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Rule 116. Filing a Response to a Complaint

Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedJustice Court Rules of Civil Procedure

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated
Justice Court Rules of Civil Procedure (Refs & Annos)
Part V: Responding to a Lawsuit
17B A.R.S. Justice Court Civ.Proc.Rules, Rule 116
Rule 116. Filing a Response to a Complaint
a. Defendant's response to a complaint or a third-party complaint. A response to a complaint or a response to a third-party complaint is made by filing one of the following four documents with the court:
(1) An answer. An answer must include short and clear statements that either admit or deny specific allegations in a complaint, or state that the defendant does not have enough knowledge to admit or deny them. An answer must also state a party's factual and legal defenses to the complaint. [ARCP 8(b), (c)]
(2) A motion to dismiss the complaint. A motion to dismiss on the following grounds may be made under this rule before an answer is filed:
(i) A motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction (“jurisdiction”) is the authority of the court over the subject matter of the lawsuit and over a defendant);
(ii) A motion to dismiss for improper venue (“venue”) is the location of the court in which the lawsuit was filed);
(iii) A motion to dismiss for improper service of the summons and complaint;
(iv) A motion to dismiss because the complaint does not state a valid claim, even if the facts alleged in the complaint are assumed to be true. [ARCP 12(b)]
(3) A motion for a more definite statement. This motion must allege that the complaint is unclear. A motion for a more definite statement must point out the defects that make the complaint unclear, and the types of details that should have been provided. [ARCP 12(e)]
(4) A motion to strike the complaint. This motion must allege that the complaint contains immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous allegations, and that it should be stricken partially or entirely. [ARCP 12(f)]
b. Proceedings after a motion is made under this rule.
(1) If the court grants a motion to dismiss, and if no permission to amend the complaint is granted by the court, the court will enter judgment as provided in Rule 139.
(2) If the court grants a motion for a more definite statement or a motion to strike the complaint, the plaintiff has twenty (20) days after the motion is granted to file an amended complaint, and the defendant has twenty (20) days after service of the amended complaint to file a response to the amended pleading.
(3) If the court denies a motion under this rule, the defendant must file an answer to the complaint within twenty (20) days after the motion has been denied.
c. Waiver of defenses. Except for a lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter or discharge in bankruptcy, a defense that might have been presented by a motion under paragraphs (a)(2), (3), or (4) of this rule is waived if it is not made before an answer is filed. [ARCP 12(h)]
d. Misidentified defenses and counterclaims. If a party mischaracterizes a defense as a counterclaim, or if a party mischaracterizes a counterclaim as a defense, the court in the interest of justice may treat it as if it was properly named. [ARCP 8(c)]

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Adopted Aug. 30, 2012, effective Jan. 1, 2013.
17B A. R. S. Justice Court Civ. Proc. Rules, Rule 116, AZ ST J CT RCP Rule 116
Current with amendments received through 05/1/2020.
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