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Denial is a statement by a defendant that an allegation is false. As explained in Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, in filing an answer to a plaintiff’s complaint, a defendant in a civil lawsuit has three choices: (1) admitting; (2) denying; or (3) denying the allegations on the basis of lack of information or knowledge to affirm or deny them.  

A denial must adequately state which allegations, or parts of the allegation, are being denied. If the defendant denies all the allegations in a complaint, it is a general denial. On the other hand, it is a specific denial if the defendant does not deny all the allegations but instead either specifically denies designated allegations or generally denies all except the ones specifically admitted.

See: General Denial

[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]