Counter Claim

Counter Claim in the United States

Demand made by a defendant against the plaintiff in a civil action. A counter claim is a response to a claim. Instead of seeking to defend or deny the plaintiffs claim, the defendant files a counter claim or action against the plaintiff. The counter claim is a method designed to contest the plaintiffs complaint by the filing of an independent cause of action. A compulsory counter claim is one stemming from the same fact situation as the plaintiffs initial claim. A permissive counter claim does not arise out of the original incident or transaction.

See Also

Answer (Civil Process) Cross Claim (Civil Process).

Analysis and Relevance

A counter claim allows a defendant to do more than merely defend against a legal action. The counter claim permits a defendant to set forth a claim of his or her own that might entitle the defendant to reduce or offset what might be owed the plaintiff. In the most successful scenario, the defendant would actually win the case on the counter claim. Where a mandatory counter claim is pursued, a trial would proceed in much the same way as it would in the absence of a counter claim. If the counter claim stems from a totally separate fact situation, a separate case is required. As a result, restrictions exist on permissive counter claims. A counter claim is a particular response to a civil action. A plaintiff might, for example, sue to obtain the full purchase price of some item from a buyer, the defendant. The defendant could either attempt to defend not paying the full price or file a counter claim alleging, for example, that the purchase was made on the basis of false representation.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Counter Claim from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California



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