The Forgotten Pleading
The Federal Courts Law Review, Volume 7, Issue 1 (Aug. 2013)
26 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2013
Date Written: August 2013
The Supreme Court’s decisions in Twombly and Iqbal fundamentally retooled the pleading standard applicable to claims for relief. This marked transformation from the "no-set-of-facts" standard under Conely to the "plausibility" standard under Twombly/Iqbal has dominated the discussion of pleadings standards. Lingering in the shadows is the civil answer. As we explain throughout the article, the answer is an important and somewhat complex pleading that can create efficiencies and avoid headaches. But its requirements, intricacies, and functions are all too frequently overlooked.
We seek to bring the answer back into focus. Our article proceeds in three parts. Part I discusses the basics of the answer. Parts II and III respectively consider two of the primary functions of the answer: to admit and deny allegations in the complaint, and to state defenses. We do not purport to offer an exhaustive discussion of the law relating to an answer, but instead seek to highlight certain of its oft-forgotten and misunderstood aspects, and to remind lawyers that mastery of the answer is fundamental to achieving success (and avoiding painful procedural traps) in federal court. We also draw on experience and share practice pointers along the way.
Keywords: Pleadings, Complaint, Answer, Twombly, Iqbal, Affirmative Defenses, Negative Defenses, Pretrial Motion Practice, Rule 12(b) Motions, Federal Courts, Civil Procedure
JEL Classification: K00, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation