What is a Complaint?
- The first legal document filed in a civil lawsuit.
- The initial pleading that starts a civil action and states the basis for the court’s jurisdiction, the basis of the plaintiff’s claim, and the demand for relief.
It includes a statement of wrong or harm done to a plaintiff by the defendant and a request for a specific remedy from the court.
In family law cases, the complaint is called a petition.
The Complaint generally does not go into great detail, but only gives basic information about the alleged wrongdoing. Under CR 8(a), the only requirement for a Complaint is that it must contain:
- A short and plain statement of the claim showing that the plaintiff is entitled to relief, and
- A demand for judgment for the relief claimed.
CR 8(a) adds that relief in the alternative, or of several different types, may be demanded. Attachments or Exhibits can be included with the Complaint.