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The 189th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 1-201: General Definitions

[Text of section applicable as provided by 2013, 30, Sec. 116.]

Section 1-201. (a) Unless the context otherwise requires, words or phrases defined in this section, or in the additional definitions contained in other articles of this chapter that apply to particular articles or parts thereof, have the meanings stated.

(b) Subject to definitions contained in other articles of this chapter that apply to particular articles or parts thereof, the following words shall have the following meanings:

(1) ''Action'', in the sense of a judicial proceeding, includes recoupment, counterclaim, set-off, suit in equity and any other proceeding in which rights are determined.

(2) ''Aggrieved party'', a party entitled to pursue a remedy.

(3) ''Agreement'', as distinguished from ''contract'', means the bargain of the parties in fact, as found in their language or inferred from other circumstances, including course of performance, course of dealing or usage of trade, as provided in section 1-303.

(4) ''Bank'', a person engaged in the business of banking and includes a savings bank, savings and loan association, credit union and trust company.

(5) ''Bearer'', a person in control of a negotiable electronic document of title or a person in possession of a negotiable instrument, a negotiable tangible document of title or certificated security that is payable to bearer or indorsed in blank.

(6) ''Bill of lading'', a document of title evidencing the receipt of goods for shipment issued by a person engaged in the business of directly or indirectly transporting or forwarding goods. The term does not include a warehouse receipt.

(7) ''Branch'', includes a separately incorporated foreign branch of a bank.

(8) ''Burden of establishing'', the burden of persuading the trier of fact that the existence of the fact is more probable than its nonexistence.

(9) ''Buyer in ordinary course of business'', a person that buys goods in good faith, without knowledge that the sale violates the rights of another person in the goods, and in the ordinary course from a person, other than a pawnbroker, in the business of selling goods of that kind. A person buys goods in the ordinary course if the sale to the person comports with the usual or customary practices in the kind of business in which the seller is engaged or with the seller's own usual or customary practices. A person that sells oil, gas or other minerals at the wellhead or minehead is a person in the business of selling goods of that kind. A buyer in ordinary course of business may buy for cash, by exchange of other property or on secured or unsecured credit, and may acquire goods or documents of title under a preexisting contract for sale. Only a buyer that takes possession of the goods or has a right to recover the goods from the seller under article 2 may be a buyer in ordinary course of business. Buyer in ordinary course of business does not include a person that acquires goods in a transfer in bulk or as security for or in total or partial satisfaction of a money debt.

(10) ''Conspicuous'', with reference to a term, means so written, displayed or presented that a reasonable person against which it is to operate ought to have noticed it. Whether a term is ''conspicuous'' or not is a decision for the court. Conspicuous terms include the following:

(A) a heading in capitals equal to or greater in size than the surrounding text or in contrasting type, font or color to the surrounding text of the same or lesser size; and

(B) language in the body of a record or display in larger type than the surrounding text or in contrasting type, font or color to the surrounding text of the same size, or set off from surrounding text of the same size by symbols or other marks that call attention to the language.

(11) ''Consumer'', an individual who enters into a transaction primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.

(12) ''Contract'', as distinguished from ''agreement'', means the total legal obligation that results from the parties' agreement as determined by this chapter as supplemented by any other applicable laws.

(13) ''Creditor'', includes a general creditor, a secured creditor, a lien creditor and any representative of creditors, including an assignee for the benefit of creditors, a trustee in bankruptcy, a receiver in equity and an executor or administrator of an insolvent debtor's or assignor's estate.

(14) ''Defendant'', includes a person in the position of defendant in a counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party claim.

(15) ''Delivery'', with respect to an electronic document of title means voluntary transfer of control and with respect to an instrument, a tangible document of title or chattel paper means voluntary transfer of possession.

(16) ''Document of title'', a record that: (i) in the regular course of business or financing is treated as adequately evidencing that the person in possession or control of the record is entitled to receive, control, hold and dispose of the record and the goods the record covers; and (ii) purports to be issued by or addressed to a bailee and to cover goods in the bailee's possession, which are either identified or are fungible portions of an identified mass. The term includes a bill of lading, transport document, dock warrant, dock receipt, warehouse receipt and order for delivery of goods. An electronic document of title means a document of title evidenced by a record consisting of information stored in an electronic medium. A tangible document of title means a document of title evidenced by a record consisting of information that is inscribed on a tangible medium.

(17) ''Fault'', a default, breach or wrongful act or omission.

(18) ''Fungible goods'',

(A) goods of which any unit, by nature or usage of trade, is the equivalent of any other like unit; or

(B) goods that by agreement are treated as equivalent.

(19) ''Genuine'', free of forgery or counterfeiting.

(20) ''Good faith'', except as otherwise provided in article 5, honesty in fact and the observance of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing.

(21) ''Holder'',

(A) the person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession;

(B) the person in possession of a negotiable tangible document of title if the goods are deliverable either to bearer or to the order of the person in possession; or

(C) the person in control of a negotiable electronic document of title.

(22) ''Insolvency proceeding'', includes an assignment for the benefit of creditors or other proceeding intended to liquidate or rehabilitate the estate of the person involved.

(23) ''Insolvent'',

(A) having generally ceased to pay debts in the ordinary course of business other than as a result of bona fide dispute;

(B) being unable to pay debts as they become due; or

(C) being insolvent within the meaning of federal bankruptcy law.

(24) ''Money'', a medium of exchange currently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government. The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement between 2 or more countries.

(25) ''Organization'', a person other than an individual.

(26) ''Party'', as distinguished from ''third party'', a person that has engaged in a transaction or made an agreement subject to this chapter.

(27) ''Person'', an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, government, governmental subdivision, agency or instrumentality, public corporation or any other legal or commercial entity.

(28) ''Present value'', the amount as of a date certain of 1 or more sums payable in the future, discounted to the date certain by use of either an interest rate specified by the parties if that rate is not manifestly unreasonable at the time the transaction is entered into or, if an interest rate is not so specified, a commercially reasonable rate that takes into account the facts and circumstances at the time the transaction is entered into.

(29) ''Purchase'', taking by sale, lease, discount, negotiation, mortgage, pledge, lien, security interest, issue or reissue, gift or any other voluntary transaction creating an interest in property.

(30) ''Purchaser'', a person that takes by purchase.

(31) ''Record'', information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(32) ''Remedy'', any remedial right to which an aggrieved party is entitled with or without resort to a tribunal.

(33) ''Representative'', a person empowered to act for another, including an agent, an officer of a corporation or association, and a trustee, executor or administrator of an estate.

(34) ''Right'', includes remedy.

(35) ''Security interest'', an interest in personal property or fixtures which secures payment or performance of an obligation. Security interest includes any interest of a consignor and a buyer of accounts, chattel paper, a payment intangible or a promissory note in a transaction that is subject to article 9. Security interest does not include the special property interest of a buyer of goods on identification of those goods to a contract for sale under section 2-401, but a buyer may also acquire a security interest by complying with article 9. Except as otherwise provided in section 2-505, the right of a seller or lessor of goods under article 2 or 2A to retain or acquire possession of the goods is not a security interest, but a seller or lessor may also acquire a security interest by complying with article 9. The retention or reservation of title by a seller of goods, notwithstanding shipment or delivery to the buyer under section 2-401, is limited in effect to a reservation of a security interest. Whether a transaction in the form of a lease creates a security interest is determined pursuant to section 1-203.

(36) ''Send'', in connection with a writing, record or notice means:

(A) to deposit in the mail or deliver for transmission by any other usual means of communication with postage or cost of transmission provided for and properly addressed and, in the case of an instrument, to an address specified thereon or otherwise agreed, or if there be none to any address reasonable under the circumstances; or

(B) in any other way to cause to be received any writing, record or notice within the time it would have arrived if properly sent.

(37) ''Signed'', includes using any symbol executed or adopted with present intention to adopt or accept a writing.

(38) ''State'', state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(39) ''Surety'', includes a guarantor or other secondary obligor.

(40) ''Term'', a portion of an agreement that relates to a particular matter.

(41) ''Unauthorized signature'', a signature made without actual, implied or apparent authority. The term includes a forgery.

(42) ''Warehouse receipt'', a document of title issued by a person engaged in the business of storing goods for hire.

(43) ''Writing'', includes printing, typewriting or any other intentional reduction to tangible form. ''Written'' has a corresponding meaning.