Saturday, September 24, 2011

How To File An Answer to a Complaint

“I was served last month with this Complaint thing and I think I need to do something,” or so many telephone conversations have gone over the years.

I am surprised how, out of lack of knowledge, paralysis or just fear, many business owners and individuals just panic when they are formally served with a complaint.   They just do nothing.

“When is the answer due?”  I will ask.

“Um.  Tomorrow, I think.” they will say.

And so it goes.  

Then the panic sets in.  

If you fail to file a written answer, you will be in default.  [1]

So, file an answer.  Almost any written answer is better than no answer.

While an answer does take some time to prepare, a Motion to Open a Default is a much more dicey affair.  A defendant has to show they were not served, or they were not served properly or there was some legal form of excusable neglect (like they were in the ICU or were dead for awhile).  It is an uphill battle to open a default.

Do not rely on this Blog, but instead read your Summons.  Generally, in Georgia a defendant has thirty (30) days from the date of service of a Complaint [2] to file a written answer with the Clerk of Court. [3]  If you miss the 30 day window, all is not lost.  A Defendant may move (as a matter of right – you do not have to ask the Court or Judge) to open default by paying all costs associated with Plaintiff’s filing of the Complaint and filing a Motion to Open Default (which will be granted as a matter of right) pursuant to the Official Code of Georgia (hereinafter the “OCGA”) 9-11-55 [4].  

There are certain complaints that may be heard prior to thirty (30) days.   Any type of injunction hearing probably will be heard prior to the thirty (30) days.  An answer to a Writ of Possession Suit (Eviction) is due within Seven (7) days.  And an answer in federal court (this article is not about a federal pleadings) is due within twenty one (21) days of service. [5].

While there is no particular “style,” in which the answer must  be prepared (see the OCGA for the vague outline), it must be in writing, it must respond (paragraph by paragraph) to the Complaint and it must be filed with the Clerk prior to the time for Default.

In a Georgia State or Superior Court the below template of an answer may be conformed to your particular needs.


While I am reticent to cite to another States Court system, the Judiciary of the State of New Jersey has prepared a rather comprehensive overview for the filing of a civil answer in New Jersey.  While the dates for filing an answer and other pleadings differ in New Jersey (for example, you have 35 days and have to pay a fee to file in New Jersey) from Georgia, the document s is a well written overview of how to prepare a general answer.


Affirmative Defenses. 

There are some things that must be included in your answer or they are waived or abandoned.   They are things like: accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, assumption of risk, contributory negligence, discharge in bankruptcy, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, waiver, and any other matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense. Generally, Affirmative Defenses are listed Prior to the response in a paragraph by paragraph format.  However, they may be listed anywhere in the answer.  [6]

Counterclaims and Cross-claims.

You really should consult an attorney if you feel compelled to assert a counterclaim or cross-claim.  I would avoid mentioning the counterclaim, except that if you have a compulsory counterclaim you must file it with your answer or lose it.   If the counterclaim arises out of the same set of facts as the complaint, it generally is compulsive and you must file it or lose it.   If it is some other set of unrelated facts but still about the same Plaintiff (Hey, he owes me $200,000 on a different piece of real estate) then it is probably a permissive counterclaim and may be filed with the answer or later as a separate complaint.   Here is the statute that sets out base meanings for same.  [7]

Don’t Argue Your Side of the Story in Your Answer.

An answer is NOT the place to argue your case or argue why your side of the “story,” is the correct side of the story.   Simply, admit or deny the claims made by the Plaintiff and sit down.  The time for your side of the story (unless you include brief outlines of same in your Affirmative Defenses and/or your Counterclaim) will come later in the lawsuit.  You will have plenty of opportunities to tell the Judge and Court how “wrong,” the Plaintiff facts are and how much of error it was for the Plaintiff to sue you.

While this little article may provide a place to start working on an answer, I would encourage the reader to hire counsel or review resources concerning Civil Procedure prior to preparing and filing an answer.



Hugh Wood, Wood & Meredith, LLP
3756 LaVista Road
Suite 250
Atlanta (Tucker), GA 30084

www.woodandmeredith.com
hwood@woodandmeredith.com
www.hughwood.blogspot.com
twitter: USALawyer_
Phone: 404-633-4100
Fax: 404-633-0068

















ENDNOTES
 


[1]

This Article is for those who have waited to late to hire an attorney to file the answer or are simply going to file an answer on their own.  If you file an answer on your own, the Court will formally refer to you as a Pro Se Defendant.   This Article is only about Georgia law.   Although any written answer is better than no answer, check your own state's civil procedure prior to filing an answer.





[2]

OCGA § 9-11-8. General Rules Of Pleading

(a) Claims for relief.

(1) "Action for medical malpractice" defined. As used in this Code section, the term "action for medical malpractice" means any claim for damages resulting from the death of or injury to any person arising out of:

(A) Health, medical, dental, or surgical service, diagnosis, prescription, treatment, or care rendered by a person authorized by law to perform such services or by any person acting under the supervision and control of a lawfully authorized person; or

(B) Care or service rendered by any public or private hospital, nursing home, clinic, hospital authority, facility, or institution, or by any officer, agent, or employee thereof acting within the scope of his employment.

(2) Form of complaint, generally; action for malpractice. An original complaint shall contain facts upon which the court's venue depends; and any pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, whether an original claim, counterclaim, a cross-claim, or a third-party claim, shall contain:

(A) A short and plain statement of the claims showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and

(B) A demand for judgment for the relief to which the pleader deems himself entitled; provided, however, that in actions for medical malpractice, as defined in this Code section, in which a claim for unliquidated damages is made for $10,000.00 or less, the pleadings shall contain a demand for judgment in a sum certain; and, in actions for medical malpractice in which a claim for unliquidated damages is made for a sum exceeding $10,000.00, the demand for judgment shall state that the pleader "demands judgment in excess of $10,000.00," and no further monetary amount shall be stated.

Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded.

(3) Sanctions. If the provisions of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of this subsection are violated, the court in which the action is pending shall, upon a proper motion, strike the improper portion of the demand for judgment and may impose such other sanctions, including disciplinary action against the attorney, found in Code Section 9-11-37 as are appropriate.

(b) Defenses; form of denials. A party shall state in short and plain terms his defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the averments upon which the adverse party relies. If he is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment, he shall so state, and this has the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the averments denied. When a pleader intends in good faith to deny only a part or a qualification of an averment, he shall specify so much of it as is true and material and shall deny only the remainder.

Unless the pleader intends in good faith to controvert all the averments of the preceding pleading, he may make his denials as specific denials of designated averments or paragraphs, or he may generally deny all the averments except such designated averments or paragraphs as he expressly admits; but, when he does so intend to controvert all its averments, he may do so by general denial subject to the obligations set forth in Code Section 9-11-11.

(c) Affirmative defenses. In pleading to a preceding pleading, a party shall set forth affirmatively accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, and waiver. When a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court on terms, if justice so requires, shall treat the pleadings as if there had been a proper designation.

(d) Effect of failure to deny. Averments in a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required, other than those as to the amount of damage, are admitted when not denied in the responsive pleading.

Averments in a pleading to which no responsive pleading is required or permitted shall be taken as denied or avoided.

(e) Pleading to be concise and direct; alternative statements.

(1) Each averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise, and direct. No technical forms of pleading or motions are required.

(2) A party may set forth two or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in one count or defense or in separate counts or defenses. When two or more statements are made in the alternative and one of them, if made independently, would be sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency of one or more of the alternative statements. A party may also state as many separate claims or defenses as he has, regardless of consistency and whether based on legal or on equitable grounds or on both. All statements shall be made subject to the obligations set forth in Code Section 9-11-11.

(f) Construction of pleadings. All pleadings shall be so construed as to do substantial justice.





[3]

OCGA § 9-11-12. Answer, Defenses, And Objections; When And How Presented And Heard; When Defenses Waived

(a) When answer presented. A defendant shall serve his answer within 30 days after the service of the summons and complaint upon him, unless otherwise provided by statute. A cross-claim or counterclaim shall not require an answer, unless one is required by order of the court, and shall automatically stand denied.

(b) How defenses and objections presented. Every defense, in law or fact, to a claim for relief in any pleading, whether a claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, shall be asserted in the responsive pleading thereto if one is required, except that the following defenses may, at the option of the pleader, be made by motion in writing:

(1) Lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter;

(2) Lack of jurisdiction over the person;

(3) Improper venue;

(4) Insufficiency of process;

(5) Insufficiency of service of process;

(6) Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted;

(7) Failure to join a party under Code Section 9-11-19.

A motion making any of these defenses shall be made before or at the time of pleading if a further pleading is permitted. No defense or objection is waived by being joined with one or more other defenses or objections in a responsive pleading or motion. If a pleading sets forth a claim for relief to which the adverse party is not required to serve a responsive pleading, he may assert at the trial any defense in law or fact to that claim for relief. If, on a motion to dismiss for failure of the pleading to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, matters outside the pleading are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in Code Section 9-11-56, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by Code Section 9-11-56.

(c) Motion for judgment on the pleadings. After the pleadings are closed but within such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings. If, on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in Code Section 9-11-56, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by Code Section 9-11-56.

(d) Preliminary hearings. The defenses specifically enumerated in paragraphs (1) through (7) of subsection (b) of this Code section, whether made in a pleading or by motion, and the motion for judgment mentioned in subsection (c) of this Code section shall be heard and determined before trial on application of any party unless the court orders that the hearing and determination thereof be deferred until the trial.

(e) Motion for more definite statement. If a pleading to which a responsive pleading is permitted is so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to frame a proper responsive pleading, he shall nevertheless answer or respond to the best of his ability, and he may move for a more definite statement. The motion shall point out the defects complained of and the details desired.

If the motion is granted and the order of the court is not obeyed within 15 days after notice of the order, or within such other time as the court may fix, the court may strike the pleading to which the motion was directed or make such order as it deems just.

(f) Motion to strike. Upon motion made by a party within 30 days after the service of the pleading upon him, or upon the court's own initiative at any time, the court may order stricken from any pleading any insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.

(g) Consolidation of defenses in motion. A party who makes a motion under this Code section may join with it any other motions provided for in this Code section and then available to him. If a party makes a motion under this Code section but omits therefrom any defense or objection then available to him which this Code section permits to be raised by motion, he shall not thereafter make a motion based on the defense or objection so omitted, except a motion as provided in paragraph (2) of subsection (h) of this Code section on any of the grounds there stated.

(h) Waiver or preservation of certain defenses.

(1) A defense of lack of jurisdiction over the person, improper venue, insufficiency of process, or insufficiency of service of process is waived:

(A) If omitted from a motion in the circumstances described in subsection (g) of this Code section; or

(B) If it is neither made by motion under this Code section nor included in a responsive pleading, as originally filed.

(2) A defense of failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a defense of failure to join a party indispensable under Code Section 9-11-19, and an objection of failure to state a legal defense to a claim may be made in any pleading permitted or ordered under subsection (a) of Code Section 9-11-7, or by motion for judgment on the pleadings, or at the trial on the merits.

(3) Whenever it appears, by suggestion of the parties or otherwise, that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the action.

(i) Officer's defense of service. The officer making service of process and the principal officer in charge of service made by a deputy need not be made a party to any action or motion where the defense or defenses under paragraph (2), (4), or (5) of subsection (b) of this Code section are asserted by motion or by answer. Any party to the action may give notice of the objection to the service, made pursuant to such paragraphs, to the officer making the service and to the principal officer in case of service made by a deputy, and the court shall afford the officer or officers opportunity to defend the service, in which case the decision on the question of service shall be conclusive on the officer and on his principal in case of service by a deputy.

(j)(1)Stay of discovery.If a party files a motion to dismiss before or at the time of filing an answer and pursuant to the provisions of this Code section, discovery shall be stayed for 90 days after the filing of such motion or until the ruling of the court on such motion, whichever is sooner. The court shall decide the motion to dismiss within the 90 days provided in this paragraph.

(2) The discovery period and all discovery deadlines shall be extended for a period equal to the duration of the stay imposed by this subsection.

(3) The court may upon its own motion or upon motion of a party terminate or modify the stay imposed by this subsection but shall not extend such stay.

(4) If a motion to dismiss raises defenses set forth in paragraph (2), (3), (5), or (7) of subsection (b) of this Code section or if any party needs discovery in order to identify persons who may be joined as parties, limited discovery needed to respond to such defenses or identify such persons shall be permitted until the court rules on such motion.

(5) The provisions of this subsection shall not modify or affect the provisions of paragraph (2) of subsection (f) of Code Section 9-11-23 or any other power of the court to stay discovery.





[4]

OCGA § 9-11-55. Default Judgment

(a) When case in default; opening as matter of right; judgment. If in any case an answer has not been filed within the time required by this chapter, the case shall automatically become in default unless the time for filing the answer has been extended as provided by law.

The default may be opened as a matter of right by the filing of such defenses within 15 days of the day of default, upon the payment of costs. If the case is still in default after the expiration of the period of 15 days, the plaintiff at any time thereafter shall be entitled to verdict and judgment by default, in open court or in chambers, as if every item and paragraph of the complaint or other original pleading were supported by proper evidence, without the intervention of a jury, unless the action is one ex delicto or involves unliquidated damages, in which event the plaintiff shall be required to introduce evidence and establish the amount of damages before the court without a jury, with the right of the defendant to introduce evidence as to damages and the right of either to move for a new trial in respect of such damages; provided, however, in the event a defendant, though in default, has placed damages in issue by filing a pleading raising such issue, either party shall be entitled, upon demand, to a jury trial of the issue as to damages.

An action based upon open account shall not be considered one for unliquidated damages within the meaning of this Code section.





[5]

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12

Rule 12. Defenses and Objections: When and How Presented; Motion for

Judgment on the Pleadings; Consolidating Motions; Waiving Defenses;

Pretrial Hearing

(a) Time to Serve a Responsive Pleading.

(1) In General.

Unless another time is specified by this rule or a federal statute, the time for serving a responsive pleading is as follows:

(A) A defendant must serve an answer: (i) within 21 days after being served with the summons and complaint;

or

(ii) if it has timely waived service under Rule 4(d), within 60 days after the request for a waiver was sent, or within 90 days after it was sent to the defendant outside any judicial district of the United States.

(B) A party must serve an answer to a counterclaim or crossclaim within 21 days after being served with the pleading that states the counterclaim or crossclaim.

(C) A party must serve a reply to an answer within 21 days after being served with an order to reply, unless the order specifies a different time.





[6]



Affirmative Defenses



Examples



* civil law



o accord and satisfaction

o assumption of risk (when the plaintiff knowingly entered into a dangerous situation)

o authority

o consent

o defense of property

o estoppel

o contract specification

o contractual provision (when the defendant's liability for causing the plaintiff's injuries had been waived in the contract; however, these provisions are typically unconscionable in many situations.)

o contributory negligence (when the plaintiff's actions contributed to his own injury)

o fair use

o laches (similar to statute of limitation)

o merger doctrine

o repossession

o statute of frauds

o statute of limitations (too much time has elapsed between the tort and the complaint)

o waiver



* criminal law



o insanity defense

o necessity

o duress

o self defense

o statute of limitation

o truth



& & &



A defendant offers an affirmative defense when responding to a plaintiff's claim in common law jurisdictions, or, more familiarly, in criminal law. Essentially, the defendant affirms that the condition is occurring or has occurred but offers a defense that bars, or prevents, the plaintiff's claim. An affirmative defense is known, alternatively, as a justification, or an excuse, defense.[1] Consequently, affirmative defenses limit or excuse a defendant's criminal culpability or civil liability.



A clear illustration of an affirmative defense is self defense.[2] In its simplest form, a criminal defendant may be exonerated if he can demonstrate that he had an honest and reasonable belief that another's use of force was unlawful and that the defendant's conduct was necessary to protect himself.



"Mistake of fact" is not an affirmative defense: it does not require proof but it does introduce doubt. In mistake-of-fact defenses, the defendant asserts that his mistaken belief prevents the establishment, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the required mens rea. It can be used with other defenses such as self defense. Self defense would still be available even if the defendant mistakenly believes that he was in imminent danger of harmful or offensive bodily contact.

Among the most controversial affirmative defenses is the insanity defense,[3] whereby a criminal defendant seeks to be excused from criminal liability on the ground that a mental illness, at the time of the alleged crime, prevented him from understanding the wrongful nature of his actions.



Most affirmative defenses must be pled in a timely manner by a defendant in order for the court to consider them, or else they are considered waived by the defendant's failure to assert them. The classic unwaivable affirmative defense is lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The issue of timely assertion is often the subject of contentious litigation.

Because an affirmative defense requires an assertion of facts beyond those claimed by the plaintiff, generally the party who offers an affirmative defense bears the burden of proof.[4] The standard of proof is typically lower than beyond a reasonable doubt. It can either be proved by clear and convincing evidence or by a preponderance of the evidence. In some cases or jurisdictions, however, the defense must only be asserted, and the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defense is not applicable.[citation needed]

Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the assertion of affirmative defenses in civil cases that are filed in the United States district courts. Rule 8(c) specifically enumerates the following defenses: "accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, assumption of risk, contributory negligence, discharge in bankruptcy, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, waiver, and any other matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense."

Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that affirmative defenses be based on "knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances," and cannot consist of a laundry list of all known affirmative defenses.[5]

An affirmative defense can be different from a negating defense. A negating defense is one which tends to negate an essential element of the state's case. An example might be a mistake of fact claim in a prosecution for intentional drug possession, where the defendant asserted that he or she mistakenly believed that the object possessed was an innocent substance like oregano. Because this defense simply shows that an essential element of the offense is not present, the defendant does not have any burden of persuasion with regards to a negating defense. At most the defendant has the burden of producing sufficient evidence to raise the issue



© Wikipedia 2011.







[7]

OCGA § 9-11-13. Counterclaim And Cross-claim

(a) Compulsory counterclaims. A pleading shall state as a counterclaim any claim which at the time of serving the pleading the pleader has against any opposing party, if it arises out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the opposing party's claim and does not require for its adjudication the presence of third parties of whom the court cannot acquire jurisdiction. But the pleader need not state the claim if (1) at the time the action was commenced the claim was the subject of another pending action, or (2) the opposing party brought an action upon his claim by attachment or other process by which the court did not acquire jurisdiction to render a personal judgment on that claim, and the pleader is not stating any counterclaim under this Code section, or (3) the claim is not within the jurisdiction of the court.

(b) Permissive counterclaims. A pleading may state as a counterclaim any claim against an opposing party not arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the opposing party's claim. But any such permissive counterclaim shall be separated for the purposes of trial, unless the parties otherwise agree.

(c) Counterclaim exceeding opposing claim. A counterclaim may or may not diminish or defeat the recovery sought by the opposing party. It may claim relief exceeding in amount or different in kind from that sought in the pleading of the opposing party.

(d) Counterclaim against the state. This Code section shall not be construed to enlarge beyond the limits fixed by law the right to assert counterclaims or to claim credits against the state or an officer or agency thereof.

(e) Counterclaim maturing or acquired after pleading. A claim which either matured or was acquired by the pleader after serving his pleading may, with the permission of the court, be presented as a counterclaim by supplemental pleading.

(f) Omitted counterclaim. When a pleader fails to set up a counterclaim through oversight, inadvertence, or excusable neglect, or when justice requires, he may by leave of court set up the counterclaim by amendment.

(g) Cross-claim against coparty. A pleading may state as a cross-claim any claim by one party against a coparty arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter either of the original action or of a counterclaim therein or relating to any property that is the subject matter of the original action. The cross-claim may include a claim that the party against whom it is asserted is or may be liable to the cross-claimant for all or part of a claim asserted in the action against the cross-claimant.

(h) Additional parties may be brought in. When the presence of parties other than those to the original action is required for the granting of complete relief in the determination of a counterclaim or cross-claim, the court shall order them to be brought in as defendants as provided in this chapter, if jurisdiction of them can be obtained.

(i) Separate trials; separate judgments. If the court orders separate trials as provided in subsection (b) of Code Section  9-11-42 judgment on a counterclaim or cross-claim may be rendered in accordance with the terms of subsection (b) of Code Section 9-11-54 when the court has jurisdiction to do so, even if the claims of the opposing party have been dismissed or otherwise disposed of.



END 

&&&&

Form Answer Below:

_______________________________________________________________


IN THE _____________ [1] COURT OF ___________ [2] COUNTY



STATE OF GEORGIA



                                                                       

_____________________,            [3]           

                                                                       

                                    Plaintiff,                                CIVIL ACTION

                                                                                  FILE NO.

                                                                       

                                                             ________________ [5]

                                                  

vs.                                                                  

                                                                        

_____________________,            [4]            

                                                                      

                                    Defendant.               

________________________________     



DEFENDANT(S) ANSWER, and

AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES [6]



COMES NOW, ___________________[3],  Defendant herein and hereby Answers, Responds, Replies and interposes Affirmative Defenses in response to Plaintiff’s Complaint filed in the _____________[1] Court of _____________[2] County, Georgia. 

Defendant shows the Court as follows:

FIRST DEFENSE



Plaintiff’s Complaint against _____________[4] fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and therefore, same should be dismissed.

SECOND DEFENSE



Plaintiff asserts [___] [7] insufficiency of process and/or [___] insufficiency of service of process, pursuant to OCGA § 9-11-4.  



THIRD DEFENSE

            To the extent as may be shown through discovery or pleadings in this action, _____________[3] raises all affirmative defenses as set forth in OCGA § 9‑11‑8(c), to the extent each on is checked:  [___] accord and satisfaction, [___] duress, [___] estoppel, [___] promissory estoppel, [___] payment, [___] set-off, [___] failure of consideration, [___] fraud, [___] illegality, [___] laches, [___] payment, [___] release, [___] res judicata, [___] statute of frauds, [___] statute of limitations, and [___] waiver. 

__________ DEFENSE



            By way of response to the specific allegations contained in Plaintiff’s Complaint against _____________[4]  and subject to all of the defenses set forth herein, _____________ [4] shows to this Court as follows:

COMPLAINT



1.

This Defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny this averment therefore this averment stands Denied. 

2.

This Defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny this averment therefore this averment stands Denied. 

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

3.

This Defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny this averment therefore this averment stands Denied. 

4.

This Defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny this averment therefore this averment stands Denied. 

5.

This Defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny this averment therefore this averment stands Denied.

6.

This Defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny this averment therefore this averment stands Denied.

7.

This Defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny this averment therefore this averment stands Denied.

8.

This Defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny this averment therefore this averment stands Denied.

9.

This Defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny this averment therefore this averment stands Denied.

10.

This Defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny this averment therefore this averment stands Denied.

Any paragraph of the Complaint not specifically admitted is hereby denied.

WHEREFORE, Defendant, with regard to Plaintiff’s Complaint, prays that this Court:



1)    Deny all relief that Plaintiff prays for in its Complaint; and,



2)    That Plaintiff’s Complaint be dismissed with all costs of this action cast upon the Plaintiff.



            This _____ day of __________________, 20___.       




                                                                        Respectfully submitted,






                                                                        _x______________________

                                                                        _____________,

                                                                        Pro Se









___________________



___________________



___________________





Address and Phone Number

of Defendant


_______________________________________________________________




IN THE _____________ [1] COURT OF ___________ [2] COUNTY



STATE OF GEORGIA



                                                                      

_____________________,            [3]           

                                                                       

                                    Plaintiff,                                CIVIL ACTION

                                                                                FILE NO.

                                                                       

                                                           ________________  [5]

                                                

vs.                                                                

                                                                      
_____________________,            [4]          

                                                                     

                                    Defendant.             

________________________________     



CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE OF

_____________’S ANSWER, and

AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES



            I hereby certify that I have served a copy of:

_____________’S ANSWER, and

AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES



on the Plaintiff by placing a true and correct copy of same in the United States Mail, First Class, postage prepaid, addressed to the Defendants as follows:        

[Name and Address of Plaintiff’s Attorney, or, if none –Plaintiff]





            This _____ day of __________________, 20___.       




                                                            Respectfully submitted,







                                                            _x______________________

                                                            _____________,

                                                            Pro Se







___________________



___________________



___________________





Address and Phone Number

of Defendant

_______________________________________________________________


FORM NOTES

[1]

            In Georgia, this will be either the SUPERIOR, or STATE or MAGISTRATE Court.
[2]
            In Georgia, this will be one of the 159 Counties.  For example, Fulton, DeKalb,    Cobb, Gwinnett, Chatham, Muscogee, Bibb, etc.

[3]

            Name of the Plaintiff who/that filed the suit.

[4]

            Name of the Defendant(s), who/that have been sued.

[5]

            This Number will be on the Complaint and Summons.  It needs to be written or    typed onto your Answer prior to filing.

[6]       

            An Answer is mandatory.  Affirmative Defenses are not mandatory; however, if    they are not raised in the initial answer they are waived.  Additionally, if   Defendant(s) chooses to file a Counterclaim, it should be listed (additionally) in  this header.  If you file a Counterclaim, you must ask for a Jury Trial at the time        you file your Counterclaim or it is waived.   Plaintiff may have already   petitioned for one in the main Complaint.

[7]

            Any box such as [___] indicates that Defendants should check any that apply.     Or, if it retyped (which it should be), list only the Affirmative Defenses that    apply.

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