Day 30 - Defendant Responds
Defendant may Answer, Cross-complain, etc. The defendant’s time to respond is limited. In most business lawsuits, the defendant has 30 days to respond to the complaint. The number of days is calculated including holidays and weekends so long as the 30th day does not fall on a weekend or holiday. It is very important to respond to the complaint within this time period or else the defendant risks losing the case by the plaintiff asking the court for a “default judgment” against the defendant.
If you have been served a complaint, it is imperative to respond within that time frame. We have often asked for and received an extension of time to file a response. We have also gone to court on behalf of clients who have had a default judgment filed against them and had that default judgment undone. This is not an easy process and is often expensive to do.
While most business lawsuits in state court allow the defendant 30 days to file a response, this is not always true for other types of cases. For instance, in landlord-tenant cases, where the landlord is attempting to kick-out a tenant, the response time can be as short as 5 calendar days.