I’ve Been Served! Now What?

When You Receive a Summons and Complaint

If you receive a Summons and Complaint, it probably states what the lawsuit is about, asks a bunch of questions, and asks for relief from the court. For the most part, this relief is an amount of money. After you are served, you have 20 days to serve an Answer on the plaintiff. If you don’t serve the Answer in that time frame, the plaintiff can proceed to court to obtain the relief they demanded in the initial pleading that they served on you. This means it’s very important to draft and serve and Answer within the 20-day period. Writing an Answer comes with some pitfalls. If you don’t assert certain defenses or raise the right counterclaims, the court can decide you have waived them. For all these reasons, as well as simple peace of mind, if you are served with a lawsuit, consult with an attorney immediately. The more time your attorney has to research and work on your Answer, the better.

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