Issue – a material point or question arising out of the pleadings in a case, which is disputed by the parties and which they wish the court to decide

n. (16c)

1. Securities offered for sale at a particular time, either to the public or privately, but a corporation or by government; an officer.  EXAMPLES: corporate stock (a stock issue); municipal bonds (a bond issue).  See and compare private offeringpublic offering.

2. Under the Uniform Commercial Code, the first delivery of a negotiable instrument to anyone by its maker or drawer for the purpose of giving rights in the instrument.

3. A material point or question arising out of the pleadings in a case, which is disputed by the parties and which they wish the court to decide.  See and compare issue of factissue of law. See also at issuejoinder of Issue.

4. All persons who are descendants of one ancestor, including all future descendants.  However, when used in a will, “issue” will be taken to mean children or grandchildren, or all living descendants, if that is the testator’s clear intention. “Issue” may or may not include adopted children, depending upon state law.


1. To come from; to come out; to come out of; to put out; to bring out; to distribute; to give out. USAGE: “the corporation will issue stock tomorrow”; “he requested that the court issue its decision.” [1]

1. A point in dispute between two or more parties.  *  In an appeal, an issue may take the form of a separate and discrete question of law or fact, or a combination of both. [2]

     Excerpt from C.J.S.’s Federal Civil Procedure § 357, at 541 (1960):

     “In federal civil procedure, an issue is a single, certain, and material point arising out of the allegations and contentions of the parties; it is matter affirmed on one side and denied on the other, and when a fact is alleged in the complaint and denied in the answer, the matter is then put in issue between the parties. [3]

collateral issue:

1. A question or issue not directly connected with the matter in dispute.

surface issue:

1. A superficially stated issue phrased in a single sentence, without many facts, and usually beginning with the word whether.  Cf. deep issue.

deep issue:

1. The fundamental issue to be decided by a court in ruling on a point of law.  *  A deep issue is usually briefly phrased in separate sentences, with facts interwoven (in chronological order) to show precisely what problem is to be addressed.  Cf. surface issue. [2]

     Excerpt from Bryan A. Garner’s The Winning Brief 56 (2d ed. 2004):

     “Essentially, a deep issue is the ultimate, concrete question that a court needs to answer to decide a point your way.  Deep refers to the deep structure of the case -not to deep thinking.  The deep issue is the final question you pose when you can no longer usefully ask the follow-up question, ‘And what does that turn on?’ [4]

general issue:

l. A plea (often a general denial) by which a party denies the truth of every material allegation in an opposing party’s pleading.

2. The issue arising from such a plea. [2]

     Excerpt from Benjamin J. Shipman’s Handbook of Common-Law Pleading (Henry Winthrop Ballantine ed., 3d ed. 1923):

     “The general issue is a denial of the legal conclusion sought to be drawn from the declaration. It denies by a general form of expression the defendant’s liability, and enables the defendant to contest, without specific averments of the defense to be asserted, most of the allegations which the plaintiff may be required to prove to sustain his action, and in some actions to raise also various affirmative defenses. it fails to perform the functions of pleading, either in giving notice or in reducing the case to specific issues. [5]

immaterial issue:

1. An issue not necessary to decide the point of law.  

material issue:

1. An issue that must be decided in order to resolve a controversy.  *  The existence of a material issue of disputed fact precludes summary judgment. 

informal issue:

1. Rare. An issue that arises when a defendant does not properly or fully plead in answer to a material allegation.

issue of fact:

1. A point supported by one party’s evidence and controverted by another’s. — aka fact issue; question of fact; factual issue.

Issue of Law – a point on which the evidence is undisputed, however the parties disagree on the the law’s interpretation of the particular issue, and therefore they must rely on the court’s discretion.

legal issue:

l. A legal question, usu. at the foundation of a case and requiring a court’s decision; QUESTION or LAW (1). — aka issue of law; question of law.

2. See issue of law.

question of law:

1. An issue to be decided by the judge, concerning the application or inter relation of the law <a jury cannot decide questions of law, which are reserved for the court>.  See legal issue under ISSUE (1). 

multifarious issue:

1. An issue that inquires about several different points (esp. facts) when each one should be inquired about in a separate issue.

rights issue:

1. See rights offering under OFFERING.

rights offering:

1. An issue of stock-purchase rights allowing shareholders to buy newly issued stock at a fixed price, usually below market value, and in proportion to the number of shares they already own. — aka privileged subscriptionrights issuescrip issue.

special issue:

1. At common law, an issue arising from a specific allegation in a pleading.  *  Special issues are no longer used in most jurisdictions.

2. See special interrogatory under INTERROGATORY.

special interrogatory:

1. A written jury question whose answer is required to supplement a general verdict.  *  This term is not properly used in federal practice, which authorizes interrogatories and special verdicts, but not special interrogatories. Fed. R. Civ. P. 49.  The term is properly used, however, in the courts of some states. — aka special issue.

ultimate issue:

1. A not yet decided point that is sufficient either in itself or in connection with other points to resolve the entire case. — aka ultimate question.

2. Securities. A class or series of securities that are simultaneously offered for sale. — aka bond issue, stock issue.  See OFFERING.

bonus stock issue:

1. An issue of free shares to existing members of a corporation.  *  The power to issue these shares is normally granted in the corporate charter or constitution.

b hot issue. (1962) A security that, after an initial or secondary offering, is traded in the open market at a sub« stantially higher price. -Also termed hot stock.

> new issue. A stock or bond sold by a corporation for the

first time, often to raise working capital. See BLUE-SKY LAW.

b original issue. The first issue of securities of a particular type or series.

> shelf issue. (1985) An issue of securities that were previously registered but not released at the time of registration.

3. Wills e6» estates. Lineal descendants; offspring.

r issue female. (16c) 1. Female descendants. 2. A female whose descent from a specified ancestor is traceable through the direct female line. See tail female under


> issue male. (16C) 1. Male descendants. 2. A male whose descent from a specified ancestor is traceable through the direct male line. See tail male under TAIL.

> lawful issue. (16c) Descendants, including descendants more remote than children. 0 At common law, the term included only those who were children of legally recognized subsisting marriages. See DESCENDANT; HEIR.

4. Commercial law. The first delivery of a negotiable instrument by its maker or holder.

issue, vb. (14c) 1. To accrue <rents issuing from land> 2. To be put forth oflicially <without probable cause, the search warrant will not issue> 3. To send out or distribute officially <issue process> <issue stock>. ~issuance, n.


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[1]: 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.

[2] Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[3]: 35A C.J.S. Federal Civil Procedure § 357, at 541 (1960)

[4]: Bryan A. Garner, The Winning Brief 56 (2d ed. 2004).

[5]: Benjamin J. Shipman, Handbook of Common-Law Pleading § 169, at 304 (Henry Winthrop Ballantine ed., 3d ed. 1923).


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