A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
FCBA
See Fair Credit Billing Act.
FCRA
See Fair Credit Reporting Act.
FDCPA
See Fair Debt Collections & Practices Act.
federal court
A branch of the United States government with power derived directly from the U.S. Constitution. Federal courts decide cases involving the U.S. Constitution, federal law--for example, patents, federal taxes, labor law and federal crimes, such as robbing a federally chartered bank--and cases where the parties are from different states and are involved in a dispute for $75,000 or more.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
A federal government agency established to regulate business practices and enforce antitrust laws. The FTC often shows up in the news when big businesses merge, but it also plays a role in protecting consumers from unfair business practices, including actions by collection agencies and credit bureaus. While the FTC generally does not have authority to intervene in individual consumer disputes, the FTC can take action against a company about which it has received numerous consumer complaints.
felony
A serious crime (contrasted with misdemeanors and infractions, less serious crimes), usually punishable by a prison term of more than one year or, in some cases, by death. For example, murder, extortion and kidnapping are felonies; a minor fist fight is usually charged as a misdemeanor, and a speeding ticket is generally an infraction.
Feres doctrine
A legal doctrine that prevents people who are injured as a result of military service from successfully suing the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The doctrine comes from the U.S. Supreme Court case Feres v. United States, in which servicemen who picked up highly radioactive weapons fragments from a crashed airplane were not permitted to recover damages from the government. Also known as the Feres-Stencel doctrine or the Feres rule.
fictitious business name
See fictitious name.
fictitious name
Fictitious names are often used in conducting a business (see doing business as.) They may also be used when filing a lawsuit against a party whose real name is unknown or when it is appropriate to conceal the true name of the party.
fieri facias
Latin for "that you cause to be done." This is a court document that instructs a sheriff to seize and sell a defendant's property in order to satisfy a monetary judgment against the defendant.
file
A term commonly used to describe both the process of submitting a document to a court--for example, "I filed my small claims case today"--and to describe the physical location where these papers are kept. Traditionally, a court's case files were kept indefinitely in one or more cardboard folders. Today many files--especially those for inactive cases--are stored by computer.
filing fee
A fee charged by a public official to accept a document for processing. For example, you must usually pay a filing fee to submit pleadings and other documents to the court in a civil matter, or to put a deed on file in the public records.
final beneficiary
The person or institution designated to receive trust property upon the death of a life beneficiary. For example, Jim creates a trust through which his wife Jane receives income for the duration of her life. Their daughter, the final beneficiary, receives the trust principal after Jane's death.
financial guardian
See guardian of the estate.
finder's fee
A fee charged by real estate brokers and apartment-finding services in exchange for locating a rental property. These fees are permitted by law. Some landlords, however, charge finder's fees merely for renting a place. This type of charge is not legitimate and, in some areas, is specifically declared illegal.