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What is a Complaint?

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A complaint is the first document filed with the court by a person or entity in a lawsuit proceeding. A complaint is a pleading that notes the details and causes for someone taking legal action against another party. Complaints are pleadings to properly state the legal basis for the plaintiff’s claim. The complaint identifies the parties involved in the lawsuit. The purpose of the complaint is to inform the court what the plaintiff’s claims against them are and specify the remedies the plaintiff wants in order to rectify the situation. A complaint also must follow statutory requirements as to form. A complaint must contain:

  •  (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
  • (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and
  • (3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

After these guidelines are met, a filing fee of $350 must be submitted. Once the fee has been submitted, the court clerk is required to issue a summons, in which the plaintiff is required to serve the defendant in order to ensure that the defendant is properly notified.

To learn more about what a summons is, check out our article here.

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