1. The initial pleading that starts a civil action and states the basis for the court’s jurisdiction, the basis for the plaintiff’s claim, and the demand for relief. In some states (cases), this pleading is called a petition. 
well-pleaded complaint – (1954) An original or initial pleading that sufficiently sets forth a claim for relief — by including the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, the basis for the relief claimed, and a demand for judgment — so that’a defendant may draft an answer that is responsive to the issues presented. * In federal court, a well-pleaded complaint must raise a controlling issue of federal law, or else the court will not have federal-question jurisdiction over the lawsuit.
short-form complaint – (1911) A simplified, convenient, indorsed complaint typically used by pro se litigants. * As contrasted with a formal complaint, a short-form complaint may be used in certain actions normally requiring the use of a formal complaint, but maybe construed as conferring jurisdiction while containing a defect, curable by amendment.
third-party complaint – (1938) A complaint filed by the defendant against a third party, alleging that the third party may be liable for some or all of the damages that the plaintiff is trying to recover from the defendant. Fed.. R. Civ. P. 14. 
Civil Complaint Official Form
and self-help walkthrough
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