Indiana Civil Litigation: The Initial Pleadings - Filing a Lawsuit

Posted over 2 years ago. Applies to Indiana, 1 helpful vote


Civil litigation in the State of Indiana is governed by the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure. If a plaintiff wishes to proceed with commencing a lawsuit, the plaintiff is required to complete several tasks, including filing a complaint which includes paying the applicable filing fee to the clerk of court and submitting all of the required documentation required under local court rules.

The initial pleading filed by the plaintiff is designed to give notice to the defendant of the claims against him, her, or it, should the defendant be a company. It may be in the form of a summons and complaint. Pleadings in federal court and in the State of Indiana are considered notice pleading, which are designed to merely give notice to the defendant of the claims. Some states require fact pleading, which requires more details to be provided by the plaintiff to the defendant and so the defendant is sure to have knowledge of the alleged wrong and the exact basis for the lawsuit.

In federal courts and in the State of Indiana, the complaint is accompnied by a summons and a cover sheet. The summons, when completed by the clerk of court, advises the defendant of the lawsuit, states the time within which a response must be filed, and alerts the defendant that a failure to respond may result in a loss of legal rights.

The complaint consists of: (1) the caption; (2) numbered paragraphs; (3) jurisdictional facts; (4) background of the cause of action; (5) elements of the cause of action; (6) damage allegations; (7) prayer for relief; and (8) signature of the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney.

Additional Resources

For more information regarding civil litigation and the procedure rules governing civil litigation in the State of Indiana, review the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure.

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