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

    A claim presented by a defendant in opposition to or deduction from the claim of the plaintiff. A species of set-off or recoupment Introduced by the codes of civll procedure in several of the states, of a broad and liberal character. A counter-claim must be one "existing in favor of a defendant and against a plaintiff between whom a several judgment might be had in the action, and arising out of one of the following causes of action;
    (1) A cause of action arising out of the contract or transaction set forth in the complaint as the foundation of the plaintiff's claim, or connected with the subject of action;
    (2) in an action arising on contract, any other cause of action arising also on contract, and existing at the commencement of the action." Code Proc. N. Y. ยง 150. The term "counter-claim," of itself, imports a claim opposed to, or which qualifies, or at least in some degree affects, the plaintiff's cause of action. Dietrich v. Koch, 35 Wis. 626. A counter-claim is an opposition claim, or demand of something due ; a demand of something which of right belongs to the defendant, in opposition to the right of the plaintiff. Silliman v. Eddy, 8 How. Prae. (N. Y.) 122. A counter-claim is that which might have arisen out of, or could have bad some connection with, the original transaction, in view of the parties, and which, at the time the contract was made, they conid have intended might, in some event, give one party a claim against the other for compliance or non-compliance with its provisions. Conner v. Winton, 7 Ind. 523, 524.