Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    A formal charge or accusation; a pleading corresponding to a common-law declaration; a bill in equity; a libel in admiralty. See 63 Kan. 610, 66 Pac. 641.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In civil practice. In those states having a Code of Civil Procedure, the complaint is the first or initiatory pleading on the part of the plaintiff in a civll action. It corresponds to the declaration in the common-law practice. Code N. Y. § 141; Sharon v. Sharon, 67 Cal. 185, 7 Pac. 456; Railroad Co., v. Young, 154 Ind. 24, 55 N. E. 853; McMath v. Parsons, 26 Minn. 246, 2 N. W. 703. The complaint shall contain:
    (1) The title of the cause, specifying the name or the court in which the action is brought, the name of the county in which the trial is reauired to be had, and the names of the parties to the action, plaintiff and defendant.
    (2) A plain and concise statement of the facts constituting a cause of action, without unnecessary repetition ; and each material allegation shall be distinctly numbered.
    (3) A demand of the relief to which the plnintiff supposes himself entitled. If the recovery of money be demanded, the amount thereof must be stated. N. C. 1883, § 233.
    —Cross-complaint. In code practice. Whenever the defendant seeks affirmative relief against any party, relating to or depending upon the contract or transaction upon which the action is brought, or affecting the property to which the action relates, he may, in addition to his answer, file at the same time, or by permission of the court subsequently, a cross-complaint. The cross-complaint must be served upon the parties affected thereby, and such parlies may demur or answer thereto as to the original complaint. Code Civ. Proc. Cal. § 442; Stand-ley v. Insurance Co., 95 Ind. 254; Harrison v. McCormick, 69 Cal. 616, 11 Pac. 456; Bank v. Ridpath, 29 Wash 687, 70 Pac. 139. In criminal law. A charge, preferred before a magistrate having jurisdiction, that a person named (or an unknown person) has committed a specified offense, with an offer to prove the fact, to the end that a prosecution may be instituted. It is a technical term, descriptive of proceedings before a magistrate. Hobbs v. Hill, 157 Mass. 556, 32 N. E. 862; Co.m. v. Davie, 11 Pick. (Mass.) 436; U. S. v. Co.llins (D. C.) 79 Fed. 66; Sinte v. Dodge Co.., 20 Neb. 595, 31 N. W. 117. The complaint is an allegation, made before a proper magistrate, that a person bas been guilty of a designated public offense. Code Ala. 1886, §4255.