If you have an attorney, he will complete, sign and file your summons as counsel-of-record. Otherwise, you must ask the court to issue a summons before you can file a lawsuit. The summons is the document that officially informs the defendant that he is being sued and to answer your complaint. You can usually obtain a fill-in-the-blank summons form from the clerk of court at the courthouse where you are filing your lawsuit. Some courts also make them available online at their official websites. The court clerk enters, or signs, your completed summons and assigns a docket number when you submit it with your complaint and pay the required filing fee.
You must serve the summons on the defendant with your complaint. It provides important information, such as a docket or case number, location where defendant must file his answer, court dates and deadlines for filings. The court may issue a default judgment against a defendant who fails to file an answer to a lawsuit by the deadline stated on the summons. A default judgment generally grants the plaintiff the relief he requested in his complaint.
Read More: What Happens If a Court Date Is Set & You Never Received a Summons?
Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.