All Types of Pleadings – formal documents setting forth or responding to allegations, claims, denials, or defenses


1. A formal document in which a party to a legal proceeding (especially a civil lawsuit) sets forth or responds to allegations, claims, denials, or defenses. In federal civil procedure, the main pleadings are the plaintiff‘s complaint & the defendant‘s answer. [1]

1. Formal statements by the parties to an action setting forth their claims or defenses.  EXAMPLES of pleadings include: a complaint; a cross-complaint; an answer; a counterclaim.  The various kinds of pleadings and the rules governing them are set forth in detail in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and, with respect to pleading in state courts, by the rules of civil procedure of the several states.  These rules of procedure abolished common law pleading.  — See alternative pleading; amendment of pleading; defective pleading; false pleading; frivolous pleading; judgment on the pleadings; responsive pleading; sham pleading; supplemental pleading. [2]

Related Terms:

Statute of Jeofails – a law permitting a litigant to acknowledge an error in a pleading and correct or amend the pleading without risking dismissal of the claim.

That Which Arises from within Pleadings:

Issue – a material point or question arising out of the pleadings in a case, which is disputed by the parties and which they wish the court to decide.

Types of Pleadings:

Civil Pleadings – for use in civil proceedings (torts).

Criminal Pleadings – for use in criminal proceedings.

Historical Pleadings Not Included or Replaced within the Federal Rules of Procedure

Demurrer – a former type of pleading that has been replaced by the Motion to Dismiss or via pointing out a substantive defect within the defendant’s answer.



[1] Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[3] Sabin D. Puterbaugh, Puteraugh’s Common Law Pleading & Practice 36-37 (3rd ed. 1873) ISBN13: 9781240177844


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