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.