Legal Definitions – S (Page 3)
Sexting – The act of transmitting sexually explicit messages and photographs, primarily through the use of cell phone text messaging. Since many teens are typically the ones sexting, states often prosecute people for sexting under child pornography laws.
Sexual Abuse – Any act by which the perpetrator uses sexual contact in an impermissible way.
Sexual Assault – The unconsented sexual contact or touching of another by use or threat of force or violence. It does not require penetration to constitute a criminal violation.
Sexual Battery – The unconsented sexual contact or touching of another. Some states require penetration in order for the contact to constitute sexual battery.
Sexual Harassment – Unwanted sexual advances, sexual conduct or other verbal or physical action of a sexual nature, often alleged as occurring at the workplace.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination – Discrimination enacted by an employer against an employee based on the employee’s sexual orientation or current gender identity. This type of discrimination is illegal in federal employment, as well as in many states.
Sexual Relationship with a Patient – The act of a medical professional engaging in sexual conduct with one of their patients while the patient is under their care. This constituted medical malpractice.
Shaken Baby Syndrome – The resulting symptoms arising from the violent shaking of an infant or small child.
Sham Marriage – A marriage that has been entered into for the purpose of deceiving public officials or society about its true purpose. Such a marriage typically involves both people agreeing to get married in order to obtain certain benefits that are only reserved for married couples, such as a change in immigration status or obtaining U.S. citizenship.
Sham Trusts – Trusts that are illegal or designed to deceive. This type of trust is usually aimed at dodging tax requirements or IRS audits.
Shared Parenting – A type of custody arrangement wherein each parent spends a relatively equal amount of time with the child. It is also known as "shared custody."
Shared Privacy – A term that is used to describe private information that is not exclusive information. This is information that is normally protected under the Privacy Act, but is present in a "shared" location, such as a computer that is used by a group of people instead of just one person.
Shareholder Rights – Rights possessed by shareholders of a corporation, such as the right to inspect the corporation’s records and the right to share in dividends.
Sherman Anti-Trust Act – A federal law that prohibits certain business activities that the federal government deems to be anticompetitive, and requires the federal government to investigate and break up trusts and monopolies.
Shipment Contract – A contract for goods between a buyer and seller, in which the buyer bears the risk for any loss or damage that occurs during the shipment of the goods.
Shoplifting – The crime of stealing merchandise for sale in a retail store.
Shopping Mall Liability – The liability that a shopping mall owner has for any injuries suffered by patrons on the shopping mall premises.
Short Sale Fraud Scheme – A fraud scheme in which a person intentionally misrepresents facts in order to induce a property owner to participate in a short sale.
Shoulder Surfing Theft – A theft that occurs when a thief stands very close to thief victim as they enter in a password, PIN number, or other information when making a transaction.
Sign Regulation – Zoning ordinances used by city governments to regulate the use, location, and aesthetics of signs located throughout the city
Silence as Acceptance – In a contractual situation, one’s silence constitutes valid acceptance of an offer, creating a legally-binding contract. It is incredibly rare for silence to count as acceptance, even if the offer claims that silence is valid as acceptance.
Silent Fraud in a Contract Claim – Fraud where one party fails to disclose material facts of the contract where the party is required by law to disclose these facts.
Slip and Fall Accident – A tort that occurs when a dangerous surface causes a person to slip and fall. Whoever caused the dangerous condition may be liable for losses incurred by the injured in their fall.
Small Business Administration – The general overseeing and management of a small business operation. This can sometimes be handled by one person, but it can also be handled by a board or a group of persons.
Small Claims Courts – Courts that handle disputes involving small amounts of money, usually between individuals, or an individual against a business. The amount of money that usually sought in this type of court typically ranges from $1,000 to $5,000.
Small Estate – An estate where the total valuation of all the assets is less than an amount prescribed by law. This amount may vary from state to state.
SMishing – A type of scam crime that uses spam text messages to obtain a person’s information without their consent. The thief poses as a financial institution in a text message to the potential victim and obtains money or personal information based on the person’s response.
Social Engineering Crimes – Crimes in which the scammer employs a fake survey or other social study device that would lead a person to believe that the survey is real in order to obtain the person’s confidential identification information.
Social Host Liability – The liability that some state statutes impart to social hosts if they serve alcohol to a minor who then becomes involved in an accident that causes injury to a third.
Social Security – A type of program operated by the federal government that provides financial support for disabled and retired persons.
Social Security Benefits – Financial payments that the Social Security Administration gives to people who qualify for the benefits. There are two types of benefits available under the Social Security Program: disability benefits and retirement benefits.
Social Security Eligibility – The eligibility requirements that a person must meet in order to qualify for Social Security benefits, such as a minimum age requirement and a specific relationship requirement.
Social Security Fraud – The crime in which Social Security benefits are obtained fraudulently, such as obtaining them by lying about one’s age or failing to disclose certain required facts. The most common type of fraud used to obtain Social Security benefits is identity theft.
Social Security No-Match Letter – A letter that is sent to an employer when employees’ names and social security numbers (SSNs) on their W-2 forms do not match SSA records.
Sodomy – Anal copulation by a man inserting his penis in the anus of another man or woman. Although the consensual engagement of this sexual act used to be criminalized in many states, it is no longer illegal for two adults to engage in this act if they both consent and are both adults.
Sole Proprietorship – A type of business entity that is owned and managed by one individual, the sole proprietor. The owner is personally liable for all debts and other liabilities as there is no separation between the entity and the individual.
Solicitation – An inchoate (incomplete) crime in which someone asks, requests, hires, commands, or encourages someone else to commit a crime.
Sophisticated User Doctrine – A doctrine that allows the manufacturer to argue that the user is considered a "sophisticated user" and therefore does not need to be warned because he or she knew or should have known of the dangers associated with using the product. This doctrine has evolved a little differently in different states and it may be called "sophisticated purchaser," "sophisticated intermediary," or the "learned intermediary" defense, depending on the state and/or circumstances.
Sovereign Immunity – Immunity protecting the federal, state (including local), and tribal governments from lawsuits that would cause those governments to pay out money, property, or other goods from the governmental treasury.
Spam Email Liability – Liability that certain senders of spam emails and internet service providers face in specific circumstances where the spam email has caused harm to the person targeted by the spam email.
Special Business Formation – The formation of a business that has characteristics of different types of typical businesses. For example, a special business form may have characteristics of a corporation and partnership.
Special Education – Specialized educational instruction that is specially designed to meet the needs of a child with a disability. The right to such specialized instruction is protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).
Special Immigrant Visa – A visa category listed under the 4th type of employment-based visa (EB-4) that entitles qualifying immigrants to to certain government benefits. The quota limits may be different than in other types of visa categories.
Special Needs Trust – A type of trust that allows a parent or guardian to set aside property for the benefit of their disabled child after the parent has become deceased or disabled. They are also commonly used to distribute inheritances or even proceeds from a personal injury settlement on behalf of the disabled person.
Specialty Contractor – A type of craftsman who specializes in a specific field of construction or trade. They generally are required to have a business license in order to practice their craft, and in order to hold themselves out as specialists in their field.
Specialty Occupation Visa – A type of work visa that allows foreign nationals to travel to the U.S. and work for a temporary period of time in a "specialty occupation." It is officially categorized as a H-1B Visa.