What is the proper way to write a response to a small claims summons?

Full Question:

What is the proper way to write a response to a small claims summons? I am the defendant and I have been served, and it said I had 30 days to respond or a judgement would be made by default. What is the proper, legal way to respond? I am going to plead not gulity and I also want them to provide proof of the bill/original contract/etc. How would I go about writing a formal response. I can not afford a lawyer. Please attach sample lettes so that i can use them as a reference, in order to respond to the court summons. Please advise what the other forms i will need to fill out, in order to answer the court properly.
03/26/2009   |   Category: Courts ยป Pleadings   |   State: California   |   #15766


An answer is a legally sufficient response to the allegations that have been alleged against you in the complaint. The answer will generally either admit or deny each claim made by paragraph, or state an inability to admit or deny for lack of knowledge. Defenses may also be raised. A counterclaim or cross claim may also be asserted.

By filing an answer, you have insured that a default judgment will not be entered against you without an opportunity to be heard. A certificate of service is attached to the answer to prove that a copy was delivered to the opposing party(ies). Discovery is the method used to gather information from opposing parties. A request for production is used to obtain documents, such as contracts, that are in the other party's control. A subpeona duces tecum may also be used to require a witness to bring items along at the summoned appearance.

A number of defenses are available to defendants who are sued for breach of contract. For example, a defendant might assert that no breach was committed because the parties never actually formed a contract due to the lack of an offer, an acceptance, consideration, mutuality of obligation, or a writing. Alternatively, a defendant might assert that he or she lacked capacity to enter the contract, arguing that the contract should be declared void on the grounds that the defendant was incompetent, insane or intoxicated at the time it was entered. The law also affords defendants several other defenses in breach of contract actions.

They include:

(1) unconscionability;

(2) mistake;

(3) fraud;

(4) undue influence; and

(5) duress.

Please see the forms at the links below for examples of answers. The precise form of the response will vary by the circumstances in each case, so our forms may be modified to suit your needs..