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Encyclopedia > Pleadings

In the law, a pleading is one of the papers filed with a court in a civil action, such as a complaint, a demurrer, or an answer. A complaint is the first pleading filed by a plaintiff which initiates a lawsuit. A complaint sets forth the relevant allegations of fact that give rise to one or more legal causes of action along with a prayer for relief whereas a demurrer is a pleading filed by a defendant which challenges the legal sufficiency of a complaint and an answer is a pleading which admits or denies the specific allegations set forth in a complaint and constitutes a general appearance by a defendant. A defendant may also file a cross-complaint as well as bringing other parties into a case by the process of interpleader. Corruption Jurisprudence Philosophy of law Law (principle) List of legal abbreviations Legal code Intent Letter versus Spirit Natural Justice Natural law Religious law Witness intimidation Legal research External links Wikibooks Wikiversity has more about this subject: School of Law Look up law in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Law, Legal Definitions... A court is an official, public forum which a public power establishes by lawful authority to adjudicate disputes, and to dispense civil, labour, administrative and criminal justice under the law. ... A lawsuit is a civil action brought before a court in order to recover a right, obtain damages for an injury, obtain an injunction to prevent an injury, or obtain a declaratory judgment to prevent future legal disputes. ... In general use, a complaint is an expression of displeasure, such as poor service at a store, or from a local government, for example. ... In common law civil procedure, a demurrer is a pleading by the defendant that contests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. ... A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) -- also known as International ANSWER and sometimes written as ANSWER -- is a protest organization established by the International Action Center, which was founded by former United States attorney general Ramsey Clark. ... A plaintiff, also known as a claimant, or a complainant is the party who initiates a lawsuit (also known as an action) before a court. ... In the law, a cause of action is a recognized kind of legal claim that a plaintiff pleads or alleges in a complaint to start a lawsuit. ... ... A defendant is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute. ... Interpleader is a device allowed in U.S. civil litigation. ...

Types of pleading

Lawyers occasionally speak of "common law pleading," "code pleading," and "notice pleading." Common law pleading was the system of civil procedure used in England, where each cause of action had its own separate procedures. Because the causes were "frozen" too early during the development of the English legal system, lawyers had to engage in great ingenuity to shoehorn their clients' claims into the necessary "elements" required to bring an action.

In the 1850s, New York and California were among the first states to switch to "code pleading," in which civil procedure is unified for all types of actions as much as possible, and the required elements of each action are set out in carefully codified statutes.

However, code pleading was criticized because many lawyers felt that it was too difficult to fully research all the facts needed to bring a complaint before one had even initiated the action, and thus meritorious plaintiffs could not bring their complaints in time before the statute of limitations expired.

The dominant regime in the United States today is notice pleading, in which the plaintiff is required to state in their initial complaint only a short and plain statement of their cause of action. The idea is that a plaintiff and their attorney who have a reasonable but not perfect case can file a complaint first, put the other side on notice of the lawsuit, and then strengthen their case by compelling the defendant to produce evidence during the discovery phase.

There is a legal fiction called alternative pleading in which a criminal defendant or party to a civil suit attempts to argue two mutually exclusive possibilities -- for example, submitting an injury complaint alleging that the harm to the defendant caused by the plaintiff was so outrageous that it must have either been intended as a malicious attack or, if not, must have been due to gross negligence. (Example drawn from Law.com dictionary.) While some such arguments may seem reasonable, motions that are deemed to contain alternative pleadings are generally denied -- the law requires that cases be built on a single set of facts.

See also

Prima facie is a Latin expression meaning at first sight, used in common law regions to denote a case that is strong enough to justify further discovery and possibly a full trial. ...

  Results from FactBites:
pleading: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (1739 words)
Pleadings are either Allegations by the parties affirming or denying certain matters of fact, or other statements in support or derogation of certain principles of law, which are intended to describe to the court or jury the real matter in dispute.
Different systems of pleading have been organized generally to serve four functions: (1) to give notice of the claim or defense; (2) to reveal the facts of the case; (3) to formulate the issues that have to be resolved; and (4) to screen the flow of cases into a particular court.
Alternative pleading is a legal fiction permitting a party argue two mutually exclusive possibilities, for example, submitting an injury complaint alleging that the harm to the plaintiff caused by the defendant was so outrageous that it must have either been intended as a malicious attack or, if not, must have been due to gross negligence.
  More results at FactBites »



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