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How to amend answer & add defenses

Sarasota, FL |
Filed under: Civil court

I filed an answer to a complaint, but did not include affirmative defenses due to the way the complaint was written. I expect plaintiff will now amend their complaint with more clarity. If so, the amended complaint may open affirmative defenses not available before, and may require changes to some of my first answers. If the complaint is amended, will I have the opportunity to then amend my answer and add affirmative defenses? Does an amended answer replace the first entirely, or are they considered together? Thank you.

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Attorney answers 3


As I understand your question, you are saying that you do not believe you have affirmative defenses to the complaint as currently drafted. You appear to believe the complaint needs "clarification" although you haven't moved to dismiss it. You believe that if the complaint is amended that you would then possibly have affirmative defenses.

First, don't count on the other side amending their complaint. If you haven't moved to dismiss it, then they may not. If you wish to add affirmative defenses to your answer, then you need to move (i.e., file a motion with the court and set it for hearing) to court to allow you to amend your answer to state affirmative defenses. Leave to amend is liberally granted in Florida.

Second, yes, if the other side amends, then you are allowed to file an amended answer and to add affirmative defenses at that time.

Third, yes, an amended pleading supersedes (i.e., entirely replaces) the previous pleading and stands on its own. They are not considered together.

This answer is provided as a public service. It is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice. It is not intended to nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. This answer is not intended to be nor should it be construed as an attempt to solicit business. You should consult a qualified attorney in your own geographic area.


I wouldn't wait to amend your Answer to add affirmative defenses. What if the plaintiff doesn't amend the complaint? You're left with no affirmative defenses. If you served the Answer within the last 20 days you can amend without leave of court as long as the case has not been set for trial. Good luck.

I am not seeking to represent you based on the response to this question. The answer given is for general information purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is hereby intended.


You can also file a motion seeking to amend your answer. These are commonly granted. You will then be able to file your amended answer and affirmative defenses. You can and should attach the amended answer and affirmative defenses to your motion. In Florida this is generally required.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. No attorney-client relationship has been formed by this response and none is intended. Consult counsel of your choosing to obtain specific information about the details of your particular situation.

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