File an Answer

The Answer is the formal written statement filed by the defendant responding to a complaint setting forth any defenses and objections to the claims by the plaintiff.

The Answer to Complaint

The original answer is filed with the Clerk of Court. No copies are required. The answer is the formal written statement filed by the defendant responding to a complaint setting forth any defenses and objections to the claims by the plaintiff.
A defendant responding to a complaint should read Filing the Answer below.

Filing the Answer

The answer is due thirty (30) days after issuance of the summons, unless a different date is set by the Court. See Federal Bankruptcy Rule 7012. The answer should admit or deny every allegation in the complaint and set forth any affirmative defenses that may be applicable. The easiest way to do this is to go through the complaint and answer each numbered paragraph, admitting or denying the statements of that paragraph. Affirmative defenses should be separately listed and identified as such. Failure to answer the complaint timely may result in a default judgment being entered against the defendant.

The answer may also contain a cross-claim, in which the defendant makes a claim against another named defendant. The answer may also contain a third-party claim, in which the defendant brings in third parties to the action that may be liable to the defendant in the event defendant is liable to the plaintiff. The form of the counter-claim, cross-claim and/or third-party claim should be the same as the complaint and clearly captioned as such.

A Motion is an application or request made to the Court for the purpose of obtaining a ruling or order directing some act to be done in favor of the applicant. See Rule 7(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

After the Answer

The summons sets the date and time for an initial pretrial conference or scheduling conference. Counsel or parties may appear by telephone at the pretrial/scheduling conference. Failure to attend the initial pretrial conference may result in dismissal of the case (against plaintiff) or judgment (against defendant). During the course of the case there may also be motion hearings, and a final pretrial conference before trial.