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Posted on Oct 29, 2013 in Legal Process | 0 comments

What is a Summons and Complaint?

What is a Summons and Complaint?

A Summons is a notice to a defendant that a law suit has been commenced against them.  This gives them notice of the court and explains that they have a specific time to answer the complaint or the filing party may be awarded relief against them by default.  Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure outline the necessary contents of a Summons as:

(A) name the court and the parties;

(B) be directed to the defendant;

(C) state the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney or—if unrepresented—of the plaintiff;

(D) state the time within which the defendant must appear and defend;

(E) notify the defendant that a failure to appear and defend will result in a default judgment against the defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint;

(F) be signed by the clerk; and

(G) bear the court’s seal.

The Complaint is the document that includes allegations that establish the facts necessary to grant the court jurisdiction, make sure the court that the lawsuit is filed in is the proper venue.  It also states that allegations against the other party and the relief being sought.  So, if you are being sued for not paying a debt on time, that is a breach of contract action.  The complaint will make allegations about the identity of the parties, where they live or operate their businesses, that there was a contract where you agreed to pay according to a certain schedule, that you failed to hold up your end of the bargain and that the plaintiff is entitled to some type of relief – usually some money damages.