An “answer” is the first formal response given by the defense to a complaint filed by the plaintiff. This opening written statement will address the allegations or demand more information about the claims of the plaintiff. An answer to a complaint may sometimes include the defendant’s counterclaims or affirmative defenses. A defendant usually has 30 days to file an answer to the plaintiff’s complaint.
In responding to a pleading, the defendant must:
- A – state in short and plain terms its defenses to each claim asserted against it; and
- B – admit or deny the allegations asserted against it by an opposing party.
When denying an allegation, the defendant must fairly respond to the substance of the allegation. When denying only some of the allegations, the defendant must either specifically deny designated allegations or generally deny all except those specifically admitted. A party that intends in good faith to deny only part of an allegation must admit the part that is true and deny the rest. An allegation — other than one relating to the amount of damages — is admitted if a responsive pleading is required and the allegation is not denied. If a responsive pleading is not required, an allegation is considered to be denied.
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