Is there any difference between beig called " respondent " and " defendant " on a small claims suit?

Asked over 2 years ago - Fort Lauderdale, FL

When an attorney mails a letter about a pleading on a small claims and calls the defendant " respondent " is that usual?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Barbara Billiot Stage


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree


    Best Answer
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    Answered . Not really. Generally a petitioner or respondent is the terminology used for a "petition" such as a petition for receivership, petition for dissolution of marriage, or administrative proceedings. A plaintiff and defendant designation are used for most civil actions and the lawsuit is called a Complaint rather than a Petition.

    This communication is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is always recommended you consult... more
  2. Stuart M. Address


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyer agrees


    Answered . The words defendant and respondent are often used as synonyms. It is similar for Plaintiff and Petitioner. Certain courts utilize one or the other but when people mix them up its not unusual and doesn't invalidate anything.

  3. Will Murphy

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . I would not use that terminology in that situation, but I would not consider it important. Most judges are smart enough to put substance over form. Unless the attorney is using that term because of your status in some other proceeding, I would probably regard it as an unimportant error.

    You can get a free article on small claims procedure here:

    There is no substitute for the professional advice of an attorney who knows your case and represents you. My post... more

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