Friday, November 26, 2010

Drafting A Pleading: Facts Common To All Causes of Action

Generally, the facts in a complaint should be very simple assertions, with each individual factual statement contained in its own paragraph.  One fact per paragraph.  The reason for this is that the answering party only has so many options.  They can: admit; deny; deny knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief; or refer a question of law to the court.

The simpler your factual statements are, the harder they are to deny.  In making your statements simple, avoid adjectives and compound sentences, which only give the responding party more things to disagree with.  Using the disjunctive "or," such as "agent or employee," makes statements broader and more likely to be admitted. Similarly, any uncertaintly about a date should be qualified with "in or around" the Month, or "on or about" the date.

Of course, clarity comes first. One fact per paragraph is not always a hard-and-fast rule.  It is not improper to have narrative paragraphs that tell the underlying story. Such paragraphs can be helpful in explaining what actually happened.  When you write a paragraph like that, however, it can easily be denied.  Thus, you should also put in seperate one-fact paragraphs stating hard simple facts that, taken together, lead to the inferences found in the more complex statements.

Overall, the facts contained in the facts section are supposed to be things that demonstrate entitlement to the relief being requested.  Before deciding what facts to include, or how to phrase them, you need to understand the law that governs the claims you are making.

<< Parties  || "Pleadings" Table of Contents || Conditions Precedent >>

No comments:

Post a Comment