A statement of defense is a legal document. It is a written response that answers or replies to specific allegations that have been filed against you in a lawsuit. As the defendant, you will receive a summons in the form of a statement of complaint. To respond, you will need to obtain the proper forms from the local clerk of court. In addition to the statement of defense, you may want to collect additional materials to support your case. You have to complete everything and turn it in by the time of the hearing date.
Carefully read the statement of claim. The claim is the legal document filed against you. It will articulate each of the accusations that the plaintiff is making against you. Each accusation will consist of a fact and a reason or reasons to support it. It may be worded in such a way as to make a simple denial or admission on your part difficult. Read it critically and make sure that you fully understand each point that you are responding to.
Obtain the appropriate form. You will need an answer or general denial form. You can obtain this at clerk at the court over your jurisdiction.
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Prepare your defense. Once you have understood the format of the statement of defense, read the claim against you again and develop a general strategy. If there are witnesses who support your case, interview them and keep notes. Collect any documentation that supports your case such as correspondence, documentation and receipts.
Respond to each of the claims. Deny each allegation, saying it is wrong. You can also assert a legal defense. Follow paragraph by paragraph the statement of claim and make sure to answer each point. Write a short sentence in response to each paragraph. Show how your actions were not in violation of the law.
Critically read your statement. Once you have completed the statement, critically reflect on it. It is also good to have someone else read it as well. Is it persuasive? Have you clearly answered or responded to each of the allegations?
Sign and date your statement and turn it in at court. Make sure to meet the deadline. Deadlines vary from state to state. Some courts require a notary public.
Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.