September 9, 2019

How To Respond To A Lawsuit In California

California is a very litigious state. It may be the most litigious in the nation. If you or your business have been sued, it is imperative that you understand how to respond to a lawsuit. It’s in your interest to hire an attorney to defend against the lawsuit. However, if you do choose to proceed on your own, there are a few fundamentals you must understand.

Time to respond to a California lawsuit:

  • If you were personally served with the lawsuit, then you have 30 calendar days to respond.
  • If you were served via substitute service, meaning somebody was served on your behalf, you have 40 calendar days to respond.

How to respond to a California lawsuit:

    • Answer
      • An answer is the most common way to respond to a lawsuit. The answer is when you can admit or deny the allegations that are against you in the complaint. IMPORTANT: any statements that are not denied will be taken as true for the purposes of this case.
      • The answer should also contain your affirmative defenses. You should contact a qualified litigation lawyer to help you with this.
      • The answer can be on a court form for certain types of answers, but must be on pleading paper for other types of lawsuits.
    • Demurrer
      • A demurrer looks at the legal sufficiency of the complaint as it is plead, not the truth of anything said in the complaint or the plaintiff’s ability to prove what is said in the complaint.
      • In the demurrer, you must state what was left out of the complaint to make it legally insufficient.
      • You can object to all or just parts of the complaint on various ground:
        • The complaint fails to state a cause of action.
        • The complaint is uncertain or unclear.
        • Another case is pending between the parties for the same cause of action.
        • The plaintiff does not have the legal capacity to sue.
      • A demurrer in California can either be sustained or overruled.
        • If it is sustained, it can be sustained with leave or without leave. With leave means the plaintiff will have an opportunity to amend the complaint. Without leave means the complaint is dismissed.

A demurrer and answer are the most common ways that a defendant in a California lawsuit responds to a complaint. There are other options, such as filing a motion to quash service of the summons, filing a motion to strike, and others. We at Beverly Hills Law Corp., PC are ready and able to assess your options. Call us for a free consultation.

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