Legal Definitions – L
Labor Law – A broad area of the law that focuses on protecting the rights of workers and mediating concerns involving the government, unions, workers, and employers. See also: Contract Labor Law, Union Labor Law, How to Form a Labor Union
Laches – A type of defense in which the plaintiff’s delay in filing the lawsuit was unreasonable, and the delay resulted in prejudice or negative effects upon the defendant. Land Contract – A certain type of contract for the sale of land or real property.
Land Trust – A charitable trust that funds non-profit conservation organizations established to protect nature areas, forestland, scenic views, recreational areas, historic structures, and cultural property.
Land Use Law – An area of law that encompasses the legal rights to use land and the laws that regulate or limit land use, such as zoning laws.
Landlord Liability for Criminal Activity – The liability a landlord faces when a third party attacks a tenant on the property. However, landlords are rarely held liable for attacks by third parties on tenants unless the attack was foreseeable by the landlord, or there was a duty to protect the tenant.
Landlord Retaliation – Unfair treatment by a landlord against a tenant in response to the tenant seeking improved housing conditions through enforcement of housing codes, withholding of rent, or some other court action.
Landlord Rights and Obligations – The rights granted to and obligations imposed on a landlord by a lease agreement. They include the rights to be paid rent on time and determine the terms of the lease, and the obligations to maintain all units in a habitable condition and provide warnings and notice of late rent or eviction.
Lateral and Subjacent Support – Physical support that landowners are entitled to for the land they own in its natural state. Lateral support is physical support coming from the sides of the property, and subjacent support is physical support coming from underneath the property.
Layoff – A discharge of an employee from his or her usual line of work. This may often be temporary, as when a company is restructuring or downsizing.
Lease Termination – The termination of a lease agreement that has the effect of ending a tenancy. Either a landlord or a tenant can terminate a lease.
Leash Laws – Laws that require dogs to be kept on leashes unless confined to a house or fenced yard. Since leash laws are generally local ordinances, they vary greatly from place to place.
Legal Notice – A notification served by the plaintiff to the defendant that notifies the defendant that the plaintiff is suing them, gives them the reasons why the plaintiff suing them, and provides the defendant with the legal basis upon which the plaintiff filed the lawsuit.
Lemon Law – A type of law that protects consumers who purchase defective goods, such as cars and puppies. Each state has its own version of a lemon law.
Liability Waiver – A type of waiver that releases a party from being liable for harm or damage that might occur while under contract.
Libel – The making of false written or visual statements about another person or business to someone else. The statements must appear in a permanent form, such as an email or a picture.
Licensing Contract – A contract wherein one party grants another party the right to sell, produce, use, or display something that is protected by a copyright, a trademark, or a patent.
Life Estate – A present interest in a piece of property that will end upon the death of a specified person, which is usually the person receiving the property.
Like-Kind Exchange – An exchange of property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment solely for property of "like-kind," which is to be held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment.
Limited Liability Company (LLC) – A business organization that shares the limited liability benefits of a corporation but the management and tax freedom of a partnership.
Liquidated Damages – The amount of monetary damages that contracting parties agree will be paid by the breaching party if the contract is breached. This amount is written into the contract in a portion known as a liquidated damages clause.
Liquor Laws – Laws that govern the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. These laws include liquor licensing laws and DUI laws.
Living Will – A type of legal document concerning a person’s health care in the future when the person may become incapacitated.
Loan Fraud – The providing of false information when applying for or receiving a loan.
Loitering – Lingering or "hanging around" in a public place with no purpose for being there. Many cities have ordinances prohibiting loitering.
Loser-Pays Principle – A principle in which the loser pays the winning side’s attorney’s fees. The principle may be enforced by statute for cases involving certain laws, or it may be part of a contract.
Loss of Consortium – The damage sustained to a victim’s relationship with their spouse because of an injury. This loss includes the loss of care, companionship, and affections of a loved one, as well as a decrease or loss of a sexual relationship.