The Importance of a Timely Response to a Civil Lawsuit

In California state court, in most civil matters, the person who has been sued (the defendant) has 30 calendar days from the date they have been served to file a written response to the complaint.  Code Civ. Proc. § 412.20.  If the 30th day falls on a weekend or court holiday, the defendant has until the end of the next business day to file a response.  Code Civ. Proc. §§ 10, 12, 12a.  Given this timeframe, it is important that upon being served with a complaint a defendant does not delay.

A written response can take a number of forms, such as an answer, demurrer, motion to quash service of summons, motion to strike, a motion to change venue or transfer, or a cross-complaint.  One or more of the aforementioned documents may be filed with the court by the defendant in written response to a complaint.

A written response that is filed by the defendant in a civil lawsuit is important to contest the case and to require the person who filed the complaint (the plaintiff) to prove their case.  If the defendant fails to file their written response with the court by the deadline, the plaintiff may obtain a default against the defendant, which means that the defendant automatically loses the case.  As such, if a defendant desires to contest the claims made by the plaintiff, it is critical to file a timely written response so as to not lose the opportunity to be heard on the matter.

If you have been served with a civil lawsuit, do not hesitate to contact Dias Law Firm, Inc. for a consultation.  Our attorneys and legal staff are here to help.

By: Ella R. Floresca, Esq.

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