Rule 7. Pleadings Allowed; Form of
Motions and Other Papers
(b) Motions and Other Papers.
(1) In General. A request for a court order must be
made by motion. The motion must:
(A) be in writing unless made
during a hearing or trial;
(B) state with particularity the
grounds for seeking the order; and
(C) state the relief sought.
(2) Form. The rules governing captions and other
matters of form in pleadings apply to motions and other papers.
Rule 8. General Rules of Pleading
(b) Defenses; Admissions and Denials.
(1) In General. In responding to a pleading, a party
(A) state in short and plain
terms its defenses to each claim asserted against it; and
(B) admit or deny the allegations
asserted against it by an opposing party.
(2) Denials — Responding to the Substance. A denial
must fairly respond to the substance of the allegation.
(3) General and Specific Denials. A party that
intends in good faith to deny all the allegations of a pleading —
including the jurisdictional
grounds — may do so by a general denial. A party
that does not intend to deny all the allegations must either
designated allegations or generally deny all except
those specifically admitted.
(4) Denying Part of an Allegation. A party that
intends in good faith to deny only part of an allegation must admit the
part that is true and
deny the rest.
(5) Lacking Knowledge or Information. A party that
lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief about the
truth of an allegation
must so state, and the statement has the effect of a
(6) Effect of Failing to Deny. An allegation — other
than one relating to the amount of damages — is admitted if a
is required and the allegation is not denied. If a
responsive pleading is not required, an allegation is considered denied
(c) Affirmative Defenses.
(1) In General. In responding to a pleading, a party
must affirmatively state any avoidance or affirmative defense,
• accord and satisfaction;
• arbitration and award;
• assumption of risk;
• contributory negligence;
• failure of consideration;
• injury by fellow servant;
• res judicata;
• statute of frauds;
• statute of limitations; and
(2) Mistaken Designation. If a party mistakenly
designates a defense as a counterclaim, or a counterclaim as a defense,
the court must, if
justice requires, treat the pleading as though it
were correctly designated, and may impose terms for doing so.
Rule 12. Defenses and Objections: When
and How Presented; Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings;
Motions; Waiving Defenses; Pretrial Hearing
(a) Time to Serve a Responsive Pleading.
(1) In General.
Unless another time is specified by this rule or a federal statute, the
time for serving a responsive pleading is as follows:
(A) A defendant must serve an answer:
(i) within 21 days after being served with the
summons and complaint; or
(ii) if it has timely waived service under Rule
4(d), within 60 days after the request for a waiver was sent...
(B) A party must serve an answer to a counterclaim or crossclaim within
21 days after being served with the pleading that states the
counterclaim or crossclaim.
(C) A party must serve a reply to an answer within 21 days after being
served with an order to reply, unless the order specifies a different
. . .
(4) Effect of a Motion.
Unless the court sets a different time, serving a motion under this
rule alters these periods as follows:
(A) if the court denies the motion or postpones its disposition until
trial, the responsive pleading must be served within 14 days after
notice of the court’s action; or
(B) if the court grants a motion for a more definite statement, the
responsive pleading must be served within 14 days after the more
definite statement is served.
(b) How to Present Defenses. Every defense to a claim for relief
pleading must be asserted in the responsive pleading if one is
required. But a
party may assert the following defenses by motion:
(1) lack of subject-matter jurisdiction;
(2) lack of personal jurisdiction;
(3) improper venue;
(4) insufficient process;
(5) insufficient service of process;
(6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted; and
(7) failure to join a party under Rule 19.
...If a pleading sets out a claim for
relief that does not require a responsive pleading, an opposing party
may assert at
trial any defense to that claim. No defense or objection is waived by
joining it with one or more other defenses or objections in a
responsive pleading or in a motion.
. . .
(e) Motion for a More Definite Statement. A party may move for a
definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive pleading is
allowed but which
is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a
response. The motion must be made before filing a responsive pleading
point out the defects complained of and the details desired. If the
court orders a more definite statement and the order is not obeyed
within 14 days after
notice of the order or within the time the court sets, the court may
strike the pleading or issue any other appropriate order.
(f) Motion to Strike. The court may strike from a pleading an
insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or
scandalous matter. The
court may act:
(1) on its own; or
(2) on motion made by a party either before
responding to the pleading or, if a response is not allowed, within 21
days after being served with
(g) Joining Motions.
(1) Right to Join. A motion under this rule may be joined with any other motion allowed by this rule.
(2) Limitation on Further Motions. Except as provided in Rule 12(h)(2)
or (3), a party that makes a motion under this rule must not make
another motion under this rule raising a defense or objection that was
available to the party but omitted from its earlier motion.
(h) Waiving and Preserving Certain Defenses.
(1) When Some Are Waived. A party waives any defense listed in Rule 12(b)(2)–(5) by:
(A) omitting it from a motion in the circumstances described in Rule 12(g)(2); or
(B) failing to either:
(i) make it by motion under this rule; or
(ii) include it in a responsive
pleading or in an amendment allowed by Rule 15(a)(1) as a matter of
(2) When to Raise Others. Failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted, to join a person
required by Rule 19(b), or to state a legal defense to a claim may be
(A) in any pleading allowed or ordered under Rule 7(a);
(B) by a motion under Rule 12(c); or
(C) at trial.
(3) Lack of Subject-Matter Jurisdiction. If the court determines at any
time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss
Rule 55. Default; Default Judgment
(a) Entering a Default. When a party against whom a
affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend,
and that failure is shown
by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk must enter the party’s default.