Form of response to summons in California civil action.

Full Question:

Can you give me an example to answer a summons for CIVIL less than $25000 claim file by a Home Owners Association against me. The Superior Court wants me to respond to the summons.
08/21/2009   |   Category: Civil Actions   |   State: California   |   #18187

Answer:

Summons Law & Legal Definition.
A summons is a paper issued by a court informing a person that a complaint has been filed against her. It may be served by a sheriff or other authorized person for service of process, called a process server. The summons states the name of both plaintiff and defendant, the title and file number of the case, the court and its address, the name and address of the plaintiff's attorney, and instructions on how to file a required response to the complaint within a certain time (such as 30 days after service), usually with a form on the back on which information of service of summons and complaint is to be filled out and signed by the process server. A copy of the summons must be served on each defendant at the same time as the complaint to start the time running for the defendant to answer. After service to the defendants, the original summons, along with the "return of service" proving the summons and complaint were served, is filed with the court to show that each defendant was served. An alias summons is a second summons and a pluries summons is a subsequent summons.

Civil Procedure Answer Law & Legal Definition.
In a civil case, an answer is the defendant's written response to the plaintiff's complaint. It must be filed within a specified period of time, and it either admits to or (more typically) denies the factual or legal basis for liability. Some states allow an answer to state a lack of knowledge as to whether a particular allegation is true or false. The answer may also include "affirmative defenses" including allegations which contradict the complaint or contain legal theories (like "unclean hands," "contributory negligence" or "anticipatory breach") which are intended to undercut the claims in the complaint. If the defendant fails to file an answer, the plaintiff usually wins by default. There are rules of evidence which govern the formalities and time period required in filing an answer. The answer is usually filed along with a proof of service of the same upon the other parties to the action.


Responding to a Lawsuit.
Filing a response is an important first step for any defendant in a civil lawsuit. By filing a response, you establish that you are contesting the case and requiring the plaintiff to prove their case at trial in order to win.

DEADLINES
For most types of lawsuits, the law requires you to file a written response with the court within 30 calendar days after you are served. If the 30th day falls on a weekend or court holiday, you have until the close of the next business day to file your response.

If you do not file your response in time, the other party may get a default judgment against you. This means that the other party wins the case, and the court will not consider anything you have to say. They can begin enforcing this judgment by garnishing your wages, placing liens on your property, or levying your bank accounts.

TYPES OF RESPONSES
There are numerous options for your response. You will need to select the option that best suits your situation.

ANSWER
An Answer is the most common way to respond to a lawsuit. The Answer is the defendant's opportunity to admit or deny the specific allegations brought against them in the complaint. Any statements in the complaint that are not denied will be taken as true for the purposes of this case. (CCP 431.30(b)(1)).

In the Answer, all defenses to the allegations of the complaint must be raised, and all facts essential to supporting the particular defense must be included. These are called Affirmative Defenses. If you do not raise a particular defense in your answer, you will be prohibited from using or raising it later on.

More Information and Forms :
Fill-in-the-blanks forms are available for Answers to specific types of cases:

* Answer-Personal Injury, Property Damage, Wrongful Death (form PLD-PI-003)
* Answer-Contract (form PLD-C-010)

These forms are available on the internet at http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/, on the library computers using USCourtForms, or may be photocopied from a form book in the library.

For instructions for completing a fill-in-the-blanks form, see Win Your Lawsuit, Ch. 8, KFC968 .Z9 D86.

If these forms do not fit your needs, you can type your Answer on pleading paper. Consult the following resources for sample pleading-paper Answers:

Litigation By the Numbers. (KFC 995 .G67)
Discussion Chapter 4, pgs 4.1 - 4.5
Forms Chapter 4, pgs 4.8 - 4.10

California Civil Practice: Procedure. Vol. 2, Ch. 9. (KFC995 .A65 B3)
Discussion 9.50 - 9.66
Forms 9.67 - 9.117

California Pretrial Civil Procedure. Vol. 1, Ch. 14. (KFC995 .M38)
Discussion 14:1 - 14:25
Forms 14:33

California Civil Procedure Before Trial. Vol. 2, Ch. 25. (KFC995 .C34)
Discussion 25:1 - 25:79
Forms 25:81 - 25:93

California Forms of Pleading and Practice. Vol. 3, Ch. 26. (KFC1010 .A65C3)
Discussion 26:1 et seq.
Forms 26:60 et seq.

California Civil Courtroom Handbook and Desktop Reference. (KFC995 .Z9T46)
Discussion 12:1 - 12:15

 

More Information on Affirmative Defenses:

CaliforniaCivil Practice: Procedure. Vol. 2, Ch. 9. (KFC995 .A65 B3)
Discussion 9:74 - 9:115

CaliforniaCivil Procedure Before Trial. Vol. 2, Ch. 25. (KFC995 .C34)
Discussion 25:30 - 25:64

CaliforniaCivil Courtroom Handbook and Desktop Reference. (KFC995 .Z9T46)
Discussion 12:8 - 12:11

CaliforniaAffirmative Defenses. (KFC995 .S38)

GENERAL DENIAL

A General Denial is a simple response to an action. In one sentence, the defendant denies every allegation in the complaint. The defendant may also state separate facts as affirmative defenses to the complaint.

Use of the Judicial Council form is mandatory if the amount asked for is less than $1000. The form may also be used if:

1. the complaint not verified*; or
2. the complaint is verified*, but is being heard in the limited jurisdiction civil court, unless the case involves a claim for more than $1000 that has been assigned to a third party for collection.

*A complaint is considered verified if, at the end of the complaint, the plaintiff swears under penalty of perjury that everything is true and correct.

If your case does not meet the guidelines for the mandatory Judicial Council form, you will instead use your Answer to admit or deny each allegation.

Forms:
If your case meets the guidelines for the mandatory Judicial Council form:

* General Denial (Form PLD-050)

This form is available on the internet at http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/, on the library computers using USCourtForms, or may be photocopied from a form book in the library.

DEMURRER
A Demurrer is used to tell the court that the allegations in the complaint do not provide legally sufficient reason for the defendant to be sued. A Demurrer questions only the legal sufficiency of the allegations, not their truth or the plaintiff's ability to prove them. In the Demurrer, the defendant must state what was left out of the complaint to make it legally insufficient.

The defendant can object to all or just parts of the complaint on various grounds, including:

* The complaint fails to state a cause of action
* The complaint is uncertain or unclear
* Another action is pending between the parties for the same cause of action
* The plaintiff does not have the legal capacity to sue
* Additional grounds for filing a demurrer can be found at CCP 430.10.

If the Demurrer is overruled, the Defendant must file an Answer to the original Complaint within 10 days (CRC Rules 3.1320(g), (j)). If the Demurrer is sustained, the Plaintiff can correct the errors in the Complaint, re-serve the Defendant, and the case will proceed.

More Information and Forms:
There are no fill-in-the-blanks Demurrer forms. You must create your own Demurrer on pleading paper. You can find sample Demurrers in the following resources:

California Civil Practice: Procedure. Vol. 2, Ch. 9. (KFC995 .A65 B3)
Discussion 9:1 - 9:17
Forms 9:18 - 9:49

California Civil Procedure Before Trial. Vol. 2, Ch. 23. (KFC995 .C34)
Discussion Chapter 23
Forms 23:71 - 23:75

California Pretrial Civil Procedure. Vol. 1, Ch. 11. (KFC995 .M38)
Discussion 11:1 et seq
Forms 11:49 - 11:62

California Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial. Vol. 1, Ch. 7. (KFC995 .W45)
Discussion 7:1-151
Forms 7:1-4

California Forms of Pleading and Practice. Vol. 17, Ch. 206 (KFC1010 .A65C3)
Discussion 206:1 et seq
Forms 206:120 - 206:154

Answer

 

Superior Court of California
San Diego County


Timing
Thirty (30) Days

A responsive pleading to a complaint or cross-complaint must be filed and served within thirty (30) days of service of the complaint or cross-complaint. CCP 412.20(a)(3).
Answer To Amended Complaint

An amended complaint must be answered within thirty (30) days of service, or as ordered by the court.CCP 471.5(a).
Petition To Compel Arbitration

Where appropriate, a defendant may choose to file a petition to compel arbitration instead of an answer. See San Diego SmartRules procedural guide:MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION.

If the petition is denied, the defendant then has fifteen (15) days to respond to the complaint. CCP 1281.7.
Extension

The parties may stipulate to an additional fifteen (15) days to serve a pleading responsive to a complaint or cross-complaint. Govt. Code 68616(b). The parties may stipulate without leave of court to one (1) fifteen (15) day extension beyond the thirty (30) day time period prescribed for the response after service of the initial complaint. CRC 3.110(d) (renumbered eff 1/1/07). The court, on its own motion or on the application of a party, may extend or otherwise modify the times provided in California Rule of Court 3.110(b) through (d)(time to serve complaint, cross-complaint or pleading responsive to an initial complaint). An application for a court order extending the time to serve a pleading must be filed before the time for service has elapsed. The application must be accompanied by a declaration showing why service has not been completed, documenting the efforts that have been made to complete service, and specifying the date by which service is proposed to be completed. CRC 3.110(e) (renumbered eff 1/1/07). See San Diego County SmartRules procedural guide:MOTION FOR CONTINUANCE.
Local Rules Regarding Time to Respond
Appearance

Unless a special appearance is made, each defendant served shall generally appear (as defined in Code of Civil Procedure 1014) within the time required by the Code of Civil Procedure, or within fifteen (15) days thereafter if the parties have stipulated to extend that time. Such stipulations must be in writing and filed with the court. If a defendant is unable to make a timely general appearance, a Certificate of Inability to Respond shall be filed and served stating why a responsive pleading could not have been filed. The filing of a Certificate of Inability to Respond shall constitute a general appearance for purposes of the Local Rules. San Diego LR 2.1.6.
Before Case Management Conference

The court expects the complaint and any cross-complaints will be served, all answers filed or defaults entered, and any challenges to the pleadings heard by the time of the initial case management conference. San Diego LR 2.1.9 (amended eff 1/1/09).
Pleading Rules
Denials

An answer must include a general or specific denial of the material allegations of the complaint. . more...
General Denial Permitted

A general denial is effective to controvert all material allegations of an unverified complaint. . more...
Specific Denials

A defendant may deny specific sentences, paragraphs or parts of a complaint, or a defendant may expr more...
Denials Based On Lack of Information Or Information and Belief

Where defendant lacks sufficient information to admit or deny an allegation, defendant may deny an a more...
Affirmative Defenses
Any "New Matter"

An answer must include any "new matter" that constitutes a defense to a complaint or cross-complaint more...

For guidance regarding pleading affirmative defenses, consult the California Civil Instructions ("CA more...
Waiver

Except for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a more...
Numbering of Defenses

Each separately stated defense must specifically state: more...

(1) Its number (e.g., first cause of action); more...

(2) Its nature (e.g., for fraud); more...

(3) The party asserting it if more than one party is represented on the pleading (e.g., by more...

plaintiff Jones); and more...

(4) The party or parties to whom it is directed (e.g., against defendant Smith). more...

. (Combines the provisions of old California Rule of Court 201(i) and old California Rule of court 3 more...
Statute of Limitations

Regarding the statute of limitations defense, "it is not necessary to state the facts showing the de more...
Inconsistent Defenses

Caselaw authority holds that a defendant may plead alternative or inconsistent affirmative defenses. more...
Affirmative Defenses Deemed Controverted

Defenses raised in an answer are deemed controverted by plaintiff. . more...
Answer To Verified Complaint
Verification Required, No General Denial

If the complaint in an unlimited civil case is verified, defendant's answer must be verified, i.e., more...
Limited Civil Cases

In a limited civil case, a general denial puts at issue all material allegations of the complaint, w more...
Prayer

Customarily, the answer includes a prayer requesting that plaintiff take nothing by way of the compl more...
Answer May Not Seek Affirmative Relief

An answer may not claim affirmative relief. A claim for relief must be asserted in a cross-complaint more...
Special Requirements for Particular Matters
Short Cause Cases

Short cause cases are governed by California Rule of Court 3.735. . more...
Uninsured Motorist Cases

To allow for arbitration of the plaintiff's claim, the California Rules of Court civil case manageme more...
Collections Cases

Collections cases are governed by California Rule of Court 3.740. . more...
Construction Defect Cases

Certain types of actions, including construction defect actions, must be filed in the Central Divisi more...
Unlawful Detainer

Unlawful detainer proceedings are governed by Local Rule 2.4.2. . more...
Uninsured Motorist--Local Rule

Local Rule requirements regarding uninsured motorist cases are found at Local Rule 2.4.3. . more...
Eminent Domain

Eminent domain actions are governed by Local Rule 2.4.5. . more...
EADACPA Proceedings

EADACPA proceedings are governed by Local Rule 2.4.9. . more...
Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act

Where a defendant is entitled to the benefits of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, the ac more...
Bankruptcy

Parties to an action must promptly make it known in writing to the court if during the litigation th more...

Formatting of Papers
Caption

Every pleading must contain a caption that sets forth the name of the court and county in which the more...
Answer to Cross-Complaint

On any pleading or paper subsequent to the initial complaint or cross-complaint, it is sufficient in more...
Special Answer To Cross-Complaint

A cross-defendant may file a separate document styled a "Special Answer" asserting defenses to the o more...
Official Form Answers

Official Form answers are available for many types of civil actions including personal injury, wrong more...
Signature

Every paper filed with the court must be signed by the attorney or unrepresented party submitting th more...
Additional Requirements

San Diego County SmartRules procedural guide: GENERALLY APPLICABLE RULES AND FORMATTING REQUIREMENT more...
Preemption of Local Rules

California Rule of Court 3.20 states that the Judicial Council preempts local court rules relating t more...
Additional Documents

The following documents may need to be filed and/or served with the Answer. more...
Notice of Related Case
Duty to Provide Notice

A party must serve and file a Notice of Related Case whenever a party in a civil action knows or lea more...
Definition of Related Case

A pending civil case is related to another action or proceeding pending, dismissed, or disposed of b more...

. more...

San Diego County SmartRules procedural guide: NOTICE OF RELATED CASE. more...
Filing & Service
Filing
All Pleadings With Proof of Service

All pleadings subsequent to the complaint must be filed with the court, together with proof of servi more...
Proof of Service

As used in the California Rules of Court, "proof of service" means a declaration stating that servic more...
Filing Fee

The San Diego County Superior Court fee schedule is online at . more...
Requirement of Electronic Filing in Some Jurisdictions

Electronic filing is required in some jurisdictions for certain types of actions, and is available b more...
E-Filing Mandatory for Construction Defect Cases

E-filing is mandatory in San Diego Superior Court for construction defect cases, including initial p more...
Service

All pleadings subsequent to the complaint must be served upon all adverse parties. . Service of an a more...
On Attorney of Represented Party

Whenever a document is required to be served on a party, the service must be made on the party's attorney

California Civil Courtroom Handbook and Desktop Reference. (KFC995 .Z9T46)
11:1 - 11:35

California Law and Motion Authorities. (KFC 1012.P37)
Discussion chapter 29

MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF SUMMONS

A Motion to Quash Service of Summons attacks the method the plaintiff used to serve the summons and complaint.

Common grounds include:

* Defect in the method of serving the summons
* Defect in the summons itself
* Failure to name the defendant in the summons
* Failure to serve the summons altogether

A Motion to Quash based on improper service usually will not dispose of a case permanently. If plaintiff can properly serve the defendant, the case will proceed.

More Information and Forms:

California Civil Practice: Procedure. Vol. 2, Ch. 10. (KFC995 .A65 B3)
Discussion 10:5-10:19 et seq
Forms 10:20-10:29

California Civil Procedure Before Trial. Vol. 2, Ch. 19. (KFC995 .C34)
Discussion 19:6 et seq

California Pretrial Civil Procedure. Vol. 1, Ch. 9. (KFC995 .M38)
Discussion 9:1 - 9:22
Forms 9:51-9:53

California Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial. Vol. 1, Ch. 3. (KFC995 .W45)
Discussion 3:376-406 et seq
Forms 3:4

California Forms of Pleading and Practice. Vol. 28, Ch. 323. (KFC1010 .A65C3)
Discussion 323:50 - 323:53
Forms 323:150 - 323:158

California Civil Courtroom Handbook and Desktop Reference. (KFC995 .Z9T46)
Discussion 6:2 - 6:12

California Law and Motion Authorities. (KFC 1012.P37)
Discussion chapter 26

MOTION TO STRIKE

With a Motion to Strike, the defendant asks the court to eliminate some of the language in the complaint. In limited jurisdiction cases, parties may only use this motion to attack the "prayer" portion of the complaint, where the plaintiff states the amount of money or relief being requested.

All or part of a pleading may be deleted on the various grounds set forth in CCP 436, including:

* It is not understandable
* It is not legal
* It repeats itself
* It is immaterial

A Motion to Strike is similar to a Demurrer, but is used to remove specific parts of a pleading, including phrases or individual words. A Motion to Strike is used to attack a specific portion of a cause of action, while a Demurrer is used to attack the entire cause of action.

More Information and Forms:

California Civil Practice: Procedure. Vol. 2, Ch. 10. (KFC995 .A65 B3)
Discussion 10:105-120
Forms 10:121-10:130

California Civil Procedure Before Trial. Vol. 2, Ch. 24. (KFC995 .C34)
Discussion, Ch. 24
Forms 24:26 - 24:27

California Pretrial Civil Procedure. Vol. 1, Ch. 12. (KFC995 .M38) (KFC995 .W45)
Discussion Ch. 12
Forms 12:24 - 12:25

California Forms of Pleading and Practice. Vol. 33, Chapter 375. (KFC1010.A65C3)
Discussion 375:1 et seq.
Forms 375:60- 375:62

California Civil Courtroom Handbook and Desktop Reference. (KFC995 .Z9T46)
Discussion 11:45 - 11:57

California Law and Motion Authorities. (KFC 1012.P37)
Discussion chapter 30

MOTION TO CHANGE VENUE/TRANSFER

A Motion to Change Venue or Transfer asks the Court to move the case to another court. This can be a court in another county or a different type of court.

Be careful of the timing of this type of motion; you will need to allow yourself enough time to file an Answer. See California Civil Courtroom Handbook and Desktop Reference (KFC 995 .Z9 T46), sections 4:4 and 4:7 for hints on timing this type of motion.

Grounds under which venue can be changed include:

* The case was filed in the wrong court
* An impartial trial cannot be had in the original court
* Witness convenience and the ends of justice are promoted by the transfer
* No judge of the court is qualified to act
* The case involves the state, city, county, or local agency

Changing venue does not terminate the case, it merely moves it to a different court.

More Information and Forms:

California Forms of Pleading and Practice. Vol. 50, Ch. 571. (KFC1010 .A65C3)
Discussion 571:30- 571:46
Forms 571:100 - 571:105

California Civil Practice: Procedure. Vol. 2, Ch. 10. (KFC995 .A65 B3)
Discussion 10:64-85
Forms 10:86-10:104

California Civil Procedure Before Trial. Vol. 2, Ch. 20. (KFC995 .C34)
Discussion Chapter 20
Forms 20:37 - 20:42

California Pretrial Civil Procedure. Vol. 1, Ch. 6. (KFC995 .M38)
Discussion 6:45 - 6:56
Forms 6:65 - 6:68

California Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial. Vol. 1, Ch. 3. (KFC995 .W45)
Discussion 3:450-606
Forms 3:6-11

California Civil Courtroom Handbook and Desktop Reference. (KFC995 .Z9T46)
Discussion 4:2 - 4:20

California Law and Motion Authorities. (KFC 1012.P37)
Discussion chapter 17

CROSS-COMPLAINTS
If you have a claim that arises out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of events as the plaintiff's lawsuit, you must file a Cross-Complaint with your Answer, or else give up the claim forever.

More Information and Forms:
Fill-in-the-blanks forms are available for Cross-Complaints in specific types of cases:

* Cross-Complaint-Personal Injury, Property Damage, Wrongful Death (form PLD-PI-002)
* Complaint-Contract (form PLD-C-001) (check the box for "Cross-Complaint")

These forms are available on the internet at http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/, on the library computers using USCourtForms, or may be photocopied from a form book in the library.

For instructions for completing a fill-in-the-blanks form, see Win Your Lawsuit, Ch. 8, KFC 968 .Z9 D86.

If these forms do not fit your needs, you can type your Cross-Complaint on pleading paper. Consult the following resources for more information, and for sample pleading-paper Cross-Complaints:

CaliforniaCivil Courtroom Handbook and Desktop Reference. (KFC995 .Z9T46)
Discussion 12:16 - 12:34

Win Your Lawsuit, Ch. 8, KFC968 .Z9 D86

CaliforniaForms of Pleading and Practice. Vol. 12, Ch. 123. (KFC1010 .A65C3)
Discussion 123:1-160
Forms 123:160-168

CaliforniaCivil Practice: Procedure. Vol. 2, Ch. 9. (KFC995 .A65 B3)
Discussion 9:118 -129
Forms 9:130 - 9:146

CaliforniaCivil Procedure Before Trial. Vol. 2, Ch. 26. (KFC995 .C34)
Discussion Chapter 26.
Forms 26:30-26:43

CaliforniaPretrial Civil Procedure. Vol. 1, Ch. 16. (KFC995 .M38)
Discussion Chapter 16
Forms 16:15 - 16:19

CaliforniaPractice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial. Vol. 1, Ch. 6. (KFC995 .W45)
Discussion 6:500-601
Forms 6:15 (forms volume)