This post is the fourth in a seven-part series written to explain how a general denial is used in answering a lawsuit. Other topics in this series are listed below.
Post 1: The Basics of Drafting an Answer
Post 2: Dilatory Pleas
Post 3: Special Exceptions
Post 4: The General Denial
Post 5: Verified Denials
Post 6: Affirmative Defenses
Post 7: Counterclaims, Cross Claims, and Third-Party Claims
Just as it sounds, a general denial says that the defendant disagrees overall with the plaintiff’s claims. Instead of denying any specific allegation, the plaintiff denies everything alleged in the petition. Such a denial ensures that the plaintiff bears the burden of proof. While this practice does not occur in Federal Court, in Texas State Court, a general denial should always be part of an answer to a plaintiff’s petition. If the plaintiff later changes his pleading, the original denial will still apply to any issues consequently established by the plaintiff. Tex. R. Civ. P. 92.
The wording of a general denial is straightforward and consistent, stating that the defendant denies “each and every allegation” in the plaintiff’s original complaint as well as “any and all” additions or amendments to the original petition. A sample general denial recently used by our law firm is detailed below.
Defendants deny each and every allegation of Plaintiff’s Original Petition, and demand strict proof thereof as required by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
Defendants pray the Court, after notice and hearing or trial, enters judgment in favor of Defendants, awards Defendants the costs of court, attorney’s fees, and such other and further relief as Defendants may be entitled to in law or in equity.
Properly using and pleading a general denial requires an attorney familiar with all the complexities of Texas litigation. A lawyer with such expertise will correctly use general denials to help a defendant successfully defend actions brought in state court.
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