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Replying to a summons

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What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? IN

I just recieved a summons concerning me being sued. In the summons it states I must answer the complaint to the court within 20 days. What does that mean? Do I have to write a letter to the judge saying either yes the claim is true or no it is not?

It would probably be best to get an attorney if you are unsure how the legal system works. Normally, you would file an answer to the complain with the court and would get a court date ect. However, ignoring the summons will only make things worse. I would act timely and respond - otherwise the court may enter a default judgment.


this is correct....upon being served you must file an answer, unless there is something fatally wrong with the lawsuit itself in which case you are able to file a motion to dismiss and wait for a decision from the Court before you file your Answer. An Answer or any motion is not a simple "letter" to the Judge, A judge will not answer a letter, this is considered Ex Parte Communication and is not allowed in almost all jurisdictions. There is a specific structure to an answer or motion, and this is outlined in the Rules of Civil Procedure.

If you can not afford a lawyer read the rules of civil procedure for your state. In a small claims case this would be my recommendation to you. To get an idea of how an Answer is constructed, just search the internet for sample answers and sample motions. If it is something you feel that you can not handle Pro Se, find a lawyer. In some instances it is less expensive to handle it on your own, I personally wouldn't get a lawyer to help me in a $250 lawsuit, but in a $25,000 lawsuit I would in a heartbeat.
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