How to answer a legal complaint

It is undeniable that sometimes there are so many complaints to make ourselves like being attacked. Complaints themselves become a form of an imperfection that exists, which makes people feel uncomfortable. Even though the complaint itself if addressed to someone also makes the recipient of the complaint not feel comfortable. But you don’t need to be angry or annoyed in dealing with it, just write a response to complaint letter. Most complaints will be addressed by a person or company by mail. So you don’t need to worry because you don’t face it face to face.

Not that this makes you a coward, running from people’s complaints. But that’s where you can take a break for yourself to feel cooling down. Do not be dissolved by the number of complaints posted to you.

Table of Contents

Whether or not we need to respond complaints

Do we really need to respond to complaints? Even though the rules are like that, you can’t even complain. Sometimes we will think like that.

But try to take it from the positive side when many complaints come. That means there are still many people who care. Apparently there are still many people who are smarter. It turns out that the expectations of people like this, etc. Some of these thoughts might help you deal with questions of yourself that tend to feel more annoyed and want to be angry.

Think that the complaint is the result of someone else’s thought of something he must have been involved in and felt discomfort. If complaints do not get a positive response then the inconvenience of one person will immediately be transmitted to many people. And there will add to your own problems as the person assigned to respond to it. Because you will have too much to respond with almost the same complaint.

So it’s better to respond to every complaint that comes with positive energy. No different from when you have to deal with people who complain directly, if you do not give a positive response then you and the person who complains will get involved in a fight because no one wants to budge.

Different if the complaint is addressed in the form of a letter, then you can find the right time to write a response to complaint letter. Confuse all your anger first so that you can think more clearly and positively. Then you write the response letter. Read Also : 12+ Amazing Resignation Letter (Sample, Template, Example) & How to Write It

How to Write Response to Complaint Letter

Writing a response to complaint letter is almost the same as writing other letters, only different in content.

You can start by inserting your date when writing a response letter. Then the recipient’s name and address. Don’t forget to give respect in the beginning of the paragraph to give a polite impression on your letter.

Then you write in the first paragraph, with the intention that you write a letter in response to your letter addressed to us on … (example of first sentence)

Then in the next paragraph you can start giving your response on the matter. Previously, thank you first because someone has used the facilities of the company that finally complained.

In the content of the response letter to complaint letter, your position must be neutral, never blame someone who complains. Give opinions that are more neutral, impartial, and not too blame.

If there really is a problem in the company that is making service to the community disrupted, just say it as is. And as a solution, you can give suggestions to try again after the date you set to give time for repairs.

Many things you can express in the letter. If there are indeed obstacles in service. But if it’s because of a human error, you better be honest if it’s a human error. And promised not to repeat it again.

Response to Complaint Letter Format

How to answer a legal complaint

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Response to Complaint Letter Template

How to answer a legal complaint

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Response to Complaint Letter Restaurant

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How to answer a legal complaint

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Response to Complaint Letter About Customer Service

How to answer a legal complaint

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Convey positive things in your response to complaint letter sample. You receive responses well and respond well. About he can accept your response or can not, you see whether he submits a subsequent complaint. If after being corrected there are no more complaints, so this time you managed to handle the complaints that come.

At the end of the paragraph, don’t forget to apologize for the disturbance, you hope that there will be no more interference after the repair has been processed.

You can also provide a contact number that can be contacted when there is something else you want to ask about the problem.

Don’t be afraid to respond to every complaint that comes. Instead make the opportunity to respond well. Give examples of other people not to act rashly and carelessly, also in speaking even though it is only by letter.

After that you sign the letter and name the person in charge and the company stamp. Act like a part of a professional company.

Use a polite, understanding tone. Don’t argue. Even if you do not agree with the complaint, and can do nothing about it, a considerate response will often help soothe an irate client.

Example Letter #1

Thank you for your letter alerting us to the problem you have been having with our store in Springfield. I am sorry you have been subjected to such a frustrating series of events. We pride ourselves on responding to customers’ concerns very quickly, so what you have experienced is inexcusable.

I have spoken with our manager in Springfield and have instructed him to give you a full refund plus 20% off your next purchase. I extend my own apologies for the inconvenience this problem has caused you. It is apparent that we need to train our holiday help more thoroughly.

I wish you an enjoyable holiday season.

Example Letter #2

I certainly understand your frustration at being sent the wrong order last week and realize that you need some of your order immediately to satisfy demand. I hope the merchandise we rushed to you on Monday arrived in time to get you past the crisis.

Please accept my sincere apologies. We will make every effort to see that this never happens again. We appreciate your business and will do everything we can to serve your needs.

Example Letter #3

I agree that John Doe’s newest CD is a poor excuse for music; other critics say the same. Still, you purchased the CD, opened the jewel box, and kept it for at least two weeks; consequently, I am sorry, but I cannot give you the requested refund. You might go to one of the used CD exchange stores in town and trade it for something more to your liking. I value your business and I am sorry, but I cannot exchange CD’s simply because the music is bad.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step

If you agree that the complaint is justified (even if only in part), say so, and express your desire to correct the problem. If you do not agree with the complaint, politely thank the writer for bringing the problem to your attention.

Example Sentences for Step 1

Example Phrases for Step 1

Explain what you have done or plan to do to resolve the complaint, or explain why you are unable to resolve it.

How to answer a legal complaint

In Civil Law, an “answer” is the first formal response given by the defense to a complaint filed with the court by the plaintiff. This opening written statement will admit or deny the allegations, or demand more information about the claims of wrongdoing.

Related Terms:

Complaint – The first formal action to initiate a lawsuit and begin a civil case, the complaint is a written document filed with the courts by the plaintiff as part of the pleading and contains the claims and accusations that must receive an “answer” from the defense. The complaint also outlines what specific damages are by the plaintiff to restore justice and sets the tone for the issues involved and at stake in the case.

Pleading – Stage one of a lawsuit begins with the pleading, requiring the plaintiff to file a written complaint and for the defense to file their written “answer” to that complaint. The defense may also submit a counterclaim to demonstrate how they also have been harmed by the plaintiff and what damages they are seeking.

Default Judgment – Failure to take action can result in this binding judgment by a court in favor of the other party. Example: If the defense fails to respond to a complaint and does not provide an answer in a certain timeframe, the plaintiff may take an additional step: filing a motion for default judgment. Once the motion is filed, the court may then choose to issue a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff, since the defense failed to take the required actions.

How To Answer a Complaint

When a plaintiff decides to begin legal action by filing a complaint with the courts against another party, the answer to a complaint from the defending parties should be written and submitted to the courts in a very specific manner.

According to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, these guidelines below should be used by the defense in an answer:

[red_box]Rule 8. General Rules of Pleading

(b) Defenses; Admissions and Denials.

  1. In General. In responding to a pleading, a party 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.
  2. Denials—Responding to the Substance. A denial must fairly respond to the substance of the allegation.
  3. General and Specific Denials. A party that intends in good faith to deny all the allegations of a pleading—including the jurisdictional grounds—may do so by a general denial. A party that does not intend to deny all the allegations must either specifically deny designated allegations or generally deny all except those specifically admitted.
  4. Denying Part of an Allegation. 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.
  5. Lacking Knowledge or Information. A party that lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief about the truth of an allegation must so state, and the statement has the effect of a denial.
  6. Effect of Failing to Deny. 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 denied or avoided.

30-Sec Audio Clip With Attorney Darryl Isaacs On Answer Meaning:

Legal Answer: Let’s Break It Down In, Layman’s Terms

Julia was badly injured in an auto accident when the driver of a big rig truck slammed into her sedan. Since she’s claiming the driver was texting and therefore acted negligently, Julia is taking it to court in order to seek payment for her loss of work, medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering damages.

She contacted her lawyer and together they submitted a formal written complaint to the courts, outlining the accusations against the trucker and insurance company, and the compensation she demands. The trucker’s attorney filed an answer to the courts, denying wrongdoing for each of the accusations, and requiring more information before moving forward.

This back and forth written exchange sets the case in motion and the process of uncovering all evidence, known as the discovery phase, now begins.

You might hear “answer” used like this, here’s what it means:

“We’ve already filed suit, now we just need to wait for their answer, which will probably be a standard denial.”
The plaintiff has already started the case by filing a complaint, initiating a lawsuit. Now they are waiting for the defense to respond with the answer, and since it’s common for allegations to be denied, that is the expectation here as well.

“I would advise adding a counterclaim to our answer, we have cause to seek damages.
Yes, they have filed a lawsuit against us, but despite their claims, we have grounds to seek compensation and justice for how you have been injured from this event.

How to answer a legal complaint

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Most lawsuits begin when someone prepares and files with the court a legal document called a complaint. The next step is to have a copy served upon the person or entity sued, which may be by the county sheriff or by a private civil process server. If you’ve been served with a civil complaint in Pennsylvania, you have a limited time to respond to it, and choices to make about how to respond.

What is a Civil Complaint in PA?

If someone wants to sue you in Pennsylvania, he gets the ball rolling by filing a civil complaint. This can be a court form that he fills in with the facts, or it can be a written document that sets out what his claim is against you. If the complaint is based upon a writing (such as in a breach of contract action), the writing must be attached to the complaint.

After the complaint is filed, the filer, called the plaintiff, has to get a third party to personally hand it to you. This is called personal service, and it is required under Pennsylvania’s rules of civil procedure. The person who does this signs a declaration of service stating exactly when and where the document was served and files it with the court. The complaint may be served by a civil process server or by the county sheriff, depending upon your county’s local rules. Once you receive the complaint, you have 20 days to to file a response.

If you do not file a response to the complaint within that 20-day period, the person suing you must send you a letter advising you that in 10 days, she will be requesting a default judgment from the court. Once the 10 days from the date of the letter have passed, she can ask the court for a default judgment. The court may grant a default judgment if there is proof that you were served with the document but failed to file any response and proof that you received the 10-day letter.

Possible Responses to Civil Complaint

Assuming that you want to avoid having a default judgment entered against you, you need to file a response to the civil complaint. You have two choices: either answer the complaint or else attack it.

Many people respond to a complaint by filing an answer. An answer must be in writing and it must admit or deny the charges made in the complaint. You set out the answer in paragraphs numbered to correspond with the complaint, stating the facts and law you rely on in admitting or denying each one. You can also include any new matter you want to plead (in most other states, these are called “affirmative defenses”). These are basically objections to the complaint that you must plead, including defenses such as a violation of the statute of limitations.

Your other choice when responding to a complaint in Pennsylvania is to attack the complaint with preliminary objections. You can make these on any of these grounds:

  • Lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action or the person of the defendant
  • Improper venue or improper form or service of a writ of summons or a complaint
  • Failure of a pleading to conform to law or rule of court or inclusion of scandalous matter
  • Insufficient specificity in a pleading
  • Legal insufficiency of a pleading
  • Lack of capacity to sue, nonjoinder of a necessary party or misjoinder of a cause of action
  • A pending prior action or agreement for alternative dispute resolution
  • Failure to exercise or exhaust a statutory remedy
  • Full, complete and adequate non-statutory remedy at law

You must prepare your answer or preliminary objections and file them with the court. You also have to serve them on the other party. If the other party has an attorney, you can give your response to the attorney instead.

If you have filed an answer, both parties can begin exchanging evidence in discovery. If you filed preliminary objections, the court must rule on these first, and may give the other side an opportunity to file an amended complaint to remedy the issues. If you file preliminary objections and the other side fails to respond to them within 20 days, the court may rule in your favor and dismiss the complaint as long as the other party was served with a copy. Check the court rules for your county to learn how preliminary objections are resolved in your court.

Respond to a civil complaint in Pennsylvania by filing an answer, with or without new matter, or attack the complaint by filing preliminary objections or a demurrer.

Customer complaints are a daily reality for most businesses.

Your product or service might be top of the line. Your customer service may be best in class.

Doesn’t matter. You are still going to get complaints.

And that’s actually a good thing.

Today, we’re going to discuss why customer or client complaints can be a huge asset for you business and then show you how to harness those assets by crafting an ROI-boosting complaint response letter.

Why Customer Complaints Are Retention Gold

Customer retention is the top priority for any business wishing to achieve long-term success.

  • Repeat customers are worth up to 10 times the value of their initial purchase.
  • It’s seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer versus retaining an existing one.
  • It’s six times easier to sell to existing customers versus new customers.

So if our goal is retention, why are complaints so valuable? In short, customer complaints are a gold mine of valuable data that help us understand our customer base and improve retention.

For every customer who complains, 26 others remain silent. In other words, complaints give us insight into potentially pervasive problems that are bothering a large segment of our customer base. When customers complain, they are actively teaching you how to improve your product.

Additionally, when you successfully resolve a customer complaint, their odds of doing business with you again actually increase compared to if they had never made a complaint in the first place.

The key phrase here is “successfully resolve”, and that’s what we’ll be covering in the next section.

How to Respond to a Customer Complaint

When responding to a customer complaint, it’s important to do three specific things:

  1. Respond specifically to the issues brought up by the customer.
  2. Provide a specific apology that acknowledges any mistakes on your end.
  3. State exactly what you intend to do (or have already done) to make it right.
  4. Propose how you will improve the customer’s experience in the future.

You may have noticed a theme here, and that theme is specificity.

Customers don’t want a vague non-response that insults their intelligence. If you are going to respond to a complaint, it’s important to be very specific.

First, actually address each portion of the customer’s complaint. If the complaint came via a brief or mid-sized message, respond to each point. If it was a lengthy rant, try to address the main (or rational) points.

Next, take ownership of anything your business messed up or could have done better. If you made a legitimate error, say sorry. If your customer was confused about something most people understand, apologize that the experience wasn’t more intuitive.

Most importantly, make it right. Resolve the issue. Fix the problem. And then tell the customer EXACTLY what you did to ensure that they are happy in the end.

Finally, tell your customer about how you will their experience with your business better in the future. In some cases, this might just be a fix on your end. In other cases, it might require the customer to better understand your product. Either way, tactfully propose a solution that ensures the customer’s next experience with your business is a positive one.

To better understand these points, let’s look at a real-life example from Andrew Neitlich.

I got quite frustrated with my experience with Yahoo!’s Overture advertising service yesterday when loading up terms for a new site. I don’t know if you agree with me, but I find Google’s advertising interface much, much, much easier to work with than Yahoo!’s.

So I filled in a customer feedback form and sent in my complaint to Yahoo! Mostly I did this to vent, as I didn’t expect a response from a huge company like Yahoo!. Most companies don’t respond anymore to individual online complaints.

Yet Yahoo! responded with a terrific, personalized letter. (Had I known I’d get a response, I would have provided much more detailed feedback). I print the response here, because it is an excellent example of how to respond online to a complaint. I still like using Google much more, but at least I’m not going to cancel my Yahoo! account and stop advertising (which is where I was at yesterday). Notice how they cover in detail my issues, apologize where appropriate, explain their service, and give advice about things I can do better.

Here is their response, printed here as a template you might use for your sites or even clients:

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience these issues may have caused you. I have taken the liberty of resubmitting your listings that were incorrectly declined for Broken Site. According to my research, your listings that were declined for Blocked Site were also declined for Duplication of Results. This means that the keywords that you were attempting to add to your account, already existed in your account, and were seen as a duplicate of an existing listing. This means that the keywords you were hoping to add already exist in your account.

You are correct, after further review it was acknowledged that your site does not offer a product of service that Yahoo! does not to be affiliated with, and therefore the Blocked Site decline reason was an incorrect one. This decline reason did not affect the outcome of your submission.

The keywords that were declined for Insufficient Content, were declined correctly. You were attempting to bid on keywords like “business coach executive professional,” and “life and business coach,” but it is not clear if a user can actually find a business coach on your site, or if they will be referred to 3rd party for assistance with that request. If you were to offer more information on the “Locate an Executive Coach” section of your site, you could be approved for those keywords.

You may be interested to know that Yahoo! is developing a new advertiser interface that will offer business owners a more powerful advertising experience, and we plan to roll this interface out during the second half of this year.

I understand that there are several things in your account that you would like changed, and I would just like to let you know that we take advertiser feedback very seriously as we are always striving to improve our services. We welcome any additional feedback you may have.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance. Thank you for choosing Yahoo! Search Marketing!

Yahoo! Search Marketing


As Andrew mentioned, this is a superb example of a customer response letter from the Yahoo! Search Marketing team.

Yahoo! hit on each critical point in its response letter.

  1. Respond specifically to the issues brought up by the customer.
  2. Provide a specific apology that acknowledges any mistakes on your end
  3. State exactly what you intend to do (or have already done) to make it right
  4. Propose how you will improve the customer’s experience in the future

Use this same strategy to respond to your own customer complaints and improve customer retention.

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Jacob McMillen is a marketing copywriter and content strategist. His blog Digital Careerist helps businesses grow and freelancers make bank. Head on over to grab his free guide: 2 Fail-Proof Marketing Strategies For Businesses On A Budget.

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I am thankful to all people who helping to other people with their problems with English.

Please help me to write a letter to a customer which is not satisfied with her vacation. She is comlpaining about bad service, auwful room and nois outsite the hotel she stayed. She wants full (or partial) reimbursement. I have to write her a letter and refuse the reimbursement in a very polite form.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • laura14

In order to help you write a good letter, it is helpful to have more information. I will provide some preliminary thoughts, and if those thoughts help you, then great. Otherwise, please ignore this message.

What are your reasons for denying a reimbursement? Have you fully investigated her complaint? Are her complaints legitimate, or is she just complaining? Did she complain to others while on her vacation and did they take the appropriate actions?

Do you want to offer her anything as a means of a settlement? Is there anything you can offer to assuage her concerns? Do you want her business in the future?

By knowing the answers to these questions, we can begin to craft a better response. Without knowing anything more, you could write something like.

Dear Ms. Customer: Insert real name

Thank you for writing to us and letting us know your concerns.

We will take appropriate actions to ensure that these events are addressed. Unfortunately, we cannot offer you a reimbursement.

We hope that your future travels are more enjoyable.

Ms. Laura

To be honest Laura, a letter like this one would only make my blood boil even more vigorously.

As a customer, I have provided you with valuable information as to why your services are poor and you have an opportunity to fix those issues. Yet, you have failed to provide any compensation to me. But it is I who spent my hard earned valuable money and spent valuable time writing to you. And you have failed to provide any reasons why you have not recognized my concerns in a meaningful fashion (some compensation). You can almost see the reaction on the person’s face, can’t you?

So if you want to provide more details, we can try to write a better letter. Or, you can use what I have already written, recognizing that, although the letter is polite, it is likely to further anger the client. I am willing to assist you in writing a better letter, but we need more information to work with.

Hope this helps.

First of all thank you very much for your respond, I really appreciate that.
Yeh, you are right, this would make me mad too as I was a customer. Sorry that I didn’t explained you from the begining that this case is not real, it is only the test program for the ones who wants to work for X company. (I will have my job interview with writing test on next Monday). My aim is to satisfy my customer. and my company. I have to show the company that I can deal with customer with minimum loss for the company (I guess this is most important point in this test (at least for a company)). I do understand that it is quite a difficult case, I am not even sure that I will have any cases like this even if I will be hired. It is only sample test.

I am sorry that I made your blood boil vigorously:-( I really didn’t want to. I should have had to explain you at first.

The company where I want to work is not that bad, and it has nothing to do with travell+entertainment etc. It is only this kind of stupid, cruel tests I have to go through on my test day.

Anyway, thank you very much for your help, for your time, for your honesty and loyalty.

  • laura14

How are you? There is somthing I want to add to this complaint letter. If I would be a company I would minimun offer her some kind of vauchers for a week-end family-full-pack, and maybe pay back minimum 20 or 30% form the full cost and maybe something esle not very valueable for the company(send some T-shirt, cap etc.). I think if company wants to keep their customers they have to do something for them even if it is just a sympathy. I think I will write something like this. I don’t know if I will pass my test or not, it is does not matter any more. I have to be honest what I really think when I’m responding to a complaint letter like this. Maybe I would even win from it.

Thank you dear MountainHiker. You did inspired me for this.

  • laura14

The most important part is to communicate with the client. Investigate how bad things really were. And then decide what she will deem acceptable. Most people simply want an opportunity to “vent,” that is, they want to yell at someone for a while. And then they feel better. So as a customer rep, you have to be yelled at a bit as part of your job. Then assess what makes the most sense.

Good luck. I hope you get your job.

Thank you very much. You are the best!

  • laura14

You are most welcome! Again, very best wishes with regard to your interview and test.

Best regards,

I am very thankful for your support.

I am not a native English speaker and I’m very nervous about my interview. We will have writing, oral, communication skills and PC test, all in English. Maybe it is a bit strange that I applied for a position where my customers are mostly from UK. Although I can speak several languages, English and Russian are my favorite. This job would be a good opportunity for me to improve my language and communication skills, also double income in my family will be useful . But if I fail, no big deal. There are planty of job out there .

Do you know, by the chance, where I can find intensive communication skills (language skills) trainings specialized for call centre agents? Any information would be highly appreciated.

Thanx in advance.

  • laura14

I don’t know the answer to your question. You might try posting your question in the ESL section above, as there are more English language instructors there. I am just an average Joe, with no special language skills.

Bluebook is a citation style guide used for legal citations. The Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Columbia Law Review and the University of Pennsylvania Law Review compile The Bluebook together. Most law schools and law firms use The Bluebook. To cite a complaint, you need to understand what it is. A complaint falls under the category of a court filing. The citation will therefore follow the rules of a court filing but include a clarification that you are referencing a complaint.

Find the information needed: the name of the case, the place and year of the ruling, the federal supplement number and the complaint number.

Know your abbreviations. Abbreviate the court name and location. For example, if you are referencing a complaint from the State Department of New York, the abbreviation would be “S.D.N.Y.” The other abbreviation to know is “F.Supp.,” which stands for “Federal Supplement.”

Cite the complaint in order as complaint, case name, federal supplement, court, date and filing number. For example: Complaint at 39, Peter v. Paul, 287 F. Supp. 78 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (No. 98-2389).

  • “The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, 19th Edition”; Harvard Law Review; 2010
  • Duke Law: Library and Technology
  • Suffolk University Law School: Citing Other Court Documents

Melissa Hamilton began writing professionally in 2007. She has enjoyed cooking creatively in the kitchen from a young age. In addition to writing cooking articles for various publications, she currently works in the restaurant industry as a food and beverage trainer.

Maryland Rule 2-323 addresses the manner in which defense attorneys in personal injury cases answer a plaintiff’s complaint under Maryland law in Circuit Court. Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is the applicable rule in federal court. Rule 2-323 states:

Rule 2-323. Answer.

  1. Content. A claim for relief is brought to issue by filing an Answer. Every defense of law or fact to a claim for relief in a complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim shall be asserted in an answer, except as provided by Rule 2-322. If a pleading setting forth a claim for relief does not require a responsive pleading, the adverse party may assert at the trial any defense of law or fact to that claim for relief. The answer shall be stated in short and plain terms and shall contain the following: (1) the defenses permitted by Rule 2-322 (b) that have not been raised by motion, (2) answers to the averments of the claim for relief pursuant to section (c) or (d) of this Rule, and (3) the defenses enumerated in sections (f) and (g) of this Rule.
  2. Preliminary determination. The defenses of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, failure to join a party under Rule 2-211, and governmental immunity shall be determined before trial on application of any party, except that the court may defer the determination of the defense of failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted until the trial.
  3. Specific admissions or denials. Except as permitted by section (d) of this Rule, a party shall admit or deny the averments upon which the adverse party relies. A party without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment shall so state and this has the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the averments denied. A party may deny designated averments or paragraphs or may generally deny all the averments except averments or paragraphs that are specifically admitted.

    sample pre-discovery motions
  • Examples to get the paper flowing back and forth: sample discovery
  • Examples of suits in PI cases

In addition, a party may include by separate defense any other matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense on legal or equitable grounds. When a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court shall treat the pleading as if there had been a proper designation, if justice so requires.

Explain why you cannot grant the request, and at the same time seek to retain the customer’s business and good will. The denial will probably disappoint the customer, so be tactful.

Example Letter #1

We have just received your letter regarding a broken screen door glass. We are sorry for your misfortune, but because the glass was broken during installation, we cannot accept responsibility.

Customers who pay for our delivery and installation are entitled to reimbursement for such damages, but our records show that you chose to do your own installation. We do have replacement glass, which we will sell at a reduced rate of $20. For an additional $10 we will install it. We value your business and will be pleased to help.

Example Letter #2

I understand the disappointment you must have felt when you realized that you couldn’t remove that grape juice stain from your new rug. I hope you can understand my position when I must deny your request for a free replacement, because I cannot be responsible for what happened to the rug after it left the store.

May I suggest that you take it to Doe Cleaners at 1600 Main Street. I understand they have a new process for cleaning small rugs. I believe they will be able to make it look like new again. Thank you for your understanding.

Example Letter #3

We understand that it must be disappointing to lose your layaway down payment of 15%. However, the sign over the cashier’s desk clearly detailed the layaway deposit policy as did the layaway receipt which you signed. Our store policy requires that all returned layaway merchandise is subject to forfeiture of the 15% deposit. If you care to purchase the merchandise, we will credit your purchase with 15%. We simply cannot keep merchandise in storage for eight weeks and forfeit the opportunity to sell it to other customers. We anticipate serving your shopping needs in the future and hope to hear from you soon.

Example Letter #4

I just read your letter complaining about the investment return you received on the Doe Mid-Cap Fund. It is frustrating when expectations are not met. However, as I explained when you first purchased the Mid-Cap Fund, it is an extremely aggressive investment, subject to market fluctuation, and not for the faint of heart; consequently, I cannot refund your investment at this time. I suggest that you either hold on to the investment until it rebounds or shift the remainder of your investment to a safer fund. If you wish to examine these alternatives, give me a call. I appreciate your business and hope we can continue to work together.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step

Acknowledge the customer's problem and show that you understand his or her point of view.

How to answer a legal complaint

When a property owner is served with a summons and complaint for foreclosure, it is essential that an answer be filed. Failure to answer can result in a waiver of valuable defenses, and can result a default judgment of foreclosure against you.

(a) Preparing Your Answer:

American state courts use the concept of “notice” pleading. This means that the only needs to put the plaintiff on notice as to the nature of the defendant/property owner’s defenses. I need not contained detailed or lengthy recitations of law or underlying facts. However, certain “affirmative defenses” must be set forth in the answer. Otherwise, they may be waived. An “affirmative defense” generally involves some new issue or matter that is beyond the plaintiff’s pleading, but which constitutes a defense to the plaintiff’s cause of action.

Your answer should contain a clear, brief response to each of the paragraphs of the lender’s Foreclosure Complaint. If your answer does not contain a response to a particular paragraph, it may be deemed admitted by the court. Then, you should set forth your affirmative defenses. Some of the more common affirmative defenses utilized by property owners in their answers to foreclosure complaints include:

You were encouraged by the lender or a broker to exaggerate your income on your loan application;

You were the victim of a bait-and switch with regard to the terms of the loan;

The lender misinformed you regarding the loan’s Annual Percentage Rate (APR), finance charge(s), amount financed, total of payments or schedule of payments;

A contractor started the loan as part of a home repair contract

You have your own insurance, and the lender has added an insurance premium to your account (force-placed insurance). Note: In certain situations, forced insurance may be legal;

The lender has not applied all your payments to your account;

The lender or assignee of the lender did not comply with pre-action notice requirements;

Your loan was assigned from the original lending institute to another entity, and there are questions as to whether the Plaintiff has standing to pursue foreclosure.

Particularly in light of the recent statutory changes that have been implemented by various state legislatures to provide protections to property owners, it is entirely possible that you will be able to successfully defend against a lender’s foreclosure lawsuit, even if you owe substantial arrears. In many instances, lenders have not provided notices in the form and manner required by state law. In other instances, lenders are unable to locate documents that are required for them to establish their legal standing to foreclose. The bottom line: it almost always beneficial for a property owner to file an answer to the lender’s foreclosure complaint.

(b) Time Period for Filing and Serving the Answer:

It is critical that an answer be filed within the required time frame under the rules of your state.

Most states require the lender set forth, within the lawsuit paperwork (within the Complaint, on a cover sheet or on the Summons) how long a borrower has to file his or her Answer to the foreclosure complaint.

Whether a date is stated or not, the Answer usually must be filed within 20-30 days from the date served. If an Answer is not filed, the lender can move for default judgment, which means the borrower has waived his or her defenses to the foreclosure lawsuit.

(c) The Form of Your Answer:

Each jurisdiction has different requirements regarding the precise language and form of pleadings. Accordingly, unless you are familiar with the pleading styles and requirements acceptable in your jurisdiction, you should utilize a sample answer form, such as those which are available for download on our web site. Our samples have the additional advantage of setting forth state-specific affirmative defenses. Obviously, no model form can be simply copied for use in your case, because the complaints served by lenders’ attorneys are not identical. However, a model foreclosure answer can serve as a guide for you and give you valuable information regarding defenses and laws that are specific to your jurisdiction.

How to answer a legal complaint

“Hello, Melissa. We appreciate the update on the shipment. However, we would like to note that by the time it arrives, it will have been more than 60 days. This is unacceptable according to our contract. We’d like to know how you plan to fix this.”

This is a real complaint to a real company. In fact, it is my complaint. I wrote this recently in an email to a company. However, after making my complaint, I haven’t had a response from the company. It’s very disappointing.

That is not good customer service. Ignoring the problem may only make it worse.

I understand though. Responding to a complaint is awful. It’s uncomfortable and stressful. No one likes to chat with an angry customer.

But, whether it’s in an email, a telephone call, or face-to-face, it is important to respond correctly so you don’t lose a client.

If you need to do this — in English — I want you to know how to respond to complaints the right way. In today’s Confident English lesson, you’ll learn the language and rules you need to respond politely and have less stress.

Contacting an experienced litigation attorney as soon as possible once you have been served with a complaint is extremely important as in most cases you will only have 30 calendar days to file your answer with the court.

An experienced litigation attorney will meet with you to discuss your situation as well as review the complaint. They will then decide on the appropriate response to the complaint. If the complaint is defective in some manner they may decide that the best course of action is to file a demurrer or motion to strike instead of filing an answer. If the complaint is not defective they will draft and prepare your answer to the complaint.

California law permits unverified complaints unless a specific statute or code provides otherwise, although any complaint may be verified at the option of plaintiff. Civil complaints in California can be either unverified or verified.

The law in California states that if a complaint is verified the answer to the complaint must be verified. California law also states that any answer to a complaint filed by a governmental entity must be verified. See Code of Civil Procedure § 446. These rules only apply in unlimited civil cases in which the demand of the complaint exceeds $25,000.00.

Verified answers must admit or deny each and every paragraph of the complaint, and must also contain a verification signed by the defendant or defendants stating that they have read the answer and everything contained therein is true and correct to the best of their knowledge. The verification must be signed under penalty of perjury. Failing to verify your answer when one is required will subject the answer to a motion to strike on the grounds that it is not verified.

In your answer to a verified complaint you must admit or deny each and every paragraph of the complaint or deny on the basis of lack of information or belief. Your attorney will go over the complaint with you and tell them what your response is to each and every paragraph.

Your answer must be carefully reviewed as any allegations of a verified complaint that are not specifically denied are deemed admitted.

Answering an unverified complaint in California is much easier as the law in California states that you can answer the complaint with a general denial in which you generally deny all of the allegations of the complaint.

Your attorney will also include what are known as affirmative defenses which they will draft specifically for your answer based on your unique circumstances. An experienced litigation attorney will avoid the use of “boilerplate” affirmative defenses as that type of answer may be objected to on the grounds that the answer fails to state facts sufficient to state any defenses to the complaint.

Common affirmative defenses include:

The statute of limitation which means that the plaintiff has waited too long to file the lawsuit against you.

Failure to state a cause of action which means that the plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to constitute a cause of action.

Unclean hands which means that the plaintiff has engaged in conduct that should prevent them from winning their case.

Other affirmative defenses include accord and satisfaction, lack of consideration, waiver, laches, and estoppel.

An experienced attorney will draft an answer for you that will meet all of the specific requirements that California law requires for an answer. For example your attorney will ensure that your various affirmative defenses are separately stated and that they refer to the causes of action to which they relate in a manner by which they may be intelligently distinguished. These requirements are imposed by Code of Civil Procedure § 431.30(g).


Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.

When a service provider doesn’t meet their expectations, patients may submit a complaint. Maintain or regain their trust by crafting a compassionate patient complaint letter response.

Even when you strive to provide the best possible care to patients, residents and clients, things don’t always go as planned. When you don’t meet their expectations, frustrated patients may submit a complaint to your organization. In order to maintain or regain their trust, craft your patient complaint letter response in a professional, compassionate way.

Why Patients Complain

When they submit a complaint to your organization, patients aren’t always just looking to rant. Following an interaction that doesn’t go as planned, they may want:

  • further information about, and/or an apology for, their negative experience
  • to know about the steps you’ve taken to reduce the risk of a similar experience happening in the future
  • someone to accept accountability for their experience
  • compensation or waived fees for their perceived suffering

The Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada explains that “no matter what the cause, unmet expectations, poor communication and a level of dissatisfaction are often at the root of these complaints.”

Steps to Respond to a Patient Complaint Letter

After you receive a patient complaint, launch an investigation into their concerns. Interview staff who cared for the patient or resident. Perform this step as quickly as possible, when the experience is still fresh in their minds. Remember, though, to only disclose the patient’s personal and medical information in accordance with privacy laws.

In addition, collect information about the complainant’s experience. For example, if they complained about long wait times, find data about the volume of patients during their visit. Based on your investigation, take action (if possible) to reduce the risk of the negative experience happening again.

Next, start drafting your patient complaint letter response. Respond first in writing, but invite the complainant to contact you for a face-to-face meeting, if warranted. Send your response as quickly as possible to keep a small issue from growing into a formal complaint, or even a lawsuit.

Download our free eBook to learn how case management software can help you manage complaints effectively.

Patient Complaint Letter Response Structure

First, open your letter with a courteous and professional salutation. Add a subject line to acknowledge that you received the complaint.

Next, explain the purpose of your letter, referencing the concerns they shared in their complaint letter. Then apologize for the patient’s experience. If someone has passed away, express your condolences.

In the body of your reply, explain that you have investigated the patient’s concerns and share the outcomes of your review. Explain why each issue they experience happened. Add the lessons your organization has learned as a result of the complaint. Include steps you’re taking to prevent the issue from happening again, too. Express your regret again.

Finally, finish your patient complaint letter response with an offer of further contact. Share contact information they can use should they have additional questions or concerns.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do proofread well. A response rife with misspelled words or a sloppy layout makes it look like you don’t care. Ask a colleague to review your reply before you send it.

Don’t be confrontational or defensive . Even if you think the patient is in the wrong, acknowledge their concerns. Often, people just want to feel heard, so dismissing their complaint could escalate a minor problem.

Do show compassion. Take an empathetic tone and apologize for the distress the patient feels.

Don’t take patient complaint letter responses lightly. Should a patient file a legal claim against your organization, your response could be used in court. At best, a dissatisfied patient could post your reply online with negative commentary to “call you out.”

Do stay professional. You’re sending a patient complaint response letter on behalf of your institution, so make sure it’s professional. A respectful tone, clean appearance and timely delivery are essential.

Don’t share sensitive information. Follow privacy laws when referencing the patient’s personal and medical information. Additionally, don’t reference staff performance (i.e. if the nurse who was short with them got fired) to protect their privacy.

Do present the facts. Stay as objective as you can, sharing factual information about your investigation into their concern. Passing judgements or expressing opinions will only aggravate the patient more.

Don’t write a complicated response. Maintain clear and consistent formatting throughout the letter. Avoid using medical jargon. Opt for plain language instead.

Don’t dismiss their concerns. Even if the patient’s concern seems minor to you, they were displeased enough to write you a letter about it, so don’t shrug it off. Launch an investigation and send an apology to every complainant.

In your answer to a debt collection complaint, you should respond to each of the complaint’s allegations with a brief, numbered paragraph

(a) What happens if I do not respond after being served with a complaint?

If someone does not file an answer after being served with a complaint, he or she may be held in default. This means that a default judgment may be entered against them for the relief demanded in the complaint. The time period for answering differs depending on the specific jurisdiction, court and nature of the case. However, in most cases, a defendant has between 20 to 30 days to respond. To avoid being held in default, a defendant needs to: (a) prepare an answer; (b) send a copy of the answer to the plaintiff’s attorney (or directly to the plaintiff if the plaintiff is self-represented); and (c) file the original answer with the court, with proof of service.

(b) What should I include in an answer?

Your answer sets forth, in brief, numbered paragraphs, your position regarding each of the allegations contained in the Plaintiff’s complaint. For detailed information regarding the contents and form of an answer, read the Answering a Complaint section of our site.

(c) Other than Denying the Allegations in the Complaint, What Should I do to Respond?

It is common for answer forms to set forth what are known as “affirmative defenses”. In fact, it is essential to set forth any applicable affirmative defense, because failure to include it in your answer might result in a waiver of that defense! The answer forms that are available for download on our site include affirmative defenses that may be appropriate for you based on your locality and the nature of the complaint to which you are responding. Some of the most important affirmative defenses include:

  • Lack of personal jurisdiction;
  • Improper venue;
  • Accord and satisfaction;
  • Statute of Limitations;
  • Assumption of the risk;
  • Unclean hands;
  • Fraud;
  • Duress;
  • Payment

(d) What is a counterclaim?

“The best defense is a good offense”
A counterclaim is a claim presented by the defendant against the plaintiff. Depending on the state in which your case is pending, a counterclaim may be “compulsory” or “permissive”. A compulsory counterclaim is a cause of action that must be included in your answer. Typically, compulsory counterclaims are those that arise from the same occurrence or transaction that is the subject of the complaint. A permissive counterclaim is a claim against the plaintiff that arises from something other than the occurrence which is alleged in the complaint. A permissive counterclaim may – but does not have to be – included as part of the answer form.

(e) What happens after I file my answer with the court?

In most instances, you will receive a notice by mail advising of your initial court date. Typically, that is not for trial but, rather, for an initial conference. The initial court conference usually involves scheduling matters, such as discovery (the exchange of document demands, interrogatories, depositions, etc.).

What Can You Do if a Defendant Does Not Respond to a Legal Complaint or Summons?

In Pennsylvania, if you’ve suffered injuries in an accident that was caused due to another person’s fault, you may be entitled to damages. In some cases, however, the potentially liable defendant may attempt to avoid civil liability by remaining unresponsive to your legal complaint against them, or by failing to appear for a court hearing.

For example, you might file a legitimate lawsuit against the defendant for injuries suffered in a car accident, and serve proper notice upon them (in accordance with Pennsylvania law), but the defendant does not respond to your complaint within the applicable deadline period.

Fortunately, plaintiffs have the right to obtain a default judgment in circumstances where the defendant is unavailable or is otherwise attempting to avoid the dispute altogether. Assuming that service was properly made, you may request that the court enter a default judgment in your favor.

Default judgments are actually quite beneficial for injured plaintiffs. In fact, default judgments are “automatic wins,” so to speak. As the defendant has not responded to the complaint or summons, they cannot dispute your arguments.

Requesting Entry of Default

In Pennsylvania, if you have effected proper service of a complaint or summons upon the defendant at-issue, and the defendant fails to answer within the applicable deadline, then you may request an entry of default. Pennsylvania courts will not grant you an award of damages without proof, however. You will have to present evidence that supports your claim for damages, and the evidence must be sufficiently specific and certain such that the court can properly calculate the damages.

Default Judgments May Be Vacated

It’s worth noting that — generally speaking — courts are not overly fond of the default judgment option. It is, after all, desirable for each party involved in the case (plaintiff and defendant) to have their day in court.

As such, even if default judgment has been granted in your favor, there is a risk that the defendant will obtain relief from the default judgment and have it vacated. In order to do so, however, the defendant will have to show that they had a reasonable excuse for failing to respond in a reasonable timeframe, and that their defense has at least some legal merit.

Speak With Our Experienced Bethlehem Personal Injury Lawyers for Further Guidance

If you’ve been seriously injured due to a defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, then Pennsylvania law may give you the right to recover damages as compensation for your various losses. Unfortunately, some defendants may not be responsive to your legal complaint — whether out of a misguided belief that they will be able to avoid judgment by doing so, or simply out of laziness — and as such, you may have to request a default judgment against them.

Since 1985, the team of experienced Bethlehem personal injury lawyers here at Drake Hileman & Davis, PC have advocated tirelessly on behalf on injured plaintiffs throughout the state of Pennsylvania, helping them secure damages in a range of disputes — including those that involve absentee or otherwise unresponsive defendants. We are well-equipped to successfully obtain a default judgment where appropriate.

Call (888) 777-7098 or submit an online claim form today to schedule a free consultation with one of the experienced attorneys here at Drake Hileman & Davis, PC. We look forward to providing assistance with your claims.


How to answer a legal complaint How to answer a legal complaint How to answer a legal complaint How to answer a legal complaint How to answer a legal complaint


“Drake, Hileman & Davis drew up a will for my wife and I. Nobody likes thinking about that stuff, but they made it easy. Great service, reasonable rates. When you need a lawyer’s help, these are the guys to go to.”
Posted By: Dan Brady

Don’t ignore the Copyright Infringement Notice.

Don’t immediately call the copyright holder and/or the copyright holder’s lawyer.

The reason for this is simple – anything you say can and will be used against you.

On that call, if you were to in any way admit fault for the violation, they could use that information against you in a way that could dramatically increase the amount of damages that you or your company is liable.

Know what you’re up against, but don’t panic.

Cease and Desist & Minimal Fees

Litigation & Statutory Damages

Generally, litigation will lead to statutory damages.

Investigate the claims made against you or your company.

There are a lot of factual questions you’ll need to answer before you can determine a clear course of action. You will need this information regardless of whether you choose to answer the letter yourself or if you decided to work with a lawyer.

Facts about the copyright infringement

Look into the following issues:

  • Where did the images (or other copyrighted material) come from?
  • Do you or your company have a valid license to be using the material (see “How do I properly use third-party copyrighted content in my Twitch stream” for more information)?
  • What is the license of the copyrighted material? Is there anywhere online that it may be listed under a “Creative Commons” license?
  • Was the license potentially purchased under another individual’s name or a different company name?
  • Could the license have been purchased by a designer or another independent contractor?
  • Could the license have been purchased under the name of another employee?

Even if the answer to these questions does not help your case, it is crucial that you work to obtain this information. Understanding your present circumstances is half the battle (and also useful for your lawyer).

Facts about the copyright holders case

Things to investigate include:

  • Has the copyright holder waited an unreasonable long time to enforce their copyright claim?
  • Has the copyright holder waited so long to enforce their rights that the statutory period has run out?
  • Does the copyright holder have a validly filed copyright and/or did they at the time you used the image?

Write and send a response to the cease and desist letter.

Note: This information is given for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. It is recommended that you seek the advice of legal counsel in your state.

Question: I was served notice of a foreclosure complaint against me. I can’t afford an attorney – How do I file an answer?

Answer: It is best to have a professional assist you but sometimes that isn’t feasible. You can ask for help from the court the notice was filed in or you may be able to find a copy of a similar answer on public record and use it as a template to create an answer yourself. The legal notice you received will typically have instructions on where to send your answer. It will usually have a short time deadline also. You will typically be required to send a copy to the lenders attorney. You can usually file your answer at no cost at the courthouse (by mail or in person) It is a good idea to send or take two copies for the court to stamp so you will have a copy for your records. Contact the court listed in the complaint for exact instructions. Be sure to act quickly – the deadlines for filing an answer are usually 20 days from reciect or less.
or less.

If you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, it is important to understand that the foreclosure process may not stop while you are negotiating with your lender to work out a loan modification, short sale or other arrangements.

Even if you are already in the process of working out a solution with your bank, you may receieve formal (legal) notice that the foreclosure process has begun. The following is an example of an answer to foreclosure complaint:



CASE NUMBER: 10-67534 CI

Defendent(s): John Doe, Sr ET AL

Altamonte Springs, FL 32701


I, the Defendant, as and for my Answer to the Complaint, state as follows:

1. I admit that I signed a note and mortgage.

2. I am without knowledge as to whether the Plaintiff is the lawful holder of the Note or
the Mortgage. Therefore, I deny the allegation.

3. I am without sufficient knowledge as to whether the amounts demanded as amounts due
are accurate. Therefore we deny the allegation.

4. I admit receiving a default notice. I am witout knowledge as to whether the default notice is lawful.
Therefore, I deny that the default notice is lawful.


I deny that the Plaintiff should be able to foreclose on my home for the following reasons:

I have requested that the lender allow me to participate in the borrower assistance programs currently available to me.


I, the defendent, respectfully request the Court dismiss the Complaint or in the alternative, order mediation in the above referenced case and or allow me the opportunity to further pursue a loan work out with the lender as an alternative to a final judgment of Foreclosure Sale of the property located at

4782 MAIN STREET NORTH Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Or, in the alternative, set this matter for a hearing, and for such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper under the circumstances.

I swear that the information contained in the foregoing Answer is true and correct to the best of my information and belief.

How to answer a legal complaint

This blog post will discuss answering a verified complaint in California.

A verified complaint is a complaint that has been verified by the plaintiff or their attorney verifying that the facts stated in the complaint are true. The verification is typically found at the end of the complaint and any attached exhibits.

Most civil complaints in California are not verified unless there is a particular statute or code that requires that a particular cause of action be verified. However I want to point out that any plaintiff can choose to verify their complaint. Although this blog post will refer to an answer to a complaint the same principles discussed here also apply to cross-complaints.

If a complaint is verified the answer must be verified and any answer to a complaint filed by a governmental entity must be verified whether or not the complaint is verified pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 446.

Note that this rule only applies to unlimited civil cases, where the demand of the complaint exceeds $25,000.00.

If you are answering a verified complaint in California you must admit or deny each and every paragraph of the complaint, and you must also include a verification signed by the defendant or defendants or their attorney stating that they have read the answer and everything contained therein is true and correct to the best of their knowledge. The verification must be signed under penalty of perjury. I want to stress that failure to file a verified answer when one is required will subject the answer to a motion to strike on the grounds that it is not verified.

As stated earlier, defendant must admit or deny each and every paragraph of the complaint.

Admissions or denials generally consist of the following:

A. Defendant denies the allegations of paragraph 1. (example only).

B. Defendant admits the allegations of paragraph 2. (example only).

C. Defendant has no information or belief that the allegations of paragraph 3 are true so defendant denies them. (example only).

Any allegations of the complaint that are not specifically denied are considered admitted so it is critical that all of the allegations of the complaint that can be truthfully denied are in fact denied.

An answer’s “failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a defense” may be raised at any time (i.e., no waiver). But the other grounds for challenging the sufficiency of the answer must be raised by demurrer, or are automatically waived. See Code of Civil Procedure § 430.80(b).

However an answer should also contain specific affirmative defenses that are tailored to the individual case. This is due to the fact that an answer that contains nothing but “boilerplate” affirmative defenses is vulnerable to a demurrer on the grounds that the answer fails to state facts sufficient to state any defenses to the complaint.

A California Court of Appeal ruled in the case of FPI Development, Inc vs. A1 Nakashima, (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 367, 384 that the affirmative defenses alleged in an answer to a complaint must be pled in the same fashion, and with the same specificity, as a cause of action in a complaint. Because conclusory allegations are not admitted by demurrer, and because conclusory allegations have no pleading value, conclusory and “boilerplate” affirmative defenses are insufficient.

I suggest avoiding the use of generic or “boilerplate” affirmative defenses whenever possible.

Sample answer to verified complaint in California for sale.

Attorneys or parties in California who wish to view a portion of a sample answer to a verified complaint for sale by the author can see below.

Over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation for sale.

To view more information on over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation visit:

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is an entrepreneur and retired litigation paralegal that worked in California and Federal litigation from January 1995 through September 2017 and has created over 300 sample legal documents for sale.

Do you want to use this article on your website, blog or e-zine? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Stan Burman is the author of over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation and is the author of a free weekly legal newsletter. You can receive 10 free gifts just for subscribing. Just visit for more information.

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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.

The 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.

You can either answer the summons in writing or in person. If you answer in person, you must go to the courthouse clerk’s office and tell the clerk about your defenses to the plaintiff’s claims. The clerk will check off the boxes in a Consumer Credit Transaction Answer In Person form. You will get a copy of this form when the clerk is done, and you should double-check the information the clerk wrote down. If everything is correct, the clerk will then send a copy of your answer to the plaintiff.

If you choose to answer the summons in writing, you can either use the free form offered by the court, or you can create your own form. If you create your own form for the answer, it must be either typed or neatly handwritten. Also, your written answer must be “verified,” which means you are saying everything in the answer is true. In order to verify the answer, you must sign it in front of a notary public or the court clerk. You can also assert a counterclaim against the plaintiff if you think the creditor owes you money.

Before you take your written answer to the clerk for filing, you should make a copy of it. Give the answer and one copy of the answer to the court clerk. The clerk will give one copy to the plaintiff and return one copy to you. When you go to court to see the judge, you should bring your copy with you.

There are several different defenses you can assert in your answer, depending on the facts of your situation, including:

  • You do not owe the money;
  • You are the victim of identity theft ;
  • You already paid the debt;
  • The amount of the debt is incorrect;
  • The plaintiff does not own the debt;
  • The plaintiff has no license to collect the debt;
  • The complaint does not show the debt collection license number;
  • The statute of limitations has passed and the debt is too old to collect;
  • The debt was discharged in bankruptcy;
  • The agreement related to the debt is unconscionable, or shockingly unfair;
  • You are in the military;
  • Your debt arose out of work done by a home improvement contractor who was not licensed and/or had you sign a defective contract according to the home improvement statutes.

Legal Editors: Steven Bennett and David Kassell, July 2015

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

Have you been served with a lawsuit? Being sued can be one of the most stressful and frustrating experiences in life. First of all, don’t panic! But do not simply ignore the lawsuit. Responding to the lawsuit is the first and one of the most important steps in a lawsuit. If you don’t file a timely response, the person who sued you can win by default. By filing a response, you begin defending yourself by telling the court that you contest the allegations in the in the complaint. This forces the plaintiff to prove their case and gives you your “day in court.”

The most common steps involved in responding to a lawsuit are as follows:

STEP 1 – Call an Attorney Immediately. An attorney experienced in defending against the type of lawsuit you’ve been served with will undoubtedly be the best tool in your defense toolbox. Lawyers are knowledgeable about the procedures involved in lawsuits and skilled at making persuasive arguments to a judge or a jury in your defense. An attorney can also help you try to settle the case out of court as an alternative.

STEP 2 – Determine When a Response is Due. You must file a response by a certain deadline. The summons on the front page of the court documents should include a notice of time limit to file a response. For most civil lawsuits, a defendant usually has either twenty (20) or thirty (30) days to file a response with the court, however some cases have very short deadlines (for example some eviction lawsuits may have a three (3) or five (5) day deadline to respond). The summons will contain the information about the court where the lawsuit is filed and you can call the clerk for more information about the deadline. DO NOT wait until the last minute to contact an attorney as the attorney will need time to adequately prepare a response in time.

STEP 3 – Decide Which Kind of Response to File. There are a variety of responses that can be filed with the court in response to a complaint. An attorney who is skilled in defending lawsuits may suggest certain responses based on the specific nature of the complaint such as a motion to transfer the lawsuit to a new “venue” (location), a motion to “quash” an improper service of process, a “demurrer” (stating that the allegations in the lawsuit are not legally sufficient for the plaintiff to sue you), or other kinds of responses. However, the most common response to a civil lawsuit is called an “Answer” (some other name depending on the state). An Answer is a written document in which a defendant admits or denies the allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint and sets forth the reasons why the defendant should not be liable. Any statements contained in the complaint that are not denied in an Answer are deemed by the court to be true. In an Answer, all “affirmative defenses” must also be raised. An “affirmative defense” is any statement of fact or law that would be a defense to the allegations. Common examples of “affirmative defense” include (1) “statute of limitations” – the time period allowed under law to bring the lawsuit has expired; (2) “assumption of risk” – that the plaintiff knowingly exposed him/herself to the danger or harm; and (3) “accord and satisfaction” – that the parties have already settled the dispute. Affirmative defenses usually have to be raised in the Answer or else they are deemed to be “waived” and the defendant will not be able to rely on them later.

STEP 4 – Send a Copy of the Response to the Plaintiff. A copy of the response you filed with the court must be sent to the plaintiff and/or the plaintiff’s attorney. Most courts require you submit a “proof of service” to the court.

NEXT STEPS – After you have filed a response to the lawsuit, your attorney will begin discussions with the plaintiff’s lawyer to explore settlement opportunities. In the meantime, the parties will engage in the discovery phase, which is the exchange of relevant information about the underlying dispute. Throughout the process there are usually hearings scheduled with the judge to try to keep the case moving along efficiently. Settlement negotiations may be ongoing as well. While most cases settle out of court, if the parties can not reach an agreeable settlement then the case will usually go to trial where either and a judge or a jury will decide who should prevail.

Have you recently been served with a lawsuit for debt collection? If so, you may be wondering how to proceed.

Here, we will examine the best practices for immediately after you are served with a debt collection lawsuit, as well as what to do throughout your response to ensure the best possible outcome. As always, the best advice you’ll find will come from an experienced legal professional, so after browsing this article, be sure to give your local attorney a call!

First Steps: How to Respond to a Debt Collection Lawsuit

When most people who are served with a debt collection lawsuit first receive notice thereof, they are shocked, upset, or offended. They may feel the need to ignore or respond hatefully to being served, or to immediately attempt to argue the facts of their case.

This is not legally prudent. If you have a strong defense, your attorney will help you build and present it in court if necessary. Your first response should be one of calm, clear thought. Answer with the appropriate documentation promptly and correctly. Try not to take the case personally.

It is important to remember that you are not legally obligated to answer the complaint against you when served with a debt collection suit, but if you plan to defend yourself in any capacity you must do so. If not, a judgment will be entered against you automatically. This means that whoever entered the complaint against you will win by default, receiving everything they have asked for in the complaint.

What Happens if You Can’t Afford to Pay Your Debt?

Some people who are served with a debt collection lawsuit may hold out hope that an inability to pay their debt partially or in full will save them from having to do so. This isn’t the case.

Regardless of whether you can afford to repay your debt or not, you are still legally obligated to do so. Even if you have already agreed to a smaller amount and have been making regular payments to that end, if an entity files a complaint and wins their case against you, the amount that they win from that case will be added to what you have already paid and what you currently owe them. The inability to pay is never a defense in the case of a debt collection lawsuit.

What Can Be Done to Contest a Complaint?

All of this so far makes it seem like you have to sit down and accept whatever is said in a complaint against you in a debt collection lawsuit, but that isn’t necessarily true. There are many ways in which a defendant can refute or disprove what is being said against them – and many ways that a complaint against you might not really be against you, at all.

First, when a complaint is served, it may have multiple names attached to it. If the debt is not yours, it may still be served to you in connection with the debt of a spouse, partner, or other connected entity. This is simply to ensure that the complaint receives the proper attention. You should still respond to the complaint appropriately, since your response is your chance to answer for what is or is not your responsibility regarding the debt.

To that end, the summons you receive along with the complaint will detail your rights regarding your defense. These include:

  1. Your right to defend or explain yourself.
  2. The right to take up to twenty days from the day you or someone in your household first receives the complaint in writing to respond to it. (Not twenty days from the date it is issued.)
  3. Your right to refute information in the complaint if it is inaccurate.

Likewise, the summons will also detail how and where to respond. You can either submit a notice of appearance, or an answer to the complaint.

A notice of appearance simply states that you will be appearing in court as part of the lawsuit and stops any default judgment from being entered against you as a result. It does nothing to explain your position in the suit or defend your stance. This is the job of your answer.

How to and Why Submit an Answer?

You may wonder what the importance of submitting an answer to this type of complaint is, especially if the other party already knows your reply. If you are guilty of the debt detailed in the complaint, you may be upset, embarrassed, or just want to forget about that part of your life. Even if you’re willing to repay the debt, you may not feel like replying to the complaint.

It is still prudent to do so. An answer helps you to retain your rights in the case and allows you to stay informed of any further or future litigation surrounding it.

In a proper answer to a debt collection lawsuit complaint and summons, you should type or clearly write your response. The common responses are that you either admit, deny, or lack knowledge of the statements being made against you. You will be required to answer for each statement being made.

It is important that you do your best to answer honestly and correctly. If you truly do not know or remember what is being discussed or suggested, claiming to lack knowledge of the statement is generally the best response. Remember to always retain one copy of your answer for your records and submit the other promptly as the summons outlines.

Still not sure what to do in response to your debt collection lawsuit? Contact the experts at the Van Horn Law Group. These legal professionals have the skill and experience you need to navigate the process with ease and stay stress-free while doing it. There’s no need to let being served with a lawsuit make you feel helpless or hopeless. Give your local legal pros a call and get on the right track to defense success!

In the legal process, an “answer” refers to a written response filed by a defendant to a plaintiff’s complaint or petition. The answer, also called a “response” in some situations, typically denies the accusations made, or facts stated, by the plaintiff. The defendant may also include facts in an attempt to justify his actions, or to make a counterclaim against the plaintiff. The defendant’s answer must be filed with the court within a specified time limit, usually 30 days, or risk having a default judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff. Filing an answer is the defendant’s first step in a civil lawsuit. To explore this concept, consider the following answer definition.

Definition of Answer

  1. A legal pleading in which a party to a lawsuit responds to the opponent’s statement of position.
  2. A defendant’s replay to charges made by a plaintiff, or the plaintiff’s complaint.


1st Century AD Old English andswerian

The Complaint

When an individual or entity seeks to initiate a civil lawsuit, the first step is to file a complaint, also called a “petition” in some situations, with the court. The complaint outlines the plaintiff’s allegations against the defendant, and states the damages or relief that they are asking the court to grant them. The exact information stated in a complaint varies in each situation, but every jurisdiction has certain specific information that must be stated, including identifying information about all parties to the lawsuit, the court of jurisdiction, the filing date, and the reason for the lawsuit.

Summons and Answer

At the time the complaint is filed with the court, a summons is issued to be personally served on the defendant with the complaint. The summons formally advises the defendant of the lawsuit against him, and advises him how long he has to file an answer with the court. In the event a hearing has already been scheduled, the date and time will be provided on either the summons or complaint. In the event the defendant fails to file an answer within the specified time limit, and a default judgment is entered, the court may award whatever damages the plaintiff has requested.

Preparing an Answer to the Complaint

Preparing an answer to the complaint gives the defendant an opportunity to provide his version of events and facts of the dispute. The defendant can state which, if any, facts he agrees with, and add any that he feels have been left out. The defendant may include a counterclaim or cross-complaint if desired, though some additional documents may be needed for this, depending on the local rules of court.

Filing a Counterclaim or Cross-Complaint

In many civil disputes, both parties feel they have been wronged, and that the other owes them some type of remuneration. When one party files a lawsuit in civil court, the other party may file a counterclaim or cross-complaint, stating how he feels the original petitioner wronged him. This keeps the matter in one court, before a single judge. A counterclaim is a direct claim filed against the original plaintiff or petitioner. A cross-complaint is used in situations in which there are more than two parties involved.

For example, a homeowner sues both the contractor and subcontractor responsible for remodeling his bathroom. The subcontractor feels that the fault lies solely with the contractor, who provided faulty materials. The subcontractor could file a cross-complaint against the contractor.

Asbury Transportation Company v Brewer

The case of Asbury Transportation Co. v Brewer involved a 1963 accident in which a Mack truck owned by John Brewer hit a road grader owned by Asbury Transportation Company. Asbury sued Brewer for damages caused by the accident, but Brewer claimed that an aluminum disc wheel on the truck had collapsed. He claimed that, because Reliable Automotive had sold him the truck with an oral warranty that the truck was free of defects, that company should be held liable.

Brewer filed a cross-complaint against Reliable Automotive, as well as the manufacturer of the truck’s brakes, claiming that company was negligent in fabrication and sale of the wheels. The court found that neither cross complaint was valid, and ruled that Brewer was at fault for the accident.

Related Legal Terms and Issues

  • Civil Lawsuit – A lawsuit brought about in court when one person claims to have suffered a loss due to the actions of another person.
  • Damages – A monetary award in compensation for a financial loss, loss of or damage to personal or real property, or an injury.
  • Default Judgment – A judgment entered against a party who has failed to respond to a lawsuit or other legal action against him.
  • Defendant – A party against whom a lawsuit has been filed in civil court, or who has been accused of, or charged with, a crime or offense.
  • Plaintiff – A person who brings a legal action against another person or entity, such as in a civil lawsuit, or criminal proceedings.
  • Summons – An order or citation to appear in court, or to appear before a judge or magistrate.

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