Can a defendant legally respond to a civil formal complaint denying “any and all allegations” when allegations include what should be indisputable facts such as their business name and location?

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Can a defendant legally respond to a civil formal complaint denying “any and all allegations” when allegations include what should be indisputable facts such as their business name and location?

If not, what step(s) can I take to compel a good faith response to the complaint?

Asked on October 25, 2015 under Personal Injury, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, under court rules, you should admit what is obviously true or correct (and especially if it doesn't hurt you), and you also have to admit or deny line-by-line or allegation-by-allegation. However, you don't need to admit what you don't personally know. To give a quick example, let's say there are six allegations in a suit claiming that you breached a contract with a home contractor by failing to pay everything you owed (which you, in good faith deny). The allegations are:
1) John Doe [that's you] owns a home at 1313 Mockingbird Lane
2) Homes-r-Us is an LLC licensed to do home renovations.
3) John Doe hired Home-r-us to renovate his home.
4) Homes-r-us did all the work they were hired to do.
5) John Doe breached the contract by failing to pay Homes-r-us the amount legally due them.
6) Homes-r-us was damaged by John Doe's breach in the amount of $30,000.
Your position is that they failed to do the work and that's why you didn't pay them. You answer as follows:
1) Admitted [assuming they got your name and address right]
2) Defendant lacks sufficient information and leaves Plaintiff to its proofs [you don't know for sure that they are an LLC or licensed, but just know what they told you--let them prove this]
3) Admitted [if you did in fact hire them, it's true and you know this]
4) Denied [you believe they did not do all the work]
5) Denied [you feel you did not owe them all the money, because they breached by failing to do all the work]
6) Denied [you don't agree that you owe them $30,000]


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