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a judicial proceeding whereby one party prosecutes another for
a wrong done, or from protection of a right or prevention of a wrong; at common law, to be distinguished from
an action in equity which could not be brought before the law courts but only before a
court of equity.
See collusive action; derivative action; penal action. Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016