In California, an Answer to Complaint typically includes a general denial plus a number of affirmative defenses.
“An affirmative defense must be pleaded in the same manner as if the facts were set forth in a complaint. In other words, the general requirement of stating the ultimate facts applies and, where particularity in pleading is necessary in a complaint, it is equally necessary in an affirmative defense involving the issue.” (5 Witkin Cal. Proc. 4th (1997) Plead, § 1009, p. 463.)
The various affirmative defenses must be separately stated and must refer to the causes of action to which they relate in a manner by which they may be intelligently distinguished.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 431.30(g).)
Typical affirmative defenses for a breach of contract lawsuit include:
1. The complaint fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action.
2. Plaintiff lacks standing to sue.
3. Plaintiff failed to mitigate any purported damages it may have suffered.
4. Plaintiff's claims, in whole or in part, are barred by the doctrine of laches.
5. Plaintiff's claims are barred by the equitable principle of unclean hands by virtue of Plaintiff's conduct and actions.
6. Plaintiff's claims are barred by the equitable principle of estoppel.
7. Plaintiff’s claims are barred by the statute of limitations set forth under Code of Civil Procedure sections 337(1) and 339(1).
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.