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General Information About Responding to a Civil Complaint


The following information is general in nature and is intended to give you guidance about responding to a civil complaint. It is very important that you read the Michigan Court Rules related to your type of case in addition to the information on this page to find out the exact requirements for your case. If you are representing yourself, you are expected to conduct yourself professionally and to follow the same general rules an attorney would.


If you are served with a Summons and Complaint, you are being sued in a civil action. You are the defendant in this action, and you must answer (respond to) the complaint within the time stated in the summons, or a default judgment can be entered against you. This means the judge may grant a judgment for the plaintiff based on the claims/allegations in the complaint without hearing from you. Michigan Court Rule 2.110(B) says, in part, that a party must file and serve a responsive pleading to a complaint.


General Rules of Pleading

When preparing an answer (responsive pleading), you must follow the general rules of pleading in Michigan Court Rule 2.111. This rule tells you what must be in an answer. At a minimum, as to each allegation in the complaint, you must state whether you admit or deny that allegation or whether you lack the knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegation, which has the effect of a denial. Each denial must state the substance of the matters on which you rely to support the denial. Each response must be numbered and must match the corresponding number in the complaint. For example, paragraph 1 in your answer must be a response to paragraph 1 in the complaint. You must respond to each numbered allegation in the complaint.


You may be able to find examples of answers in the Forms volume of the publication, Michigan Court Rules Practice. For information on how to find this publication, see How to Find Legal Information. You can prepare your responsive pleading on form MC 03, Answer.


Form of Pleadings and Other Papers

The form of pleadings and other papers is specified in Michigan Court Rule 2.113. Every answer (responsive pleading) must comply with this rule.


Filing Your Answer

Your answer must be filed in the court that issued your Summons. This is the same court where the Complaint was filed. There is no fee for filing an answer.


Filing a Jury Demand

A jury demand can be filed at the time of filing your answer. There is a fee for filing a jury demand. See MCR 2.508 and 2.509 for additional information.


Serving Your Answer

See information on Serving Court Papers.


Next Steps

See information on General Civil Process.