Legal Issues

Litigation Quick Take: Civil Petition - December 10, 2020

Joni L Ploeger

Q: What happens if I am served with a civil petition filed in district court?

AA defendant named in a petition and properly served must file an answer with the court within 20 days after service. If you do not timely answer a petition, the plaintiff may move for a default judgment against you or you may be stuck admitting certain allegations contained in the petition. 

Once you are served with a petition, you should consult an attorney immediately to determine if a pre-answer motion should be filed instead of an answer, to discuss which allegations (if any) to admit or deny in your answer, and to discuss appropriate affirmative defenses to be asserted in your answer. Navigating these considerations can be tricky, so it is always wise to check with an attorney.


Davis Brown Law Firm blogs, legal updates, and other content are for educational and informational purposes only. This is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney/client relationship between Davis Brown and readers. Each circumstance is different; readers should consult an attorney to understand how this content relates to their personal situation. You should not use Davis Brown blogs or content as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Reproduction of Davis Brown content without written consent is prohibited.