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How to answer a federal court complaint by Attorney Steve®

Posted by Steve Vondran | Sep 09, 2021

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [Rule 8]. General Rules of Pleading on How to File an Answer to a Complaint!  Call us at (877) 276-5084 to discuss your case.

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How to answer a federal court complaint (ex. Strike 3 Holdings, Pic Rights and Higbee Photo infringement defense, design fabric infringement, computer fonts, jewelry, music, art, software and other copyrighted content).

We were recently identified as THE TOP UNITED STATES COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT DEFENSE FIRM FOR 2020 BY UNICOURT.  A huge honor and distinction that has come through years of really hard work and really great clients.

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VIDEO:  Click to watch Attorney Steve® explain how to answer a civil lawsuit.  We can help with Photo infringement, Strike 3 Holdings lawsuits, fair use, software infringement and other related cases.  Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to join over 43,000 others who love our legal videos.

General Guidelines

(a) Claim for Relief. A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;

(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and

(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

(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.

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(c) Affirmative Defenses.

(1) In General. In responding to a pleading, a party must affirmatively state any avoidance or affirmative defense, including:

• accord and satisfaction;

arbitration and award;

• assumption of risk;

• contributory negligence;

• duress;

• estoppel;

• failure of consideration;


• illegality;

• injury by fellow servant;

• laches;

• license;

• payment;

• release;

• res judicata;

• statute of frauds;

statute of limitations;

• waiver.

Attorney Steve® Tip - Make sure to check out Attorney Steve® Affirmative Defense Checklist.  Overview of the most commonly used legal defenses!!!

(2) Mistaken Designation. If a party mistakenly designates a defense as a counterclaim, or a counterclaim as a defense, the court must, if justice requires, treat the pleading as though it were correctly designated, and may impose terms for doing so.

(d) Pleading to Be Concise and Direct; Alternative Statements; Inconsistency.

(1) In General. Each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct. No technical form is required.

(2) Alternative Statements of a Claim or Defense. A party may set out 2 or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in a single count or defense or in separate ones. If a party makes alternative statements, the pleading is sufficient if any one of them is sufficient.

(3) Inconsistent Claims or Defenses. A party may state as many separate claims or defenses as it has, regardless of consistency.

(e) Construing Pleadings. Pleadings must be construed so as to do justice.

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We have been in business since 2004 and have appeared in over 200 federal court cases.  Many of our cases involve defenses of copyright infringement matters (ex. BitTorrent file sharing litigation, photo infringement, software audits and licensing disputes, fair use opinion letters, right of publicity, entertainment contract review).

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About the Author

Steve Vondran

Thank you for viewing our blogs, videos and podcasts. As noted, all information on this website is Attorney Advertising. Decisions to hire an attorney should never be based on advertising alone. Any past results discussed herein do not guarantee or predict any future results. All blogs are written by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise indicated. Our firm handles a wide variety of intellectual property and entertainment law cases from music and video law, Youtube disputes, DMCA litigation, copyright infringement cases involving software licensing disputes (ex. BSA, SIIA, Siemens, Autodesk, Vero, CNC, VB Conversion and others), torrent internet file-sharing (Strike 3 and Malibu Media), California right of publicity, TV Signal Piracy, and many other types of IP, piracy, technology, and social media disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337

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