Rule 12. Defenses and Objections: When and How Presented; Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; Consolidating Motions; Waiving Defenses; Pretrial Hearing (2023)

(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, or within 90 days after it was sent to the defendant outside any judicial district of the United States.

(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 time.

(2) United States and Its Agencies, Officers, or Employees Sued in an Official Capacity. The United States, a United States agency, or a United States officer or employee sued only in an official capacity must serve an answer to a complaint, counterclaim, or crossclaim within 60 days after service on the United States attorney.

(3) United States Officers or Employees Sued in an Individual Capacity. A United States officer or employee sued in an individual capacity for an act or omission occurring in connection with duties performed on the United States’ behalf must serve an answer to a complaint, counterclaim, or crossclaim within 60 days after service on the officer or employee or service on the United States attorney, whichever is later.

(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 in any 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;

(Video) Pleadings and Motions: Module 2 of 5

(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.

A motion asserting any of these defenses must be made before pleading if a responsive pleading is allowed. 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.

(c) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. After the pleadings are closed—but early enough not to delay trial—a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.

(d) Result of Presenting Matters Outside the Pleadings. If, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56. All parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion.

(e) Motion for a More Definite Statement. A party may move for a more 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 and must 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 the pleading.

(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 course.

(Video) Civ Pro MBE review, Rule 12 initial response rule, Professor Nathenson (Spr. 2016), part 6 of 7

(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 raised:

(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 the action.

(i) Hearing Before Trial. If a party so moves, any defense listed in Rule 12(b)(1)–(7)—whether made in a pleading or by motion—and a motion under Rule 12(c) must be heard and decided before trial unless the court orders a deferral until trial.


(As amended Dec. 27, 1946, eff. Mar. 19, 1948; Jan. 21, 1963, eff. July 1, 1963; Feb. 28, 1966, eff. July 1, 1966; Mar. 2, 1987, eff. Aug. 1, 1987; Apr. 22, 1993, eff. Dec. 1, 1993; Apr. 17, 2000, eff. Dec. 1, 2000; Apr. 30, 2007, eff. Dec. 1, 2007; Mar. 26, 2009, eff. Dec. 1, 2009.)

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1937

Note to Subdivision (a). 1. Compare [former] Equity Rules 12 (Issue of Subpoena—Time for Answer) and 31 (Reply—When Required—When Cause at Issue); 4 Mont.Rev.Codes Ann. (1935) §§9107, 9158; N.Y.C.P.A. (1937) §263; N.Y.R.C.P. (1937) Rules 109–111.

2. U.S.C., Title 28, §763 [now 547] (Petition in action against United States; service; appearance by district attorney) provides that the United States as a defendant shall have 60 days within which to answer or otherwise defend. This and other statutes which provide 60 days for the United States or an officer or agency thereof to answer or otherwise defend are continued by this rule. Insofar as any statutes not excepted in Rule 81 provide a different time for a defendant to defend, such statutes are modified. See U.S.C., Title 28, [former] §45 (District courts; practice and procedure in certain cases under the interstate commerce laws) (30 days).

3. Compare the last sentence of [former] Equity Rule 29 (Defenses—How Presented) and N.Y.C.P.A. (1937) §283. See Rule 15(a) for time within which to plead to an amended pleading.

Note to Subdivisions (b) and (d). 1. See generally [former] Equity Rules 29 (Defenses—How Presented), 33 (Testing Sufficiency of Defense), 43 (Defect of Parties—Resisting Objection), and 44 (Defect of Parties—Tardy Objection); N.Y.C.P.A. (1937) §§277–280; N.Y.R.C.P. (1937) Rules 106–112; English Rules Under the Judicature Act (The Annual Practice, 1937) O. 25, r.r. 1–4; Clark, Code Pleading (1928) pp. 371–381.

2. For provisions authorizing defenses to be made in the answer or reply see English Rules Under the Judicature Act (The Annual Practice, 1937) O. 25, r.r. 1–4; 1 Miss.Code Ann. (1930) §§378, 379. Compare [former] Equity Rule 29 (Defenses—How Presented); U.S.C., Title 28, [former] §45 (District Courts; practice and procedure in certain cases under the interstate commerce laws). U.S.C., Title 28, [former] §45, substantially continued by this rule, provides: “No replication need be filed to the answer, and objections to the sufficiency of the petition or answer as not setting forth a cause of action or defense must be taken at the final hearing or by motion to dismiss the petition based on said grounds, which motion may be made at any time before answer is filed.” Compare Calif.Code Civ.Proc. (Deering, 1937) §433; 4 Nev.Comp.Laws (Hillyer, 1929) §8600. For provisions that the defendant may demur and answer at the same time, see Calif.Code Civ.Proc. (Deering, 1937) §431; 4 Nev.Comp.Laws (Hillyer, 1929) §8598.

3. [Former] Equity Rule 29 (Defenses—How Presented) abolished demurrers and provided that defenses in point of law arising on the face of the bill should be made by motion to dismiss or in the answer, with further provision that every such point of law going to the whole or material part of the cause or causes stated might be called up and disposed of before final hearing “at the discretion of the court.” Likewise many state practices have abolished the demurrer, or retain it only to attack substantial and not formal defects. See 6 Tenn.Code Ann. (Williams, 1934) §8784; Ala.Code Ann. (Michie, 1928) §9479; 2 Mass.Gen.Laws (Ter.Ed., 1932) ch. 231, §§15–18; Kansas Gen.Stat.Ann. (1935) §§60–705, 60–706.

Note to Subdivision (c). Compare [former] Equity Rule 33 (Testing Sufficiency of Defense); N.Y.R.C.P. (1937) Rules 111 and 112.

Note to Subdivisions (e) and (f). Compare [former] Equity Rules 20 (Further and Particular Statement in Pleading May Be Required) and 21 (Scandal and Impertinence); English Rules Under the Judicature Act (The Annual Practice, 1937) O. 19, r.r. 7, 7a, 7b, 8; 4 Mont.Rev.Codes Ann. (1935) §§9166, 9167; N.Y.C.P.A. (1937) §247; N.Y.R.C.P. (1937) Rules 103, 115, 116, 117; Wyo.Rev.Stat.Ann. (Courtright, 1931) §§89–1033, 89–1034.

Note to Subdivision (g). Compare Rules of the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia (1937), Equity Rule 11; N.M. Rules of Pleading, Practice and Procedure, 38 N.M.Rep. vii [105–408] (1934); Wash.Gen.Rules of the Superior Courts, 1 Wash.Rev.Stat.Ann. (Remington, 1932) p. 160, Rule VI (e) and (f).

Note to Subdivision (h). Compare Calif.Code Civ.Proc. (Deering, 1937) §434; 2 Minn.Stat. (Mason, 1927) §9252; N.Y.C.P.A. (1937) §§278 and 279; Wash.Gen.Rules of the Superior Courts, 1 Wash.Rev.Stat.Ann. (Remington, 1932) p. 160, Rule VI (e). This rule continues U.S.C., Title 28, §80 [now 1359, 1447, 1919] (Dismissal or remand) (of action over which district court lacks jurisdiction), while U.S.C., Title 28, §399 [now 1653] (Amendments to show diverse citizenship) is continued by Rule 15.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1946 Amendment

(Video) Basic Pleadings

Subdivision (a). Various minor alterations in language have been made to improve the statement of the rule. All references to bills of particulars have been stricken in accordance with changes made in subdivision (e).

Subdivision (b). The addition of defense (7), “failure to join an indispensable party”, cures an omission in the rules, which are silent as to the mode of raising such failure. See Commentary, Manner of Raising Objection of Non-Joinder of Indispensable Party (1940) 2 Fed.Rules Serv. 658 and (1942) 5 Fed.Rules Serv. 820. In one case, United States v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. (E.D.Pa. 1941) 36 F.Supp. 399, the failure to join an indispensable party was raised under Rule 12(c).

Rule 12(b)(6), permitting a motion to dismiss for failure of the complaint to state a claim on which relief can be granted, is substantially the same as the old demurrer for failure of a pleading to state a cause of action. Some courts have held that as the rule by its terms refers to statements in the complaint, extraneous matter on affidavits, depositions or otherwise, may not be introduced in support of the motion, or to resist it. On the other hand, in many cases the district courts have permitted the introduction of such material. When these cases have reached circuit courts of appeals in situations where the extraneous material so received shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material question of fact and that on the undisputed facts as disclosed by the affidavits or depositions, one party or the other is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the circuit courts, properly enough, have been reluctant to dispose of the case merely on the face of the pleading, and in the interest of prompt disposition of the action have made a final disposition of it. In dealing with such situations the Second Circuit has made the sound suggestion that whatever its label or original basis, the motion may be treated as a motion for summary judgment and disposed of as such. Samara v. United States (C.C.A.2d, 1942) 129 F.(2d) 594, cert. den. (1942) 317 U.S. 686; Boro Hall Corp. v. General Motors Corp. (C.C.A.2d, 1942) 124 F.(2d) 822, cert. den. (1943) 317 U.S. 695. See also Kithcart v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. (C.C.A.8th, 1945) 150 F.(2d) 997, aff'g 62 F.Supp. 93.

It has also been suggested that this practice could be justified on the ground that the federal rules permit “speaking” motions. The Committee entertains the view that on motion under Rule 12(b)(6) to dismiss for failure of the complaint to state a good claim, the trial court should have authority to permit the introduction of extraneous matter, such as may be offered on a motion for summary judgment, and if it does not exclude such matter the motion should then be treated as a motion for summary judgment and disposed of in the manner and on the conditions stated in Rule 56 relating to summary judgments, and, of course, in such a situation, when the case reaches the circuit court of appeals, that court should treat the motion in the same way. The Committee believes that such practice, however, should be tied to the summary judgment rule. The term “speaking motion” is not mentioned in the rules, and if there is such a thing its limitations are undefined. Where extraneous matter is received, by tying further proceedings to the summary judgment rule the courts have a definite basis in the rules for disposing of the motion.

The Committee emphasizes particularly the fact that the summary judgment rule does not permit a case to be disposed of by judgment on the merits on affidavits, which disclose a conflict on a material issue of fact, and unless this practice is tied to the summary judgment rule, the extent to which a court, on the introduction of such extraneous matter, may resolve questions of fact on conflicting proof would be left uncertain.

The decisions dealing with this general situation may be generally grouped as follows: (1) cases dealing with the use of affidavits and other extraneous material on motions; (2) cases reversing judgments to prevent final determination on mere pleading allegations alone.

Under group (1) are: Boro Hall Corp. v. General Motors Corp. (C.C.A.2d, 1942) 124 F.(2d) 822, cert. den. (1943) 317 U.S. 695; Gallup v. Caldwell (C.C.A.3d, 1941) 120 F.(2d) 90; Central Mexico Light & Power Co. v. Munch (C.C.A.2d, 1940) 116 F.(2d) 85; National Labor Relations Board v. Montgomery Ward & Co. (App.D.C. 1944) 144 F.(2d) 528, cert. den. (1944) 65 S.Ct. 134; Urquhart v. American-La France Foamite Corp. (App.D.C. 1944) 144 F.(2d) 542; Samara v. United States (C.C.A.2d, 1942) 129 F.(2d) 594; Cohen v. American Window Glass Co. (C.C.A.2d, 1942) 126 F.(2d) 111; Sperry Products Inc. v. Association of American Railroads (C.C.A.2d, 1942) 132 F.(2d) 408; Joint Council Dining Car Employees Local 370 v. Delaware, Lackawanna and Western R. Co. (C.C.A.2d, 1946) 157 F.(2d) 417; Weeks v. Bareco Oil Co. (C.C.A.7th, 1941) 125 F.(2d) 84; Carroll v. Morrison Hotel Corp. (C.C.A.7th, 1945) 149 F.(2d) 404; Victory v. Manning (C.C.A.3rd, 1942) 128 F.(2d) 415; Locals No. 1470, No. 1469, and 1512 of International Longshoremen's Association v. Southern Pacific Co. (C.C.A.5th, 1942) 131 F.(2d) 605; Lucking v. Delano (C.C.A.6th, 1942) 129 F.(2d) 283; San Francisco Lodge No. 68 of International Association of Machinists v. Forrestal (N.D.Cal. 1944) 58 F.Supp. 466; Benson v. Export Equipment Corp. (N. Mex. 1945) 164 P.2d 380 (construing New Mexico rule identical with Rule 12(b)(6); F. E. Myers & Bros. Co. v. Gould Pumps, Inc. (W.D.N.Y. 1946) 9 Fed.Rules Serv. 12b.33, Case 2, 5 F.R.D. 132. Cf. Kohler v. Jacobs (C.C.A.5th, 1943) 138 F.(2d) 440; Cohen v. United States (C.C.A.8th, 1942) 129 F.(2d) 733.

Under group (2) are: Sparks v. England (C.C.A.8th, 1940) 113 F.(2d) 579; Continental Collieries, Inc. v. Shober (C.C.A.3d, 1942) 130 F.(2d) 631; Downey v. Palmer (C.C.A.2d 1940) 114 F.(2d) 116; DeLoach v. Crowley's Inc. (C.C.A.5th, 1942) 128 F.(2d) 378; Leimer v. State Mutual Life Assurance Co. of Worcester, Mass. (C.C.A.8th, 1940) 108 F.(2d) 302; Rossiter v. Vogel (C.C.A.2d, 1943) 134 F.(2d) 908, compare s. c. (C.C.A.2d, 1945) 148 F.(2d) 292; Karl Kiefer Machine Co. v. United States Bottlers Machinery Co. (C.C.A.7th, 1940) 113 F.(2d) 356; Chicago Metallic Mfg. Co. v. Edward Katzinger Co. (C.C.A.7th, 1941) 123 F.(2d) 518; Louisiana Farmers’ Protective Union, Inc. v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. of America, Inc. (C.C.A.8th, 1942) 131 F.(2d) 419; Publicity Bldg. Realty Corp. v. Hannegan (C.C.A.8th, 1943) 139 F.(2d) 583; Dioguardi v. Durning (C.C.A.2d, 1944) 139 F.(2d) 774; Package Closure Corp. v. Sealright Co., Inc. (C.C.A.2d, 1944) 141 F.(2d) 972; Tahir Erk v. Glenn L. Martin Co. (C.C.A.4th, 1941) 116 F.(2d) 865; Bell v. Preferred Life Assurance Society of Montgomery, Ala. (1943) 320 U.S. 238.

The addition at the end of subdivision (b) makes it clear that on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) extraneous material may not be considered if the court excludes it, but that if the court does not exclude such material the motion shall be treated as a motion for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in Rule 56. It will also be observed that if a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) is thus converted into a summary judgment motion, the amendment insures that both parties shall be given a reasonable opportunity to submit affidavits and extraneous proofs to avoid taking a party by surprise through the conversion of the motion into a motion for summary judgment. In this manner and to this extent the amendment regularizes the practice above described. As the courts are already dealing with cases in this way, the effect of this amendment is really only to define the practice carefully and apply the requirements of the summary judgment rule in the disposition of the motion.

Subdivision (c). The sentence appended to subdivision (c) performs the same function and is grounded on the same reasons as the corresponding sentence added in subdivision (b).

Subdivision (d). The change here was made necessary because of the addition of defense (7) in subdivision (b).

Subdivision (e). References in this subdivision to a bill of particulars have been deleted, and the motion provided for is confined to one for a more definite statement, to be obtained only in cases where the movant cannot reasonably be required to frame an answer or other responsive pleading to the pleading in question. With respect to preparations for trial, the party is properly relegated to the various methods of examination and discovery provided in the rules for that purpose. Slusher v. Jones (E.D.Ky. 1943) 7 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.231, Case 5, 3 F.R.D. 168; Best Foods, Inc. v. General Mills, Inc. (D.Del. 1943) 7 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.231, Case 7, 3 F.R.D. 275; Braden v. Callaway (E.D.Tenn. 1943) 8 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.231, Case 1 (“. . . most courts . . . conclude that the definiteness required is only such as will be sufficient for the party to prepare responsive pleadings”). Accordingly, the reference to the 20 day time limit has also been eliminated, since the purpose of this present provision is to state a time period where the motion for a bill is made for the purpose of preparing for trial.

Rule 12(e) as originally drawn has been the subject of more judicial rulings than any other part of the rules, and has been much criticized by commentators, judges and members of the bar. See general discussion and cases cited in 1 Moore's Federal Practice (1938), Cum.Supplement §12.07, under “Page 657”; also, Holtzoff, New Federal Procedure and the Courts (1940) 35–41. And compare vote of Second Circuit Conference of Circuit and District Judges (June 1940) recommending the abolition of the bill of particulars; Sun Valley Mfg. Co. v. Mylish (E.D.Pa. 1944) 8 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.231, Case 6 (“Our experience . . . has demonstrated not only that ‘the office of the bill of particulars is fast becoming obsolete’ . . . but that in view of the adequate discovery procedure available under the Rules, motions for bills of particulars should be abolished altogether.”); Walling v. American Steamship Co. (W.D.N.Y. 1945) 4 F.R.D. 355, 8 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.244, Case 8 (“. . . the adoption of the rule was ill advised. It has led to confusion, duplication and delay.”) The tendency of some courts freely to grant extended bills of particulars has served to neutralize any helpful benefits derived from Rule 8, and has overlooked the intended use of the rules on depositions and discovery. The words “or to prepare for trial”—eliminated by the proposed amendment—have sometimes been seized upon as grounds for compulsory statement in the opposing pleading of all the details which the movant would have to meet at the trial. On the other hand, many courts have in effect read these words out of the rule. See Walling v. Alabama Pipe Co. (W.D.Mo. 1942) 6 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.244, Case 7; Fleming v. Mason & Dixon Lines, Inc. (E.D.Tenn. 1941) 42 F.Supp. 230; Kellogg Co. v. National Biscuit Co. (D.N.J. 1941) 38 F.Supp. 643; Brown v. H. L. Green Co. (S.D.N.Y. 1943) 7 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.231, Case 6; Pedersen v. Standard Accident Ins. Co. (W.D.Mo. 1945) 8 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.231, Case 8; Bowles v. Ohse (D.Neb. 1945) 4 F.R.D. 403, 9 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.231, Case 1; Klages v. Cohen (E.D.N.Y. 1945) 9 Fed.Rules Serv. 8a.25, Case 4; Bowles v. Lawrence (D.Mass. 1945) 8 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.231, Case 19; McKinney Tool & Mfg. Co. v. Hoyt (N.D.Ohio 1945) 9 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.235, Case 1; Bowles v. Jack (D.Minn. 1945) 5 F.R.D. 1, 9 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.244, Case 9. And it has been urged from the bench that the phrase be stricken. Poole v. White (N.D.W.Va. 1941). 5 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.231, Case 4, 2 F.R.D. 40. See also Bowles v. Gabel (W.D.Mo. 1946) 9 Fed.Rules Serv. 12e.244, Case 10 (“The courts have never favored that portion of the rules which undertook to justify a motion of this kind for the purpose of aiding counsel in preparing his case for trial.”).

Subdivision (f). This amendment affords a specific method of raising the insufficiency of a defense, a matter which has troubled some courts, although attack has been permitted in one way or another. See Dysart v. Remington-Rand, Inc. (D.Conn. 1939) 31 F.Supp. 296; Eastman Kodak Co. v. McAuley (S.D.N.Y. 1941) 4 Fed.Rules Serv. 12f.21, Case 8, 2 F.R.D. 21; Schenley Distillers Corp. v. Renken (E.D.S.C. 1940) 34 F.Supp. 678; Yale Transport Corp. v. Yellow Truck & Coach Mfg. Co. (S.D.N.Y. 1944) 3 F.R.D. 440; United States v. Turner Milk Co. (N.D.Ill. 1941) 4 Fed.Rules Serv. 12b.51, Case 3, 1 F.R.D. 643; Teiger v. Stephan Oderwald, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 1940) 31 F.Supp. 626; Teplitsky v. Pennsylvania R. Co. (N.D.Ill. 1941) 38 F.Supp. 535; Gallagher v. Carroll (E.D.N.Y. 1939) 27 F.Supp. 568; United States v. Palmer (S.D.N.Y. 1939) 28 F.Supp. 936. And see Indemnity Ins. Co. of North America v. Pan American Airways, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 1944) 58 F.Supp. 338; Commentary, Modes of Attacking Insufficient Defenses in the Answer (1939) 1 Fed.Rules Serv. 669 (1940) 2 Fed.Rules Serv. 640.

Subdivision (g). The change in title conforms with the companion provision in subdivision (h).

The alteration of the “except” clause requires that other than provided in subdivision (h) a party who resorts to a motion to raise defenses specified in the rule, must include in one motion all that are then available to him. Under the original rule defenses which could be raised by motion were divided into two groups which could be the subjects of two successive motions.

Subdivision (h). The addition of the phrase relating to indispensable parties is one of necessity.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1963 Amendment

This amendment conforms to the amendment of Rule 4(e). See also the Advisory Committee's Note to amended Rule 4(b).

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Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1966 Amendment

Subdivision (b)(7). The terminology of this subdivision is changed to accord with the amendment of Rule 19. See the Advisory Committee's Note to Rule 19, as amended, especially the third paragraph therein before the caption “Subdivision (c).”

Subdivision (g). Subdivision (g) has forbidden a defendant who makes a preanswer motion under this rule from making a further motion presenting any defense or objection which was available to him at the time he made the first motion and which he could have included, but did not in fact include therein. Thus if the defendant moves before answer to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, he is barred from making a further motion presenting the defense of improper venue, if that defense was available to him when he made his original motion. Amended subdivision (g) is to the same effect. This required consolidation of defenses and objections in a Rule 12 motion is salutary in that it works against piecemeal consideration of a case. For exceptions to the requirement of consolidation, see the last clause of subdivision (g), referring to new subdivision (h)(2).

Subdivision (h). The question has arisen whether an omitted defense which cannot be made the basis of a second motion may nevertheless be pleaded in the answer. Subdivision (h) called for waiver of “* * * defenses and objections which he [defendant] does not present * * * by motion * * * or, if he has made no motion, in his answer * * *.” If the clause “if he has made no motion,” was read literally, it seemed that the omitted defense was waived and could not be pleaded in the answer. On the other hand, the clause might be read as adding nothing of substance to the preceding words; in that event it appeared that a defense was not waived by reason of being omitted from the motion and might be set up in the answer. The decisions were divided. Favoring waiver, see Keefe v. Derounian, 6 F.R.D. 11 (N.D.Ill. 1946); Elbinger v. Precision Metal Workers Corp., 18 F.R.D. 467 (E.D.Wis. 1956); see also Rensing v. Turner Aviation Corp., 166 F.Supp. 790 (N.D.Ill. 1958); P. Beiersdorf & Co. v. Duke Laboratories, Inc., 10 F.R.D. 282 (S.D.N.Y. 1950); Neset v. Christensen, 92 F.Supp. 78 (E.D.N.Y. 1950). Opposing waiver, see Phillips v. Baker, 121 F.2d 752 (9th Cir. 1941); Crum v. Graham, 32 F.R.D. 173 (D.Mont. 1963) (regretfully following the Phillips case); see also Birnbaum v. Birrell, 9 F.R.D. 72 (S.D.N.Y. 1948); Johnson v. Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co., 33 F.Supp. 176 (E.D.Tenn. 1940); cf. Carter v. American Bus Lines, Inc., 22 F.R.D. 323 (D.Neb. 1958).

Amended subdivision (h)(1)(A) eliminates the ambiguity and states that certain specified defenses which were available to a party when he made a preanswer motion, but which he omitted from the motion, are waived. The specified defenses are lack of jurisdiction over the person, improper venue, insufficiency of process, and insufficiency of service of process (see Rule 12(b)(2)–(5)). A party who by motion invites the court to pass upon a threshold defense should bring forward all the specified defenses he then has and thus allow the court to do a reasonably complete job. The waiver reinforces the policy of subdivision (g) forbidding successive motions.

By amended subdivision (h)(1)(B), the specified defenses, even if not waived by the operation of (A), are waived by the failure to raise them by a motion under Rule 12 or in the responsive pleading or any amendment thereof to which the party is entitled as a matter of course. The specified defenses are of such a character that they should not be delayed and brought up for the first time by means of an application to the court to amend the responsive pleading.

Since the language of the subdivisions is made clear, the party is put on fair notice of the effect of his actions and omissions and can guard himself against unintended waiver. It is to be noted that while the defenses specified in subdivision (h)(1) are subject to waiver as there provided, the more substantial defenses of failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, failure to join a party indispensable under Rule 19, and failure to state a legal defense to a claim (see Rule 12(b)(6), (7), (f)), as well as the defense of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter (see Rule 12(b)(1)), are expressly preserved against waiver by amended subdivision (h)(2) and (3).

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1987 Amendment

The amendments are technical. No substantive change is intended.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1993 Amendment

Subdivision (a) is divided into paragraphs for greater clarity, and paragraph (1)(B) is added to reflect amendments to Rule 4. Consistent with Rule 4(d)(3), a defendant that timely waives service is allowed 60 days from the date the request was mailed in which to respond to the complaint, with an additional 30 days afforded if the request was sent out of the country. Service is timely waived if the waiver is returned within the time specified in the request (30 days after the request was mailed, or 60 days if mailed out of the country) and before being formally served with process. Sometimes a plaintiff may attempt to serve a defendant with process while also sending the defendant a request for waiver of service; if the defendant executes the waiver of service within the time specified and before being served with process, it should have the longer time to respond afforded by waiving service.

The date of sending the request is to be inserted by the plaintiff on the face of the request for waiver and on the waiver itself. This date is used to measure the return day for the waiver form, so that the plaintiff can know on a day certain whether formal service of process will be necessary; it is also a useful date to measure the time for answer when service is waived. The defendant who returns the waiver is given additional time for answer in order to assure that it loses nothing by waiving service of process.

Committee Notes on Rules—2000 Amendment

Rule 12(a)(3)(B) is added to complement the addition of Rule 4(i)(2)(B). The purposes that underlie the requirement that service be made on the United States in an action that asserts individual liability of a United States officer or employee for acts occurring in connection with the performance of duties on behalf of the United States also require that the time to answer be extended to 60 days. Time is needed for the United States to determine whether to provide representation to the defendant officer or employee. If the United States provides representation, the need for an extended answer period is the same as in actions against the United States, a United States agency, or a United States officer sued in an official capacity.

An action against a former officer or employee of the United States is covered by subparagraph (3)(B) in the same way as an action against a present officer or employee. Termination of the relationship between the individual defendant and the United States does not reduce the need for additional time to answer.

GAP Report. No changes are recommended for Rule 12 as published.

Committee Notes on Rules—2007 Amendment

The language of Rule 12 has been amended as part of the general restyling of the Civil Rules to make them more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only.

Former Rule 12(a)(4)(A) referred to an order that postpones disposition of a motion “until the trial on the merits.” Rule 12(a)(4) now refers to postponing disposition “until trial.” The new expression avoids the ambiguity that inheres in “trial on the merits,” which may become confusing when there is a separate trial of a single issue or another event different from a single all-encompassing trial.

(Video) Motion to Dismiss FRCP12(b) explained by Attorney Steve®

Changes Made After Publication and Comment. See Note to Rule 1, supra.

Committee Notes on Rules—2009 Amendment

The times set in the former rule at 10 or 20 days have been revised to 14 or 21 days. See the Note to Rule 6.


What is a Rule 12 hearing in Massachusetts? ›

Under Rule 12(f), as under existing federal practice, a motion to strike an insufficient defense searches the pleadings; in hearing such a motion, the court may properly dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, just as though the defendant had been the moving party under Rule ...

What happens after a motion to dismiss is granted? ›

Ruling on a Motion to Dismiss

If it's granted, the case can be dismissed "without prejudice" or "with prejudice." If the case is dismissed without prejudice, the case can be filed again at a later time. However, if a case is dismissed with prejudice, the case is over and cannot be refiled.

How Long Does defendant have to serve Defence? ›

The time limit for a defence

When a Claim Form is served the Defendant usually has 28 days to file a defence, or up to 56 days if an extension is agreed with the Claimant. If they fail to file a defence within that period the claimant is entitled to request judgment.

Is a motion to dismiss a responsive pleading in Florida? ›

A motion to dismiss is not a responsive pleading as contemplated by rule 1.190.

How long does a defendant have to respond to a claim? ›

If you made your claim on a paper form or through MCOL, the defendant must tell you they've received your claim within 14 days either by sending a reply or a form called an 'acknowledgement of service'. If they send you an acknowledgement of service, they have 28 days to send you a reply.

What is a motion to dismiss? ›

12 of the Revised Rules states that a motion to dismiss is a prohibited pleading except when it raises any of the following grounds: (1) the court's lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim; (2) the pendency of another action between the same parties for the same cause; and (3) the cause of action is ...

How do you beat a motion to dismiss? ›

Sign your memorandum in opposition to the motion to dismiss. Serve it on the opposing party and file a copy with the clerk of court within the time allowed by the relevant rules of civil procedure.

Can a plaintiff file a motion to dismiss? ›

A plaintiff can file a motion to voluntarily dismiss the case before the defendant has filed their answer. After the defendant has filed their answer to the complaint, the plaintiff and the defendant can come to an agreement and file a motion with the court to dismiss the case.

Can a plaintiff drop a lawsuit? ›

According to FRCP 41(a), a plaintiff may also voluntarily dismiss an action by choosing to drop the case or by reaching an out of court settlement with the defendant. There are many reasons for a court to dismiss a case, both procedural and substantive.

What happens if defendant does not file directions questionnaire? ›

Consequences of failure to file a directions questionnaire

Alternatively, if it appears appropriate to do so, the claim may be struck out or, where a defendant is in default, judgment may be entered against that defendant.

Can a defence be served by email? ›

CPR PD 6A, para 4.2 provides that when serving using electronic means, there is a requirement of the defendant, or their solicitor, to ask the party to be served whether there are any limitations to the recipient's agreement to accept service by such means.

What happens if no Acknowledgement of service? ›

What happens if I don't file an Acknowledgement of Service? If a Defendant fails to file an AoS or a Defence within the time limits set out above, the Claimant will be entitled to apply to the court for a judgment in default. In other words, if the application is successful, the Claimant's claim automatically succeeds.

What are the grounds for a motion to dismiss in Florida? ›

Under Rule 3.190(c)(4), Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, a defendant may, at any time, file a motion to dismiss on grounds that there are no disputed issues of material fact in the case and the undisputed facts do not amount to a prima facie case of guilt.

How many days do you have to respond to a motion to dismiss in Florida? ›

However, a party may respond to a motion to dismiss, for judgment on the pleadings, for summary judgment, to exclude or limit expert testimony, to certify a class, for a new trial, or to alter or amend the judgment within twenty one days after service of the motion.

How long do you have to respond to a motion to dismiss in Florida state court? ›

The response must be filed within 10 days after service of the motion unless the court shortens or extends the time. A motion authorized by Rules 8, 9, 18, or 41 may be granted before the 10- day period runs only if the court gives reasonable notice to the parties that it intends to act sooner.

Can I ignore letter before claim? ›

Do not ignore the letter. If you fail to take any action, legal proceedings may be commenced against you. This could expose you to the risk of paying your opponent's legal costs, even if you successfully defend the claim.

When must a defence be served? ›

Serving the defence

Under the Civil Procedure Rules, the defence must be filed at court and served on the other party within 14 days of the particulars of the claim, or 28 days if an acknowledgement of service was filed.

What happens if someone doesn't turn up to small claims court? ›

If you do not show up for the trial, the Plaintiff can ask for a default judgment against you as above. You will have missed your chance to tell your side of the claim to the judge.

What are the grounds of motion to quash? ›

(i) That the accused has been previously convicted or acquitted of the offense charged, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.

Why would a case be dismissed without prejudice? ›

A judge may dismiss a case without prejudice in order to allow for errors in the case presented to be addressed before it is brought back to court. A judge will dismiss a case with prejudice if he or she finds reason why the case should not move forward and should be permanently closed.

What is lack of cause of action? ›

LACK OF CAUSE OF ACTION: Failure to state a cause of action refers to the insufficiency of the pleading, and is a ground for dismissal under Rule 16 of the Rules of Court. On the other hand, lack of cause action refers to a situation where the evidence does not prove the cause of action alleged in the pleading.

What does it mean when a motion is sustained? ›

Here's a quick guide for those who aren't in court everyday: Sustained: When an objection is sustained, the judge has determined that is a valid objection. That means the question was improper under the rules of evidence.

Which type of motion is used when the complaint fails to state a cause of action quizlet? ›

Demurrer- This motion is properly filed where a complaint fails to state facts sufficient to state a cause of action where, like here, the causes of action are barred by the statute of limitations.

What are the basic features of the revised rules on evidence? ›

The Revised Rules allow the presentation of a "duplicate" of an original, and such duplicate is deemed admissible as an original unless (a) a genuine question is raised as to the authenticity of the original, or (b) in the circumstances, it is unjust or inequitable to admit the duplicate in lieu of the original.

What is lack of personal jurisdiction? ›

Basically, it means that the court will be unable to control any of the proposed defendants that you are trying to bring into your lawsuit. That is why most lawyers rely on someone known as a “process server” in order to deliver the lawsuit papers.

How long does it take for a civil case to be dismissed? ›

Normally criminal case is expected to be decided within six months. Civil matters are expected to have disposal within three years. However, one can not expect disposal of case within such period of time.

When can a suit be dismissed? ›

A suit may be dismissed under provisions of Order IX, Rules 2, 3, 4 and 6 for failure to take some steps necessary for further proceeding with the suit. A suit may also be dismissed under Order IX, Rule 8 for default of appearance by a plaintiff. A suit may also be dismissed after it is heard on merits.

Can dismissed case be reopened? ›

A case can be revived after it has been dismissed, but the individual must convince the court that there is a justifiable explanation for the person's non-appearance.” The matter can be reopened under Order 9 Rule 9 of the Civil Procedure Code 1908, but the person must provide sufficient grounds to the court.

What is sua sponte in law? ›

Latin for "of one's own accord; voluntarily." Used to indicate that a court has taken notice of an issue on its own motion without prompting or suggestion from either party. As a general rule, where grounds for dismissal exist, an action is subject to dismissal on a court's own motion.

What is the statute of limitations on a case dismissed without prejudice? ›

It is important to note that a dismissal without prejudice does not toll the statute of limitations. Therefore, when a case gets dismissed without prejudice, it is treated as though it was never filed, and any case re-filed after the statute expires will be dismissed for another time.

What are the 3 tracks in a civil claim? ›

There are three tracks for civil claims, and which track is most appropriate for the claim will depend on a number of factors, including the value of the claim. The three tracks are the small claims track, fast track and multi-track (CPR 26.1(2)).

What happens after a defendant files a defence? ›

Once a defence if filed, the court has to decide what needs to be done to get the matter to trial. To help the court decide what to do, it will send out a form called a directions questionnaire for the parties to complete.

What are the 3 CPR tracks? ›

Part 26 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) provides for the allocation of defended cases to one of 3 tracks; namely the small claims track, the fast track or the multi-track; CPR 26.1.

How do you write a statement of defense? ›

Elements of a strong defense opening statement in a criminal trial
  1. Tell a story. ...
  2. Plant the defense themes. ...
  3. Make concessions only with great caution. ...
  4. Make the defense case concisely. ...
  5. Humanize the defendant. ...
  6. Make no promises about the defendant testifying. ...
  7. Argue the defendant's case. ...
  8. End on a high note.

Does a defence have to be filed and served? ›

(2) A defendant who wishes to defend all or part of a claim must file a defence and serve a copy of it on the claimant and every other party within 28 days after service of the claim.

What is a holding defence? ›

If the plaintiff's solicitor will not agree to an extension, you should put in a 'holding defence', which is a basic document that provides the necessary denials such that a judgment by default cannot be entered against your client.

What happens if defence is not filed on time? ›

When a Claim Form is served the Defendant usually has 28 days to file a defence, or up to 56 days if an extension is agreed with the Claimant. If they fail to file a defence within that period the claimant is entitled to request judgment. This is called judgment in default (i.e of a defence).

How long do you have to acknowledge service? ›

The period for filing an acknowledgment of service

(b) 14 days after service of the claim form in any other case.

Can the respondent delay the decree absolute? ›

The court does not have power to make financial orders under this section, but it can delay decree absolute until the petitioner has made satisfactory financial provision for the respondent.

How long can a case dismissed without prejudice be reopened in Florida? ›

It's simple. The voluntary dismissal without prejudice has NO BEARING on the limitations period. You determine your limitations period by reading Chapter 95, Fla.

How long can a case be dismissed without prejudice in Florida? ›

Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.070 (j) states that a complaint must be served upon the defendant within 120 days after the complaint is filed. If it is not served within this time frame, a motion to dismiss is appropriate and the case is dismissed without prejudice.

How long can a civil case stay open in Florida? ›

Most claims in a civil action other than breach of contract have a four year statute of limitations. These include personal injury, fraud, wrongful death and intentional torts.

How long does a Florida judge have to rule on a motion? ›

Under T.R. 53.2, if a judge takes a cause tried to the court under advisement and fails to determine any issue of law or fact within ninety (90) days of the submission of all pending matters, the case may be withdrawn from the judge.

What happens after a motion to dismiss is granted? ›

Ruling on a Motion to Dismiss

If it's granted, the case can be dismissed "without prejudice" or "with prejudice." If the case is dismissed without prejudice, the case can be filed again at a later time. However, if a case is dismissed with prejudice, the case is over and cannot be refiled.

How do you write a motion to dismiss? ›

Drafting a Motion to Dismiss - YouTube

What are affirmative defenses in Florida? ›

“An affirmative defense is a defense which admits the cause of action [asserted in the plaintiff's complaint], but avoids liability, in whole or in part, by alleging an excuse, justification, or other matter negating or limiting liability.” State Farm Mut. Auto.

How many days do you have to respond to affirmative defenses in Florida? ›

DEFENSES. (a) When Presented. (1) Unless a different time is prescribed in a statute of Florida, a defendant must serve an answer within 20 days after service of original process and the initial pleading on the defendant, or not later than the date fixed in a notice by publication.

How long does a prosecutor have to file charges in Florida? ›

The state shall file formal charges on defendants in custody by information, or indictment, or in the case of alleged misdemeanors by whatever documents constitute a formal charge, within 30 days from the date on which defendants are arrested or from the date of the service of capiases upon them.

What is a Rule 11 hearing in Massachusetts? ›

Rule 11 is designed to promote the speedy and orderly disposition of cases at a time certain which is most convenient to all parties, and to that end it calls upon defendants' counsel to aid the court in the disposition of all preliminary motions and other matters relative to pending cases.

What is a Rule 56 hearing in Massachusetts? ›

The opposing party has the option of filing an “Affidavit of Disputed Facts” enumerating all additional material facts where there is a genuine issue which would preclude summary judgment. Rule 56 allows parties to jointly file a statement of stipulated facts.

How many days does a defendant have to answer a complaint in Massachusetts? ›

You should file an answer in court to the complaint within 20 days of receiving the summons and complaint or 7 days if it's a Complaint for Contempt. Be sure to get your answer to the plaintiff and the court by that deadline.

What are special damages in Massachusetts? ›

Special damages are sometimes considered “damages not necessarily flowing from the acts set out in the declaration, and of which the defendant could not be supposed to have notice unless they were properly averred.” Baldwin v. Western Railroad Corp., 4 Gray 333, 336 (1855).

What is a Rule 11 safe harbor letter? ›

Rule 11 has a safe harbor that allows the opposing party to withdraw an offending pleading within 21 days after he is served with the motion for sanctions. Many sanctions motions are denied because the party seeking sanctions writes a letter to the opponent, but does not actually serve a motion for sanctions.

What happens after a motion to compel is filed? ›

When that happens, a party can file a motion to compel, asking the Court to order the opposing party to produce the contested documents or information. If a motion to compel is granted and the Court orders the information produced, failing to comply with that order can lead to serious consequences.

When should a defendant enter appearance in a suit? ›

On such a suit being filed the defendant is required to be served with a copy of the plaint and summons in the prescribed form. Within 10 days of service the defendant has to enter an appearance.

What is Massachusetts Superior court Rule 9a? ›

The court need not consider any motion, opposition, or reply based on facts unless the facts are verified by affidavit, are otherwise apparent in the record, or are agreed to in a writing signed by the interested parties or their counsel.

Why is affidavit not evidence? ›

Affidavit is not evidence under the India Evidence Act. If a Fact is allowed to be proved by affidavit by C.P.C, Cr. PC or any other law, it can be proved by affidavit notwithstanding the provision of the Indian Evidence Act vide 1955 Cr.

Can a defendant apply for summary Judgement? ›

An application for summary judgment can be made by a claimant, defendant, counterclaimant or other party to an additional claim.

How do you answer a civil summons without a lawyer? ›

Take your written answer to the clerk's office.

If you've decided to take your answer to the clerk's office in person for filing, bring your originals plus at least 2 copies. The clerk will take your documents and stamp each set of papers "filed" with the date. They will then give the copies back to you.

What if a judge ignores the law? ›

Case Law also states that when a judge acts as a trespasser of the law, when a judge does not follow the law, he then loses subject matter jurisdiction and the Judges orders are void, of no legal force or affect.

What happens after an answer is filed? ›

After you file an answer with the court

The court clerk will give or mail you a court date for you and the plaintiff to come back to court. This will probably be for a Case Management Conference or a Pre-Trial Hearing.

How do you calculate emotional pain and suffering? ›

Generally, pain and suffering awards will be calculated by adding up the economic damages and multiplying them by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of the injury.

How is pain and suffering calculated in Massachusetts? ›

In Massachusetts, to be eligible to even present a claim for pain and suffering resulting from a car accident, you must have incurred at least $2000 in reasonable and necessary medical expenses as a result of your car accident related injuries. Like every rule however, there are exceptions.

Can you sue for punitive damages in Massachusetts? ›

Massachusetts, however, does not allow punitive damages in most cases. Massachusetts only allows punitive damages when authorized by state law. Punitive damages are sometimes available in wrongful death claims.


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