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Said to be when a party quits or departs from the case or defence which he has first made, and has recourse to another; it is when his replication or rejoinder contains matter not pursuant to the declaration or plea and which does not support and fortify it.
A departure in pleading is never allowed for the record would, by such means, be spun out into endless prolixity; for he who has departed from and relinquished his first plea might resort to a second, third, fourth, or even fortieth defence, and pleading would, by such means, become infinite. He who had a bad cause would never be brought to issue, and he who had a good one would never obtain the end of his suit.
A departure is cured by a verdict in favor of him who makes it, if the matter pleaded by way of departure is a sufficient answer, in substance, to what is before pleaded by the opposite party; that is, if it would have been sufficient if pleaded in the first instance.
Maritime Law. A deviation from the course of the voyage insured. A departure is justifiable or not justifiable. It is justifiable in consequence of the stress of weather, to make necessary repairs, to succor a ship in distress, to avoid capture, of inability to navigate the ship, mutiny of the crew, or other compulsion.