5/7/18 Answer, Response, and Reply

  • Answer

A defendant’s written response to a plaintiff’s initial court filing (called a complaint or petition). An answer normally denies some or all of the facts asserted by the complaint, and sometimes seeks to turn the tables on the plaintiff by making allegations or charges against the plaintiff (called counterclaims) or providing justification for the defendant’s behavior (called affirmative defenses). Normally a defendant has 30 days in which to file an answer after being served with the plaintiff’s complaint. In some courts, an answer is called a “response.”

  • Reply Brief

When a case is appealed to a higher court, the written legal argument of the respondent (the party who won in trial court), submitted in answer to the “opening brief” of an appellant (the party who lost at trial and has appealed to the appellate court).