Rule 8. General rules of pleadings.

(a) Claims for relief. An original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party claim must contain a short and plain: (1) statement of the claim showing that the party is entitled to relief; and (2) demand for judgment for specified relief. Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded. A party who claims damages but does not plead an amount must plead that the damages are such as to qualify for a specified tier defined by Rule 26(c)(3). A pleading that qualifies for tier 1 or tier 2 discovery constitutes a waiver of any right to recover damages above the tier limits specified in Rule 26(c)(3), unless the pleading is amended under Rule 15. A pleading requesting relief must include the following caution language at the top right of the first page, in bold print: If you do not respond to this document within applicable time limits, judgment could be entered against you as requested. Failure to include the caution language may provide the responding party with a basis under Rule 60(b) for excusable neglect to set aside any resulting judgment or order.

(b) Defenses; form of denials. A party must state in simple, short and plain terms any defenses to each claim asserted and must admit or deny the statements in the claim. A party without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief about the truth of a statement must so state, and this has the effect of a denial. Denials must fairly meet the substance of the statements denied. A party may deny all of the statements in a claim by general denial. A party may specify the statement or part of a statement that is admitted and deny the rest. A party may specify the statement or part of a statement that is denied and admit the rest.

(c) Affirmative defenses. An affirmative defense must contain a short and plain: (1) statement of the affirmative defense; and (2) a demand for relief. A party must set forth affirmatively in a responsive pleading accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, assumption of risk, comparative fault, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, waiver, and any other matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense. If a party mistakenly designates a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court, on terms, may treat the pleadings as if the defense or counterclaim had been properly designated.

(d) Effect of failure to deny. Statements in a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required, other than statements of the amount of damage, are admitted if not denied in the responsive pleading. Statements in a pleading to which no responsive pleading is required or permitted are deemed denied or avoided.

(e) Consistency. A party may state a claim or defense alternately or hypothetically, either in one count or defense or in separate counts or defenses. If statements are made in the alternative and one of them is sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency of an alternative statement. A party may state legal and equitable claims or legal and equitable defenses regardless of consistency.

(f) Construction of pleadings. All pleadings will be construed to do substantial justice.


Effective May 1, 2021