CAUSE, civ. law. This word has two meanings. 1. It signifies the delivery of the thing, or the accomplishment of the act which is the object of a convention. Datio vel factum, quibus ab una parte conventio, impleri caepta est. 6 Toull. n. 13, 166. 2. it is the consideration or motive formakinga contract. An obligation without a cause, or with a false or unlawful cause, has no effect; but an engagement is not the less valid, though the cause be not expressed. The cause is illicit, when it is forbidden by law, when it is contra bones mores, or public order. Dig. 2, 14, 7, 4; Civ. Code of Lo. a. 1887-1894 Code Civil, liv. 3, c. 2, s. 4, art. 1131-1133; Toull. liv. 3, tit. 3, c. 2, s. 4.
CAUSE, contra torts, crim. That which produces an effect.
2. In considering a contract, an injury, or a crime, the law for many purposes looks to the immediate, and not to any remote cause. Bac. Max. Reg. 1; Bac. Ab. Damages, E; Sid. 433; 2 Taunt. 314. If the cause be lawful, the party will be justified; if unlawful, he will be condemned. The following is an example in criminal law of an immediate and remote cause. If Peter, of malice prepense, should discharge a pistol at Paul, and miss him, and then cast away the pistol and fly and, being pursued by Paul, he turn round, and kill him with a dagger, the law considers the first as the impulsive cause, and Peter would be guilty of murder. But if Peter, with his dagger drawn, had fallen down, and Paul in his haste had fallen upon it and killed himself, the cause of Paul's death would have been too remote to charge Peter as the murderer. Id.
3. In cases of insurance, the general rule is that the immediate and not the remote cause of the loss is to be considered; causa proximo non remota s pedatur. This rule may, in some cases, apply to carriers. Story, Bailm. 515.
4. For the reach of contracts, the contractor is liable for the immediate effects of such breach, but not for any remote cause, as the failure of a party who was to receive money, and did not receive it, in consequence of which he was compelled to stop payment. 1 Brock. Cir. C. Rep. 103. See Remote; and also Domat, liv. 3, t. 5, s. 2, n. 4; Toull. liv. 3, n. 286; 6 Bing. R. 716; 6 Ves. 496; Pal. Ag. by Lloyd, 10; Story, Ag. 200; 3 Sumn. R. 38.
CAUSE, pleading.The reason; the motive.
2. In a replication de injuria, for example, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant of his own wrong, and without the cause by him in his plea alleged, did, &c. The word cause here means without the matter of excuse alleged, and though in the singular number, it puts in issue all the facts in the plea, which constitute but one cause. 8 Co. 67; 11 East, 451; 1 Chit. Pl. 585.
CAUSE, practice. A Contested question before a court of justice; it is a Suit or action. Causes are civil or criminal. Wood's Civ. Law, 302; Code, 2, 416. 20
CAUSE OF ACTION. By this phrase is understood the right to bring an action, which implies, that there is some person in existence who can assert, and also a person who can lawfully be sued; for example, where the payee of a bill was dead at the time when it fell due, it was held the cause of action did not accrue, and consequently the statute of limitations did not begin to run until letters of administration had been obtained by some one. 4 Bing. 686.
2. There is no cause of action till the claimant can legally sue, therefore the statute of limitations does not run from the making of a promise, if it were to perform something at a future time, but only from the expiration of that time, though, when the obligor promises to pay on demand, or generally, without specifying day, he may be sued immediately, and then the cause of action has accrued. 5 Bar. & Cr. 860; 8 Dowl. & R. 346.When a wrong has been committed, or a breach of duty has occurred, the cause of action has accrued, though the claimant may be ignorant of it. 3 Barn. & Ald. 288, 626 5 B. & C. 259; 4 C. & P. 127.


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