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The Summons and Complaint: Brief, not Vindictive


The Summons and Complaint are the documents that, once served, start a lawsuit.  Minnesota's rules require the Complaint to contain a short, plain statement of the facts and claims against the adverse party.  The Complaint is not a document to be used to air dirty laundry or denigrate an adverse party.


img-feature2-hand-writingWhat happens when emotions get the best of you and your Complaint turns into a dirty novel about your adversary?  In one recent case in federal court in the District of Minnesota, Judge Patrick Schiltz, an extremely well-respected judge who I have had the privilege of appearing before, took vehement exception to the poet Naca's self-authored Complaint against her ex-employer.  In the matter of Naca v. Macalaster College plaintiff's original Complaint was 81 pages long and had over 250 separately numbered paragraphs.  The consequence for Naca failing to comply with requirement that a Complaint contain simple, direct, and concise statement of the facts and claims was an Order that an amended Complaint be filed which contained no more than 10,000 words! 

This is yet another example of the value in hiring a lawyer to do legal work.  The Rules of Civil Procedure are complex and pro se litigants are held to the same standard as lawyers through the eyes of the court.  If you let emotions get into your pleadings, you might end up running afoul of the rules, getting off on the wrong foot with the judge, and costing yourself valuable claims.


The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney. All information contained in links are the property of the linked site.

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