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LEGAL DICTIONARY - LETTER W


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WAGNER ACT
A 1935 American federal statute which recognized employee rights to collective bargaining protected the right to belong to a union, prohibited many anti-union tactics then used by employers, and set up the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB was given wide enforcement powers. It was later amended by the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947.

WAIVER
When a person disclaims or renounces to a right that they may have otherwise had. Waivers are not always in writing. Sometimes a person's actions can be interpreted as a waiver.

WARRANT
(1) n. an order (writ) of a court which directs a law enforcement officer (usually a sheriff) to arrest and bring a person before the judge, such as a person who is charged with a crime, convicted of a crime but failed to appear for sentencing, owes a fine or is in contempt of court. A "bench warrant" is an order to appear issued by the court when a person does not appear for a hearing, which can be resolved by posting bail or appearing. A "search warrant" is an order permitting a law enforcement officer to search a particular premises and/or person for certain types of evidence, based on a declaration by a law enforcement official, including a district attorney. (2) v. to claim to a purchaser that merchandise is sound, of good quality or will perform as it should, or that title to real property belongs to the seller.

WARRANTY
A written statement of good quality of merchandise, clear title to real estate or that a fact stated in a contract is true. An "express warranty" is a definite written statement and "implied warranty" is based on the circumstances surrounding the sale or the creation of the contract.

WASTE
(1) Any damage to real property by a tenant which lessens its value to the landlord, owner or future owner. An owner can sue for damages for waste, terminate a lease of one committing waste and/or obtain an injunction against further waste. (2) Garbage, which may include poisonous effluents.

WILL
A written and signed statement, made by an individual, which provides for the disposition of their property when they die. (See also codicil and probate.)

WILLFUL ACT
An intentional act carried out without justifiable cause.

WITNESS
Person, who testifies under oath before a court, regarding what he/she has seen, heard or otherwise observed.

WITHOUT PREJUDICE
A statements set onto a written document which qualifies the signatory as exempted from it's content to the extent that they may be interpreted as containing admissions or other interpretations which could later be used against the person signing; or as otherwise affecting any legal rights of the person signing. A lawyer will often send a letter "without prejudice" in case the letter makes admissions which could later prove inconvenient to the client.

WRIT
A special, written court order directing a person to perform, or refrain from performing, a specific act. 

WRONGFUL DEATH
The death of a human being as the result of a wrongful act of another person. Such wrongful acts include: negligence (like careless driving), an inten- tional attack such as assault and/or battery, a death in the course of another crime, vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter or murder. Wrongful death is the basis for a lawsuit (wrongful death action) against the party or parties who caused the death filed on behalf of the members of the family who have lost the company and support of the deceased. Thus, a child might be entitled to compensation for the personal loss of a father as well as the amount of financial support the child would have received from the now-dead parent while a minor, a wife would recover damages for loss of her husband's love and companionship and a lifetime of expected support, while a parent would be limited to damages for loss of companionship but not support. A lawsuit for wrongful death may be filed by the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased or by the individual beneficiaries (family members).

WRONGFUL DISMISSAL
Being fired from a job without an adequate reason or without any reason whatsoever. Employees do not have a right to a job for life and can be dismissed for economic or performance reasons but they cannot be dismissed capriciously. Most employment implies an employment contract, which may be supplemented by labor legislation. Either could provide for certain procedures to be followed, failing which any firing is wrongful dismissal and for which the employee could ask a court for damages against the employer. Can also be referred to as "dismissal without just cause." Not all states recognize this tort law action.