permissive counterclaim

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A permissive counterclaim is a type of legal claim that a defendant in a lawsuit may choose to bring against the plaintiff. This rule is outlined in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 13(b). It applies when the defendant’s claim does not arise from the same transaction or occurrence as the plaintiff’s claim. Unlike compulsory counterclaims, if the defendant chooses not to raise a permissive counterclaim in the pending case, it is not waived. The defendant retains the freedom to pursue an independent action on that claim in the future. The decision to assert a permissive counterclaim is often influenced by strategic considerations.

[Last updated in January of 2024 by the Wex Definitions Team]