When Do I Have to Appear in Court in a Civil Lawsuit?
When You Do and Do Not Have to Personally Appear in a Civil Case
When served with a summons and complaint, many people wonder if they have to appear in court on the listed date. The answer is usually no.
Unless the plaintiff has filed something called a Motion for Preliminary Injunction, the answer date is just the date that your attorney must file an answer. An answer is simply a legal document that admits or denies the factual assertions in the complaint, and lists the legal defenses you are claiming. If you have counterclaims (legal claims you have against the person or business bringing the suit), they will be included in this document. Also, if you have grounds to move to dismiss the complaint, this is the date on which your attorneys will have to file that motion.
In most cases, the vast majority of the case proceeds without the parties themselves having to appear in court. You will likely have to appear somewhere for a deposition during discovery, but your only court appearance may be at the trial itself, if the case does not settle before then.
Learn more here about what to expect as a defendant in a civil lawsuit.
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