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1The topic of this issue of the newsletter is the filing of an answer to a civil complaint in California.

There are two general types of civil complaints in California, unverified and verified. Most complaints are unverified unless a particular statute or code provides otherwise, although any complaint may be verified at the option of plaintiff. The rules discussed here also apply to cross-complaints. If a complaint is verified the answer must be verified. And any answer to a complaint by a governmental entity must be verified. See Code of Civil Procedure 446. A verified answer must admit or deny each and every paragraph of the complaint, and must also contain a verification signed by the defendant or defendants stating that they have read the answer and everything contained therein is true and correct to the best of their knowledge. The verification must be signed under penalty of perjury. Note that failure to file a verified answer when one is required will subject the answer to a motion to strike on the grounds that it is not verified. As stated earlier, defendant must admit or deny each and every paragraph of the complaint. Admissions or denials generally consist of the following: A. B. C. Defendant denies the allegations of paragraph 1. (example only). Defendant admits the allegations of paragraph 2. (example only). Defendant has no information or belief that the allegations of paragraph 3 are true so defendant denies them. (example only).

Any allegations of a verified complaint that are not specifically denied are deemed admitted. An unverified complaint may be answered by a general denial in which the defendant(s) generally deny all of the allegations of the complaint. An answer should also contain specific affirmative defenses tailored to the individual case. An answer that contains nothing but boilerplate affirmative defenses is vulnerable to a general demurrer on the grounds that the answer fails to state facts sufficient to state any defenses to the complaint. The various affirmative defenses must be separately stated; and must refer to the causes of action to which they relate "in a manner by which they may be intelligently distinguished." Code of Civil Procedure 431.30(g); see Hata v. Los Angeles County Harbor/UCLA Med. Ctr. (1995) 31 Cal.App. 4th 1791, 1805. Failure to separately state the various affirmative defenses and refer to the causes of action to which they relate could be grounds for a special demurrer on the grounds of uncertainty. In FPI Development, Inc vs. A1 Nakashima, (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 367, 384, the court held that the affirmative defenses pled in an answer to a complaint must be pled in the same fashion, and with the same specificity, as a cause of action in a complaint. Because conclusory allegations are not admitted by demurrer, and because conclusory allegations have no pleading value, conclusory and boilerplate affirmative defenses are insufficient. (emphasis added.) Code of Civil Procedure 430.10 states, in pertinent part: The party against whom a complaint or

cross-complaint has been filed may object, by demurrer or answer as provided in section 430.30, to the pleading on any one or more of the following grounds...(e) the pleading does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. (f) The pleading is uncertain. As used in this subdivision, uncertain includes ambiguous and unintelligible. (g) In an action founded upon a contract, it cannot be ascertained from the pleading whether the contract is written, is oral, or is implied by conduct. Thus the answering party may use the same objections as can be raised in a demurrer to the complaint in their answer to the complaint. An answer should contain whatever denials or affirmative defenses are necessary to controvert the material allegations of the complaint. Its function is to put the case "at issue" as to all important matters alleged in the complaint that defendant does not want to admit. An answer cannot be used to claim affirmative relief; a cross-complaint must be filed. See Code of Civil Procedure 431.30. In pleading the statute of limitations, "it is not necessary to state the facts showing the defense, but it may be stated generally that the cause of action is barred by the provisions of Section (giving the number of the section and subdivision thereof, if it is so divided, relied upon) of the Code of Civil Procedure." Code of Civil Procedure 458. The answering party should be sure to cite the specific statute and subdivision when pleading the statute of limitations in the answer as a pleading that fails to specify both the applicable statute and subdivision "raise(s) no issue and present(s) no defense." See Davenport v. Stratton (1944) 24 Cal 2d 232, 246, 247. see also Brown v. World Church (1969) 272 Cal.App. 2d 684, 691, plea that action barred by Code of Civil Procedure 339 not sufficient because that statute contains several subdivisions. Failure to specify a statute's subdivision has been overlooked, however, where it is the only subdivision "that could by any possibility be applicable to this case." Churchill v. Woodworth (1906) 148 Cal 669, 676, (dealing with Code of Civil Procedure 339); see also Hydro-Mill Co., Inc. v. Hayward, Tilton & Rolapp Ins. Assocs., Inc. (2004) 115 Cal.App. 4th 1145, 1164,1165, (same.) If you enjoy this newsletter, tell others about it. They can subscribe by visiting the following link: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm Have a great week and thanks for being a subscriber. Yours Truly, Stan Burman The author of this newsletter, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California civil litigation since 1995. The authors website: http://www.legaldocspro.net View numerous sample document sold by the author: http://www.scribd.com/legaldocspro 2012 Stan Burman. All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the author of this newsletter, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this newsletter is NOT intended to constitute legal advice. These materials and information contained in this newsletter have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this newsletter is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the sender and receiver. Subscribers and any other readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.