Jump to content

Providing Evidence with your Answer


DTrump
 Share

Recommended Posts

In a civil case, when preparing your Answer, is it alright to include evidence with your Answer, and attach it as an Exhibit?

Or is this something that should wait for Discovery?

 

I received a summons and complaint (civil case) for a Housing complaint in Housing Court. I am going to be filing my answer and I have evidence to basically shoot down the complaint immediately, but I'm not sure if this should be attached to my answer or if I should wait until the Discovery process.

 

This is in MA

 

Thank you,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If this is a debt that you don't owe and can prove it, you might be able to file a Motion to Dismiss in lieu of filing an answer.   It would be based upon the plaintiff's failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted.  In that case, you might want to attach evidence to such a motion.  But in filing the motion, you have to be absolutely sure that the evidence supports your claim.

 

Try contacting your state's legal aid service to get some answers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A 12(b(6) motion to dismiss that incorporates matters outside the pleadings (i.e., additional evidence) can be converted to a rule 56 motion for summary judgment. 

 

If you're going to provide additional evidence, make darn sure  you provide enough to win because you may not get another bite at the summary judgment apple. 

 

The Massachusetts rules of civil procedure track the federal rules. You can file a 12(b motion to dismiss before your answer. If you lose, you'll be instructed to file your answer within a few days. This should be the routine practice for everyone when permitted. Even though the motion is likely to be denied, it will give you an insight into the court's opinion of the plaintiff's claim and more often than not, will provide a roadmap to prosecuting (and defending) the rest of the case. 

 

If I were in your position, I would craft as good a motion to dismiss as I could - without providing additional - evidence. I would expect the motion to be denied, but also hope to receive some guidance from the court as to what I need to do to prevail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I were in your position, I would craft as good a motion to dismiss as I could - without providing additional - evidence. I would expect the motion to be denied, but also hope to receive some guidance from the court as to what I need to do to prevail.

 

@nascar

 

This confuses my "non-attorney" brain.  If the OP has evidence that proves he's not responsible, why wouldn't he want to provide that evidence?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@nascar

 

This confuses my "non-attorney" brain.  If the OP has evidence that proves he's not responsible, why wouldn't he want to provide that evidence?

 

@BV80

 

Because the o/p believes he has evidence, that does not mean the Court will agree. The evidence must erase any issue of material fact and entitle o/p to judgment as a matter of law. If the evidence merely creates an issue of fact; one that simply disputes the allegations in the complaint, o/p will not prevail. That said, that is why I suggested to the o/p be darn sure  the evidence is dispository before potentially wasting the chance at summary judgment down the road.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@nascar This discussion makes me wonder what is the standard for "matters outside the pleadings" when there has only been a complaint filled. In my very narrow scope of experience, it would seem anything related to the debt would be considered to be within the pleadings, especially when the MTD would be based on the defendant's position that the debt is bogus.

I just learned of this rule recently and have never heard of a court converting a MTD to a MSJ so I was also wondering how regularly courts exercise this rule in your experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In a civil case, when preparing your Answer, is it alright to include evidence with your Answer, and attach it as an Exhibit?

Or is this something that should wait for Discovery?

 

I received a summons and complaint (civil case) for a Housing complaint in Housing Court. I am going to be filing my answer and I have evidence to basically shoot down the complaint immediately, but I'm not sure if this should be attached to my answer or if I should wait until the Discovery process.

 

This is in MA

 

Thank you,

I am unfamiliar as to whether a "Housing complaint" is a plain old civil debt collection complaint or something else.

 

A 12(b(6) motion to dismiss that incorporates matters outside the pleadings (i.e., additional evidence) can be converted to a rule 56 motion for summary judgment. 

 

If you're going to provide additional evidence, make darn sure  you provide enough to win because you may not get another bite at the summary judgment apple. 

 

The Massachusetts rules of civil procedure track the federal rules. You can file a 12(b motion to dismiss before your answer. If you lose, you'll be instructed to file your answer within a few days. This should be the routine practice for everyone when permitted. Even though the motion is likely to be denied, it will give you an insight into the court's opinion of the plaintiff's claim and more often than not, will provide a roadmap to prosecuting (and defending) the rest of the case. 

 

If I were in your position, I would craft as good a motion to dismiss as I could - without providing additional - evidence. I would expect the motion to be denied, but also hope to receive some guidance from the court as to what I need to do to prevail.

While I would agree that filing a clean MTD w/o any potential to convert to MSJ is the way to approach a "failure to state a claim..." style MTD it is my impression and experience that the "guidance" or benefits received under such an MTD typically will mostly accrue to the non-movant instead of the moving party. Professional opinions seem to vary. As always YMMV.

 

@nascar This discussion makes me wonder what is the standard for "matters outside the pleadings" when there has only been a complaint filled. In my very narrow scope of experience, it would seem anything related to the debt would be considered to be within the pleadings, especially when the MTD would be based on the defendant's position that the debt is bogus.

I just learned of this rule recently and have never heard of a court converting a MTD to a MSJ so I was also wondering how regularly courts exercise this rule in your experience.

Study the case law from your jurisdiction. If the evidence is "referenced" in the pleadings it may be permited to be added as evidence to an MTD without opening the door for conversion to MSJ. I have not seen a bright-line conversion definition in Arizona case law but could have missed it. Any posting of such would be appreciated. I would also assume a bright-line MA case law definition would be desired by the OP, should such exist.

--

I typically view a "failure to state a claim.." MTD done in response to a complaint as mostly assisting opposing in cleaning up their pleadings. MTDs seem appropriate in cases where things cannot be "cleaned up" by opposing filing a amended complaint. Something along the lines of an SOL comes to mind.

 

An MTD that can be remedied by the non-movant seem to have its best success when used against a party that doesn't know 1.) that they can amend or 2.) how to amend their pleadings. I would assume an average attorney *should* know how to properly amend. At that point all that has been accomplished is that opposition's pleadings now have less deficiencies and they are likely much tighter and cleaner. Not something I would want to spend my time assisting opposing with accomplishing.

 

Cites to posts here where posters have prevailed on "failure to state a claim" type MTDs would be enlightening IMO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@nascar This discussion makes me wonder what is the standard for "matters outside the pleadings" when there has only been a complaint filled. In my very narrow scope of experience, it would seem anything related to the debt would be considered to be within the pleadings, especially when the MTD would be based on the defendant's position that the debt is bogus.

I just learned of this rule recently and have never heard of a court converting a MTD to a MSJ so I was also wondering how regularly courts exercise this rule in your experience.

 

More often than not, Courts disregard the additional evidence in order to avoid having to convert. A "matter outside the pleading" is pretty much anything not specifically identified in the pleading. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.