to Negotiate a Settlement
in a dispute have the option of negotiating
a settlement prior to going to court. You
may attempt to negotiate on your own
or seek the assistance of a mediator.
There are many advantages to mediation.
For more information, see Mediation.
a Notice of Intention to Defend
you choose to defend yourself, you must
file the Notice of Intention to Defend,
appearing on the bottom half of the summons. The Notice should be cut at the perforated line and returned to the court address listed at the top of the summons.
The Notice of Intention to Defend includes
space for you to explain why you should
not be required to pay the money the
plaintiff claims you owe. You should
be prepared to defend this (and other
reasons) in court during the trial. Make
sure you bring your exhibits and evidence.
have 15 days from the date that they receive
the summons to file this notice with the
court (out-of-state defendants and those
with resident agents have 60 days to file
the notice). By filing the notice found at the bottom of the summons, the
defendant is letting the court know that
he or she plans to argue that the plaintiff
is not entitled to the damages being claimed.
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may respond to a lawsuit by filing one of
your own. If filed in the same action, what
would otherwise be called the defendant’s
complaint is called a “counterclaim.”
is basically a defendant’s way
of saying “I don’t owe you
money. You owe me money.” You must
be able to prove that your claim is right
and that the plaintiff's claim is not.
Claim the notification was
not served legally
summons or complaint must be legally
served. Defendants may claim they were
not properly served with the Complaint
and Summons in one of two ways: (1) by
filing a pre-trial request that the case
be dismissed for improper service; or
(2) by making the argument at the trial.
In either case, the trial is postponed,
and the plaintiff may have to re-serve
a new summons.
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the Complaint and Summons
judge may offer a judgment against you.
If this is the case,
the court will simply send you a notice
confirming the date on which the judgment
was entered, the amount of the judgment,
and any additional amounts found to be
due from the defendant such as court
costs or interest.
also may require the plaintiff to present
the case against you. If the judge decides
that the plaintiff has not presented
enough proof against you, the judge may
decide to schedule a new trial.
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