Rule 8(c) defenses, Rule 12(b) defenses, and denials

What goes into an answer?

  • Admissions
  • Denials
  • Allegations of lacking knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief (which is treated as a denial)
  • Rule 8(c) affirmative defenses
  • Rule 12(b) defenses (if still available)
  • Counterclaims against claimants
  • Crossclaims against co-parties

Note that third-party claims (FRCP 14) are asserted in a separate pleading, the “third party complaint.”


Look at the five matters included in the defendant’s answer. Looking to the categories above, how would you characterize each? Are they properly pleaded?

Plaintiff (P) sues Defendant (D) for a car wreck and alleges negligence.

D serves and files a pre-answer motion to dismiss for lack of PJ.

D’s motion to dismiss is denied.

D answers, alleging the following defenses:

  1. Venue is lacking;
  2. The complaint fails to state a claim for relief;
  3. D wasn’t negligent;
  4. P’s recovery is limited in part or in full by comparative negligence; and
  5. P caused the accident and hurt D, and therefore owes D $$ damages as a result.