Pleading is the beginning stage of a lawsuit in which parties formally submit their claims and defenses.
The plaintiff submits a complaint stating the cause of action. The defendant submits an answer stating his or her defenses and denials. The defendant may also submit a counterclaim stating a cause of action against the plaintiff.
Pleadings provide notice to the defendant that a lawsuit has been instituted concerning a specific controversy or controversies. It also provides notice to the plaintiff of the defendant's intentions with regard to the suit.
Pleadings are part of a larger category of procedural rules. In state court, pleadings are generally governed by state procedural rules (for example, see Chapter 7 of California's Code of Civil Procedure. In federal court, pleadings are generally governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, particularly by Rules 7-16.
menu of sources
- Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules 7-12
State Court Rules
State Judicial Decisions
- N.Y. Court of Appeals:
- Appellate Decisions from Other States
Useful Offnet (or Subscription - $) Sources
- Good Starting Point in Print: Kevin M. Clermont, Black Letter on Civil Procedure, West Group (2004)
- LII Disk Materials