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Answers to civil complaints in Federal Court

Answers to civil complaints in Federal Court are the topic of this blog post.  Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure specifies the time period that a defendant has to answer or otherwise respond, that time period is 21 calendar days after being served with the summons and complaint, although there are exceptions which are listed in Rule 12.

If the complaint does not state a claim for relief a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) could be filed on the grounds that the complaint does not state sufficient facts to constitute a claim for relief.

In their answer, defendant should deny each statement in the complaint that is untrue and admit each statement that is true. See Rule 8 (b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  If a defendant does not have sufficient information either to admit or deny a statement in the complaint, a statement may be used such as “Defendant has no information or belief that the allegations of paragraph __ are true so defendant denies them.”

Any allegations of the complaint that are not specifically denied are deemed admitted.

In addition to admitting or denying each and every allegation in the complaint, defendant should include in their answer any legal defenses they may have. See Rule 8(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A legal defense is one in which, even assuming that all plaintiff’s allegations in the  complaint were true, the law does not permit the plaintiff to win the case. Defendant  should be careful in deciding whether to raise a defense as Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that certain defenses may be waived if they are not raised in the answer or a pre-answer motion. In other words, if a defendant fails to raise a legal defense in their answer, they may not be able to raise it later in the case. Defendant should also state enough facts for each legal defense, otherwise plaintiff may file a motion to strike the defense under Rule 12(f) on the grounds of an insufficient defense, or an immaterial allegation.

Attorneys or parties in who would like to view a portion of a sample answer to a civil complaint in United States District Court sold by the author can see below.

 

Attorneys or parties that would like more information on a Federal litigation document package containing 42 sample documents including a sample answer to a civil complaint in United States District Court can use the link shown below.

Federal litigation document package

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995.

If you enjoy this blog post, tell others about it. They can subscribe to the author’s weekly California and Federal legal newsletter by visiting the following link: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm

To view all of the sample legal documents for use in California and Federal Courts sold by the author of this blog post visit http://www.scribd.com/legaldocspro/documents

Copyright 2013 Stan Burman. All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

These materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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