Reasonable doubt

Establishing guilt in a criminal action requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It is proof that precludes every reasonable theory except the one consistent with a defendant’s guilt.

Punitive Damages

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A term that, when used in reinsurance agreements, refers to damages awarded by a court against an insurer in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the insurer for willful and wanton misconduct and to serve as a deterrent. When the award is against an insurer, it is usually related to the … Read more

Proximate cause

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Under tort law, one of the requirements a person must establish to get recovery in a civil action based on negligence. The plaintiff must show that an act or omission of the defendant was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s loss or injury. Proximate cause may be taken to mean the primary causes producing injury … Read more


Federal law signed in 1945 in which Congress declared that states would continue to regulate the insurance business. Grants insurers a limited exemption from federal antitrust legislation.


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A final order of a trial court, which gives effect to the decision in the case. Judgment should be distinguished from verdict, which is strictly a finding of fact requiring an appropriate order to make it operational. In a criminal case, the sentence is part of the judgment.


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Financial services legislation, passed by Congress in 1999, that removed Depression-era prohibitions against the combination of commercial banking and investment-banking activities. It allows insurance companies, banks, and securities firms to engage in each others’ activities and own one another.