Pleadings

Pleadings in the United States

Contents:

Formal statements of claims and responses by parties to a legal action. The Pleadings become the basis of the questions taken to trial. The civil process commences with the filing of a complaint by the plaintiff. The complaint is answered by the defendant. Additional submissions, governed by the rules of civil procedure, may follow. The Pleadings are the total of these submissions filed by the parties.

See Also

Answer (Civil Process) Discovery (Civil Process).

Analysis and Relevance

Under common law, Pleadings were an involved process. Through a series of successive statements, legal issues were narrowed or focused for adjudication. Contemporary federal and state rules of civil procedure have generally confined Pleadings to the initial complaint, an answer, responses to counter or cross claims, and arguments pertaining to third parties. The focusing function performed by Pleadings under common law is now largely handled through processes of discovery.

Notes and References

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

Pleadings Definition

In Chancery Practice. The written allegations of the respective parties in the suit. The pleadings in equity are less formal than those at common law. The parts of the . pleadings are (1) the bill, which contains the plaintiflf’s statement of his case, or information, where the suit IS brought by a public officer in behalf of the sovereign; (2) the demurrer, by which the defendant demands judgment of the court, whether he shall be compelled to answer the bill or not; (3) the plea, whereby he shows some cause why the suit should be dismissed or barred; (4) the answer, which, controverting the case stated by the bill, confesses and avoids it, or traverses and denies the material allegations in the bill, or, admitting the case made by the bill, submits to the judgment of the court upon it, or relies upon a new case, or upon new matter stated in the answer, or upon both; (5) disclaimer, which seeks at once a termination of the suit by the defendants, disclaiming all right and interest in the matter sought by the bill. Story, Eq. PI. § 546; Mitf. Eq. PI. (Jeremy Ed.) 13, 106; Cooper, Eq. PI. 108; 2 Story (U. S.) 59. In Common-Law Civil Practice. The statements of the parties, in legal and proper manner, of the causes of action and grounds of defense. The result of pleading. They were formerly made by the parties or their counsel, orally, in open court, under the control of the judge. They were then called the parole. 3 Bl. Comm. 293; 2 Reeve, Hist. Eng. Law, 267. The regular parts are (1) the declaration or count; (2) the plea, which is either to the jurisdiction of the court, or suspending the action, as in the case of a parol demurrer, or in abatement, or in bar of the action, or in replevin, an avowry or cognizance; (3) the replication, and, in case of an evasive plea, a new assignment, or, in replevin, the plea in bar to the avowry or cognizance; (4) the rejoinder, or, in replevin the replication to the plea in bar; (5) the sur-rejoinder, being in replevin the rejoinder; (6) the rebutter; (7) the surrebutter (Viner, Abr. Pleas and Pleading [C] ; Bac. Abr. Pleas and Pleadings [A]); (8) pleas puis darrein continuance, when the matter of defense arises pending the suit. The irregular or collateral parts of pleading are stated to be (1) demurrers to any part of the pleadings above mentioned; (2) demurrers to evidence given at trials; (3) bills of exceptions; (4) pleas in scire facias; (5) and please in error. Viner, Abr. Pleas and Pleadings (C); Bouv. Inst. Index. In Civil Practice under the Codes. The pleadings are (1) the complaint, (2) the answer, (3) the reply, and (4) the demurrer, which lies to either complaint, answer or reply. In Criminal Practice. The pleadings are (1) the indictment; (2) the plea, either special or general.

Pleadings in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias

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Pleadings Pleadings in the European Legal Encyclopedia.
Pleadings Pleadings in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia.
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Pleadings Pleadings in the Australian Legal Encyclopedia.

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Legal Issue for Attorneys

In Chancery Practice. The written allegations of the respective parties in the suit. The pleadings in equity are less formal than those at common law. The parts of the . pleadings are (1) the bill, which contains the plaintiflf’s statement of his case, or information, where the suit IS brought by a public officer in behalf of the sovereign; (2) the demurrer, by which the defendant demands judgment of the court, whether he shall be compelled to answer the bill or not; (3) the plea, whereby he shows some cause why the suit should be dismissed or barred; (4) the answer, which, controverting the case stated by the bill, confesses and avoids it, or traverses and denies the material allegations in the bill, or, admitting the case made by the bill, submits to the judgment of the court upon it, or relies upon a new case, or upon new matter stated in the answer, or upon both; (5) disclaimer, which seeks at once a termination of the suit by the defendants, disclaiming all right and interest in the matter sought by the bill. Story, Eq. PI. § 546; Mitf. Eq. PI. (Jeremy Ed.) 13, 106; Cooper, Eq. PI. 108; 2 Story (U. S.) 59. In Common-Law Civil Practice. The statements of the parties, in legal and proper manner, of the causes of action and grounds of defense. The result of pleading. They were formerly made by the parties or their counsel, orally, in open court, under the control of the judge. They were then called the parole. 3 Bl. Comm. 293; 2 Reeve, Hist. Eng. Law, 267. The regular parts are (1) the declaration or count; (2) the plea, which is either to the jurisdiction of the court, or suspending the action, as in the case of a parol demurrer, or in abatement, or in bar of the action, or in replevin, an avowry or cognizance; (3) the replication, and, in case of an evasive plea, a new assignment, or, in replevin, the plea in bar to the avowry or cognizance; (4) the rejoinder, or, in replevin the replication to the plea in bar; (5) the sur-rejoinder, being in replevin the rejoinder; (6) the rebutter; (7) the surrebutter (Viner, Abr. Pleas and Pleading [C] ; Bac. Abr. Pleas and Pleadings [A]); (8) pleas puis darrein continuance, when the matter of defense arises pending the suit. The irregular or collateral parts of pleading are stated to be (1) demurrers to any part of the pleadings above mentioned; (2) demurrers to evidence given at trials; (3) bills of exceptions; (4) pleas in scire facias; (5) and please in error. Viner, Abr. Pleas and Pleadings (C); Bouv. Inst. Index. In Civil Practice under the Codes. The pleadings are (1) the complaint, (2) the answer, (3) the reply, and (4) the demurrer, which lies to either complaint, answer or reply. In Criminal Practice. The pleadings are (1) the indictment; (2) the plea, either special or general.

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Notice

This definition of Pleadings Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

Written statements of the claims and defenses of parties to a court action.

In almost all states, a legal proceeding is commenced when the first pleading is filed with the clerk of the court (in U.S. law) by the person bringing the suit. The plaintiff the person bringing the suit makes a written statement in clear and concise language of the facts that caused him or her to bring the suit. The designation of this first pleading varies with the court; it might be called a complaint, a declaration, a libel, or a petition (in U.S. law). In some states, the first pleading in an equity (in U.S. law) action is designated as a bill (in U.S. law) in Equity or a bill (in U.S. law) of Complaint. (See complaint (in U.S. law) .) A summons (in U.S. law) , or its equivalent, is then issued and served upon the person against whom the action is brought usually called the defendant (in U.S. law). The defendant answers the summons and complaint, defending himself or herself by raising legal arguments or by denying the facts stated by the plaintiff in the complaint. When the case is finally submitted to the court for a decision, the judge decides controversies about legal points; a jury, or a judge acting in place of a jury, decides questions of fact. See practice and procedure (in U.S. law).

(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Pleadings?

For a meaning of it, read Pleadings in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Pleadings.

Pleadings in State Statute Topics

Introduction to Pleadings (State statute topic)

The purpose of Pleadings is to provide a broad appreciation of the Pleadings legal topic. Select from the list of U.S. legal topics for information (other than Pleadings).

When Justice so Requires: Amendments to Pleadings under the Federal Rules

There is some information in the United States Procedure Law section of this American Legal Encyclopedia about When Justice so Requires: Amendments to Pleadings under the Federal Rules. For a wide overview, read about Steps in the Litigation Process

Pleadings (Eminent Domain Proceedings)

This section introduces, discusses and describes the basics of pleadings. Then, cross references and a brief overview about Eminent Domain Proceedings is provided. Finally, the subject of Civil Procedure in relation with pleadings is examined. Note that a list of cross references, bibliography and other resources appears at the end of this entry.

Pleadings (Civil Procedure)

This section introduces, discusses and describes the basics of pleadings. Then, cross references and a brief overview about Civil Procedurein relation to pleadings is provided. Note that a list of bibliography resources and other aids appears at the end of this entry.

Resources

Further Reading

Pleadings in the Context of Law Research

The Thurgood Marshall School of Law Library defined briefly Pleadings as: A formal document in which a party to a legal proceeding sets forth or responds to allegations, claims, denials or defenses. The plaintiff’s complaint or declaration is followed by the defendant’s answer; subsequent papers may be filed as needed.Legal research resources, including Pleadings, help to identify the law that governs an activity and to find materials that explain that law.

Pleadings Definition in the context of the Federal Court System

Written statements filed with the court that describe a party’s legal or factual assertions about the case.

Pleadings: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Pleadings. This part provides references, in relation to Pleadings, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Pleadings by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Pleadings and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Pleadings or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Pleadings and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Pleadings. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Pleadings should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Pleadings when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

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