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Answering a Summons and Complaint in Michigan


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Due to Michigan having specific and unusual requirements for answering a summons and complaint, I thought I'd start a thread to address these specific issues.

DISCLAIMER: Please remember, this is ONLY for information that relates to MICHIGAN! For other states, YMMV and this thread do not constitute the "end all-be all" to submitting answers in ANY state! Laws and rules change, so be sure to do your own research, or consult with an attorney. I could be making this up for all you know!!!

Do you live in Michigan? Have you just been served a "Summons and Complaint"? Wondering how you should respond and answer this complaint? Hopefully this thread will help you research how to answer your complaint.

One procedural rule a defendant in Michigan should be aware of is Rule 2.115 "Motion to Correct or to Strike Pleadings". Rule 2.115 states:

"Rule 2.115 Motion to Correct or to Strike Pleadings

(A) Motion for More Definite Statement. If a pleading is so vague or ambiguous that it fails to comply with the requirements of these rules, an opposing party may move for a more definite statement before filing a responsive pleading. The motion must point out the defects complained of and the details desired. If the motion is granted and is not obeyed within 14 days after notice of the order, or within such other time as the court may set, the court may strike the pleading to which the motion was directed or enter an order it deems just.

(B) Motion to Strike. On motion by a party or on the court's own initiative, the court may strike from a pleading redundant, immaterial, impertinent, scandalous, or indecent matter, or may strike all or part of a pleading not drawn in conformity with these rules."

Chapter 1. General Provisions

Did you catch that (the bolded part)? "An opposing party" --usually known as the defendant (aka: the debtor/YOU!)--"may move for a more definite statement"--meaning you can ask them to clarify what the claims in the suit are--"before filing a responsive pleading."--and there's the timeline of when it must be filed, which is BEFORE you submit your ANSWER to the court!!

So basically if you want to file a "Motion for a More Definitive Statement", you MUST do it BEFORE you file your answer!

Now, this thread is not to debate, discuss, or otherwise list the whys and wherefores that someone might need to file such a motion. Please do not hijack this thread on this topic. If you feel the need to discuss or have questions about this motion please see these other two threads that are already active on this subject:

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forums/there-lawyer-house/310289-motion-more-definite-statement.html

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forums/there-lawyer-house/309751-motion-more-definite-statement-before-answering-worked-great-me-oh.html

NOW!! On to the subject of "Answering a Summons and Complaint in Michigan" :mrgreen:

Edited by MamaCaldo
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First requirement of knowing how to respond and answer a complaint is:

Read your court's Rules of Civil Procedure

Shall I repeat that? I will just so the point gets across:

Read your court's Rules of Civil Procedure

I can hear you gasping and stuttering. "But, but, but, I HAVE to reply in XX days!! I don't have time to read all of that!" Well, "you've been served", so now you have a serious learning curve with a deadline. If you want to learn how to do this pro se, you are going to have to take the time to read, learn, and research every aspect of your case. No one (except an attorney) can do it for you. Hopefully this thread will help you on your "legal adventure".

In Michigan, there are rules and procedures as to how you are to format your answer, and acceptable responses. I will try to share with you the applicable rule and/or law with a linky, to help give you a leg up in your reading and research. Just keep in mind, rules and laws change over the years, so be sure to double check EVERTHING to be assured it is up to date for YOUR answer to YOUR complaint for YOUR COURT!!

Points to Ponder:

Timeline: Do you know how to count the days to understand when your paperwork is to be filed in a "timely manner"?

Paper and Font Size: Does it matter? (yes it does!!)

Proper Formatting: Did you put your case number on your paperwork? Do you know where it is supposed to go?

These are the details that might lose (or win) your case! If you do not read your Rules of Civil Procedure, you will be at a severe disadvantage.

Linky to Michigan "Rules of Civil Procedure": http://coa.courts.mi.gov/rules/

You should also google "Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure" just to make sure my linky is up to date and correct. Rules and laws do change, so do your "due diligence"!!!

Edited by MamaCaldo
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Just saving this space from my next post... :mrgreen:

Some Michigan Case Law That Might Be Useful:

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forums/there-lawyer-house/308382-lesher-v-kay-upheld.html

"A Day in the Life of a ParaLegal" (or learn how the pros do it!)

(has good notes on writing your answer, discovery, and many other things)

http://paralegalmentor.com/documents/DiscoveryHandout.pdf

Edited by MamaCaldo
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