Civil Complaint – commences the civil action, stating the basis for the court’s jurisdiction, the plaintiff’s claim, and specified demand(s) for relief

Fed. R. Civ. P Rule 3:  “A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court.


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. [1]

1. The initial pleading in a civil action , in which the plaintiff alleges a cause of action and asks that the wrong done to him be remedied by the court. [2]

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 defendantFed.. R. Civ. P. 14[1]

Civil Complaint Official Form
and self-help walkthrough

How to Amend or Add Information to a Complaint that was Previously Filed


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4


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Intro to U.S. Law

Legal Precepts Adopted (from Europe) into The U.S. Constitution

§ § of Law Embedded into the Constitution Pursuant to the American Revolution

Indian Country Law

Federal Rules of Procedure

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