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special appearance n: an appearance by a party in court for the sole purpose of challenging the court's assertion of personal jurisdiction over the party compare general appearance NOTE: Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the rules of states that have adopted it, the use of a special appearance to challenge jurisdiction has been abolished, and jurisdiction may be challenged in the pleadings or in a pretrial motion.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.