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What do I need to do, as a Plaintiff in propria persona, after defendant files his Answer (that includes Affirmative Defenses)?

Rodeo, CA |

I know Discovery ends on the date that the Response is due. I still have 3 weeks left, but my Discovery is almost all done. I have no idea what is going to happen next. In addition to Answering to some of-and some portions of-paragraphs in my Complaint, Def listed 26 Affirmative Defenses. I could go into Court drunk right now and STILL win against them--that's how lame they are. Do I Demur to the Answer's Affirmative Defenses? Or get assigned a trial date? Or hope the Def. agrees to stipulate to mediation? I want to get a jump on this. How can I verify if his A.D.'s are legitimate? It's like the lawyer went through a pamphlet and used every example of an A.D. given. Some of these are from left field in a highly-plagued non-parallel universe. Still don't know what to do.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Best answer

    The smartest and best thing you can do right now is get yourself a good lawyer to represent you in your case. Once the defendant answers, you should proceed with the necessary discovery. You should subpoena any necessary records from third parties, and prepare and send form interrogatories, special interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for production of necessary documents. Once you have the necessary discovery, send some contention interrogatories and then take the depositions of the necessary parties and witnesses. These steps of course depend on the size and economics of the case, whether it is justified and whether you can afford it?
    If you need expert witnesses, locate them and talk to them early and share the information you receive and if their opinions are unfavorable, you will need to find other experts. There is much more to discuss, but that is what a lawyer is for, do youself a favor and retain one. Good Luck.

    Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.


  2. I don't know what you mean when you say that discovery ends when the response is due. Discovery ends, under Code of Civil Procedure section 2024.010, 30 days before trial, although that date can be extended. Discovery is just beginning.

    Serve form interrogatories. Form interrogatory 15.1 asks the defendant to state all the facts behind his denials and affirmative defenses. You are probably correct that they are mostly filler.


  3. Your comment about Discovery makes no sense.
    Your comment about about the Affirmative defenses and possible demurrer to them shows you don't really have the big picture about the significance of those defenses. Just do your regular discovery, attend all court hearings that are scheduled, and a trial date will be assigned.
    Over-confidence is a real danger in litigation.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  4. It sounds like you are working on responding to Defendant's discovery requests. Have you sent out your own discovery requests, if not, you should draft and send defendant form interrogatories, special interrogatories, request for production of documents and/or request for admissions tailored to get responses that will provide you with more information about Defendant's defenses and the case in general that can help you decide whether to go to trial, file a summary judjment motion or maybe even settle the case. You can also notice depositions of key witnesses. Defense counsel will probably want to depose you as well. So basically you are just getting started with discovery.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. If you need specific advice regarding your legal question, you should consult an attorney.


  5. Not feasible for you to get step by step advice on how to be a lawyer here. There are many ins and outs of discovery, and you are wrong about the deadline. You can demur to an answer, but you need grounds. if you are going to represent yourself, you should head to the law library and start spending some time with reference books on Calif discovery. Try the Rutter Group's Civil Procedure Before Trial 3 volumes, incl demurrers, discovery, etc. Good luck.

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