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Answering a Summons and Complaint

When you are served with a Summons and Complaint, a lawsuit against you has commenced.  To protect your legal rights, you must serve a formal written answer on the opposing party. The information, which follows, is not legal advice.  Each case is unique and if you have any questions, you may wish to contact an attorney.   If you choose to proceed without an attorney, you must understand that you will be held to the same standards as an attorney in following procedural rules and meeting statutory requirements.  You may wish to consult the resources and materials available at the Dakota County Law Library located at 1560 Highway 55, Hastings, MN  55033.

A complaint consists of one or more allegations set out in numbered paragraphs stating why you are being sued. A complaint must also specify the relief that is being requested by the plaintiff from the court. In your answer to the complaint, you must answer each numbered allegation specifically.  At each number, state what allegation(s) you are addressing and state your response to that allegation(s) either admitting or denying with the reason for denial.  Do not skip any of the allegations as this may be taken as an admission on your part. If the complaint contains more allegations than the form has lines, extra pages may be attached. You may also specify what relief you are requesting from the court in your answer. What you should or should not include in your answer must be determined by you alone.  If you are not sure how much information to include, or how to word your answer, you should contact an attorney.  Court staff cannot give legal advice and they cannot tell you whether or not what you have written or how you have answered is correct. 

You must sign the Answer in two places. You must sign at the end of your answer and must also give your address and telephone number. The Answer must also be verified.  This is a separate part at the end of the Answer.  You must sign the verification in front of a notary public or court clerk.

A copy of your completed, signed and verified Answer must be served on the opposing party or his/her attorney within 20 days after you receive the Summons and Complaint.  Because you are a party to the lawsuit, you are not allowed to serve the papers personally so you must have someone do it for you. Anyone who is not involved in the lawsuit and is over the age of 18 may serve the papers.  Whether the papers are hand delivered, mailed or faxed, the person must fill out an Affidavit of Service. 

After the papers are served, you must file the original Answer and the Affidavit of Service with the Court and pay the filing fee.

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