the merger of law and equity, this distinction remained relevant in some ways, such as in determining the right to jury trial and the choice between alternate remedies. [1]

1. A remedy available through legal action. [3]


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.


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