An action brought to enforce, redress, or protect a private or civil right; a noncriminal litigation. — Also termed (if brought by a private person) private action; (if brought by a government) public action. [Cases: Action 1. C.J.S. Actions §§ 2–9, 11, 17, 21, 32–33, 36.]

“The code of New York, as originally adopted, declared, ‘the distinctions between actions at law and suits in equity, and the forms of all such actions and heretofore existing, are abolished; and there shall be in this State hereafter but one form of action for the enforcement or protection of private rights and the redress of private wrongs, which shall be denominated a civil action.’ With slight verbal changes the above provision has been enacted in most of the States and Territories which have adopted the reformed procedure.” Edwin E. Bryant, The Law of Pleading Under the Codes of Civil Procedure 106 (2d ed. 1899).

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