Penguin sues authors
Posted: 27 September 2012 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  1290
Joined  2007-04-28


“[Wurtzel is] in possession of the sum of $33,000 that is the rightful property of Plaintiff,”

Why doesn’t Plaintiff have a definite article?

This reminds me of pharaoh in the Old Testament which I remember not having a capital letter either though online KJVs do but this extract from that link suggests my memory of print versions is sound

The book of Exodus tells how the Israelites are enslaved in Egypt and eventually escape under the leadership of Moses. At least two pharaohs are involved, the “pharaoh of the oppression” who enslaves the Israelites, and the “pharaoh of the exodus”, during whose rule the Israelites escape.

I wonder if this use of (usually nameless) “pharaoh” was a studied insult because of the enslavement, etc unless it was ignorance - there is no mention of the Israelites in Egyptian records over the 400 years in question. Hebrew has no capitals but it does have a definite article whcich they may have left out in this case for some reason and the KJ translators just followed that.

{changed “them” to “the Israelites” in edit}

[ Edited: 27 September 2012 10:11 AM by venomousbede ]
Posted: 27 September 2012 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  165
Joined  2007-02-14

You commonly see both “the Plaintiff” and “Plaintiff” in legal briefs and opinions.  The use of an initial capital letter signifies a defined term.  For example a brief might define terms in this way:  “ The contract at issue in this case is between ABC Corporation, Inc., a Delaware corporation ("Plaintiff"), and XYZ Limited Partnership, a Delaware limited partnership ("Defendant")."

Having defined the term, the term without the article then substitutes for the full name of the plaintiff.  So, not using the article is probably the more common and arguably correct usage (and it saves a little bit of space on the page—which never hurts when you have page limits on the length of briefs).  But you do see it both ways.

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