Answer

The formal written statement by a defendant in a civil case that responds to a complaint, articulating the grounds for defense.

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Additional Sources

Answers.com

A defendant's defense against charges.

Law.com Dictionary

In law, a written pleading filed by a defendant to respond to a complaint in a lawsuit filed and served upon that defendant. An answer generally responds to each allegation in the complaint by denying or admitting it, or admitting in part and denying in part. The answer may also com- prise "affirmative defenses" including allegations which contradict the complaint or contain legal theories (like "unclean hands," "contributory negligence" or "anticipatory breach") which are intended to derail the claims in the complaint. Sometimes the answer is in the form of a "general denial," denying everything. The answer must be in typed form, follow specific rules of pleading established by law and the courts, and be filed with the court and served on the defendant within a specific statutory time (e.g. 20 or 30 days after service of the complaint). If the complaint is verified as under penalty of perjury, the answer must be also. There is a fairly steep filing fee for each defendant filing an answer. In short, if served a complaint, one should see a lawyer as soon as possible to prevent a default judgment.

Lawyers.com

The defendant's written response to the plaintiff's complaint in a civil suit in which he or she may deny any of plaintiff's allegations, offer any defenses, and make any counterclaims against the plaintiff, cross-claims against other defendants, or third-party claims against third parties otherwise not involved in the lawsuit.

Merriam Webster

A reply to a legal charge or suit.

The Free (Legal) Dictionary

The first responsive pleading filed by the defendant in a civil action; a formal written statement that admits or denies the allegations in the complaint and sets forth any available affirmative defenses.

The answer gives the plaintiff notice of the issues the defendant will raise as the case progresses and enables the plaintiff to adequately prepare a case. In most jurisdictions, the answer must be filed within twenty days after receipt of the summons and complaint, although local rules and customs may dictate different filing times.

Wikipedia

In law, an answer was originally a solemn assertion in opposition to some one or something, and thus generally any counter-statement or defense, a reply to a question or objection, or a correct solution of a problem.

In the common law, an answer is the first pleading by a defendant, usually filed and served upon the plaintiff within a certain strict time limit after a civil complaint or criminal information or indictment has been served upon the defendant. It may have been preceded by an optional "pre-answer" motion to dismiss or demurrer; if such a motion is unsuccessful, the defendant must file an answer to the complaint or risk an adverse default judgment.

The answer establishes which allegations (cause of action in civil matters) set forth by the complaining party will be contested by the defendant, and states all the defendant's defenses, thus establishing the nature and parameters of the controversy to be decided by the court.