opinion. 1. A court’s written statement explaining its decision in a given case, usu. including the statement of facts, points of law, rationale, and dicta. — Abbr. op. — Also termed judicial opinion. See DECISION. Cf. JUDGMENT(1); RULING(1). [Cases: Courts  103. C.J.S. Courts

§§ 170, 173–174, 176.]

advisory opinion. 1. A nonbinding statement by a court of its interpretation of the law on a matter submitted for that purpose. • Federal courts are constitutionally prohibited from issuing advisory opinions by the case-or-controversy requirement, but other courts, such as the International Court of Justice, render them routinely. See CASE-OR-CONTROVERSY REQUIREMENT. [Cases: Constitutional Law  69. C.J.S. Constitutional Law § 174.] 2. A written statement, issued only by an administrator of an employee benefit plan, that interprets ERISA and applies it to a specific factual situation. • Only the parties named in the request for the opinion can rely on it, and its reliability depends on the accuracy and completeness of all material facts. concurring opinion.See CONCURRENCE(3).

depublished opinion.An intermediate appellate court’s opinion that has been struck from the

official reports, esp. by the highest court.

dissenting opinion.An opinion by one or more judges who disagree with the decision reached

by the majority. — Often shortened to dissent. — Also termed minority opinion.

extrajudicial opinion. 1. An opinion that is beyond the court’s authority to render. • Such

opinions are void. 2. A judge’s personal or scholarly opinion expressed in a medium other than a judicial opinion.

majority opinion.An opinion joined in by more than half the judges considering a given case. — Also termed main opinion.

memorandum opinion.A unanimous appellate opinion that succinctly states the decision of the court; an opinion that briefly reports the court’s conclusion, usu. without elaboration because the decision follows a well-established legal principle or does not relate to any point of law. — Also termed memorandum decision; memorandum disposition; (slang) memdispo. [Cases: Courts

103, 107. C.J.S. Courts §§ 165, 170, 173–176; Criminal Law § 1665.] minority opinion.See dissenting opinion.

per curiam opinion (p<<schwa>>r kyoor-ee-<<schwa>>m). An opinion handed down by an appellate court without identifying the individual judge who wrote the opinion. — Sometimes shortened to per curiam. [Cases: Courts  107. C.J.S. Courts §§ 165, 175; Criminal Law § 1665.]

“The most controversial form of summary disposition is a per curiam opinion that simultaneously grants certiorari and disposes of the merits at some length, discussing both the facts and the issues involved. The result is usually a reversal of the judgment below …. The parties are given no opportunity to file briefs on the merits or to argue orally before the Court. Indeed, they are given no formal notice whatever of the Court’s intention to dispose of the certiorari papers in this manner ….” Robert L. Stern et al., Supreme Court Practice 320 (8th ed. 2002).

plurality opinion.An opinion lacking enough judges’ votes to constitute a majority, but receiving more votes than any other opinion. [Cases: Courts  90(2), 102. C.J.S. Courts §§ 138,

141.] qualified opinion.See QUALIFIED OPINION.

seriatim opinions (seer-ee-ay-tim). A series of opinions written individually by each judge on

the bench, as opposed to a single opinion speaking for the court as a whole.

slip opinion. 1. A court opinion that is published individually after being rendered and then collectively in advance sheets before being released for publication in a reporter. • Unlike an unpublished opinion, a slip opinion can usu. be cited as authority. Cf. ADVANCE SHEETS. [Cases: Courts  107. C.J.S. Courts §§ 165, 175; Criminal Law§ 1665.] 2.Archaic. A preliminary draft of a court opinion not yet ready for publication. — Also termed slip decision. Cf. unpublished opinion.

unpublished opinion.An opinion that the court has specifically designated as not for publication. • Court rules usu. prohibit citing an unpublished opinion as authority. Such an opinion is considered binding only on the parties to the particular case in which it is issued. Cf. slip opinion. [Cases: Courts  107. C.J.S. Courts §§ 165, 175; Criminal Law § 1665.]

2. A formal expression of judgment or advice based on an expert’s special knowledge; esp., a document, usu. prepared at a client’s request, containing a lawyer’s understanding of the law that

applies to a particular case. — Also termed opinion letter.“The essence of a lawyer’s job is to obtain the facts and the law with due diligence and then to give advice. But, strangely, no controlling definition has evolved for what is an ‘opinion.’ The lack of a definition is not crucial for some purposes. On the other hand, a definition is vital in other areas; for example, to determine within a law firm when peer review is necessary ….” 8 Arnold S. Jacobs, Opinion Letters in Securities Matters§ 3, at Intro-12 (1998).

adverse opinion.An outside auditor’s opinion that a company’s financial statements do not conform with generally accepted accounting principles or do not accurately reflect the company’s financial position. audit opinion.A certified public accountant’s opinion regarding the audited financial

statements of an entity.

comfort opinion.Securities. An attorney’s written opinion that there is no reason to believe that the registration statement contains any material misrepresentations or omissions that would violate § 11 of the Securities Act of 1933. • The attorney usu. participates in the registration statement’s preparation and confers with the securities issuer’s representatives, underwriters, and public accountants before writing the opinion. The comfort opinion’s purpose is to reassure the parties that the registration statement complies with securities laws; it is not part of the statement and is usu. not included.

coverage opinion.A lawyer’s opinion on whether a particular event is covered by a given

insurance policy.

infringement opinion.Patents. A patent attorney’s opinion about the probable outcome of an infringement hearing or trial on whether a particular product or process infringes one or more claims of another’s patent.

legal opinion.A written document in which an attorney provides his or her understanding of the law as applied to assumed facts. • The attorney may be a private attorney or attorney representing the state or other governmental entity. Private attorneys frequently render legal opinions on the ownership of real estate or minerals, insurance coverage, and corporate transactions. A party may be entitled to rely on a legal opinion, depending on factors such as the identity of the parties to whom the opinion was addressed, the nature of the opinion, and the law governing these opinions. See coverage opinion.

patentability opinion.Patents. A patent attorney’s or patent agent’s opinion on the patent office’s probable holding about the allowability of a patent application’s claims. • The opinion is almost a mini-examination report because it is based on consideration of the invention’s subject matter, prior art, etc.

title opinion.A lawyer’s or title company’s opinion on the state of title for a given piece of real property, usu. describing whether the title is clear and marketable or whether it is encumbered. See


unqualified opinion.An audit opinion given by an accountant who is satisfied that the

financial statements reviewed were fairly presented and consistent with the previous year, and that the audit was performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.

validity opinion.Patents. A patent attorney’s opinion about the likelihood that a patent or patent claim will be invalidated in light of evidence suggesting obviousness, lack of invention, unenforceability, etc.

3. A person’s thought, belief, or inference, esp. a witness’s view about facts in dispute, as opposed to personal knowledge of the facts themselves. — Also termed (in sense 3) conclusion.

See opinion evidence under EVIDENCE.

fixed opinion.A bias or prejudice that disqualifies a potential juror. [Cases: Jury  99.4. C.J.S. Juries § 399.]

[Blacks Law 8th]