Pro Se C D

Revised: August 2011
Federal Pro Se Clinic
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
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 What Do I Do if I Have Been Sued? 
If you have been sued in federal court, you must file an official response to the complaint within
21 days. This means that you must file an official document (sometimes referred to as a “pleading”)
directly with the court. A telephone call, e-mail or letter to either the court or the opposing party will
not protect your rights.
What if I was not served properly?
Respond in Time – 21 Days!
Your 21-day deadline starts running the day after you are
served with the summons and complaint. Your official
response is due to be filed, with the court, no later than the
21st day after service (counting weekends and holidays). If the
21st day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday, your
response is due to be filed no later than the next business day.
If you need more than 21 days to respond, please see Local
Rule 8.3 to find out how to request an extension of time. If
the 21-day deadline has already passed, or if you cannot file a
response or request an extension within the 21 days, you
should at least file a “notice of appearance” with the court.
The notice of appearance may prevent the court from
entering a default against you for a period of time. A notice of
appearance is not a substitute for filing an official response,
which you should still file as quickly as possible.
If you believe you were not served
properly, you can raise that as a defense to
the lawsuit by filing a motion to quash
service. See Public Counsel’s “How to
Submit a Motion” and Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(5).
As an alternative, you can file an answer
and assert insufficient service of process as
an affirmative defense.
Either way, you should still make every
attempt to respond to the complaint in a
timely manner. If you need extra time to
respond to the complaint, you should call
the plaintiff’s attorney and try to work out
an agreement whereby you agree to waive
formal service in exchange for getting
extra time to respond to the complaint (up
File the Correct Response
to 60 days). See Federal Rule of Civil
There are two types of responses you can file. One type
of response is called an “answer,” in which you answer each
one of the paragraphs and allegations in the plaintiff’s
complaint. In your answer, you are also required to assert any
affirmative defenses that you believe apply to the facts of
your case.
how to do this.
Procedure 4(d) for more information on
NEVER IGNORE A LAWSUIT! You
must file something with the court or the
plaintiff may seek a default judgment
against you.
Federal Pro Se Clinic  U.S. Courthouse, 5th Floor  312 N. Spring St., Room 525  Los Angeles, CA 90012
Open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, by appointment only. Appointment requests taken at 9:30 a.m. First come, first served.
THE FEDERAL PRO SE CLINIC IS A PROJECT OF PUBLIC COUNSEL, A NON-PROFIT PUBLIC INTEREST LAW FIRM.
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Revised: August 2011
Another type of response is called a “responsive motion,” which you can file if you believe there is a
legal reason you should not have to respond to the complaint. For example, you might want to file a
motion to dismiss if the plaintiff in your case did not file the complaint within the applicable statute of
limitations period.
Prepare Your Response
If you wish to file an answer, consult Public Counsel’s “How to File an Answer” guide. If you wish to
file a responsive motion, refer to the following: (1) Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b) to see the types
of defenses that you can raise in a responsive motion; and (2) Public Counsel's “How to File a Motion”
guide.
Also remember that the Local Rules for the Central District of California, which are available on the
court’s website, require you to file a Certification and Notice of Interested Parties, Form CV-30 (also
available for download from the court’s website), along with your notice of appearance, answer or first
responsive motion.
Raise Compulsory Counterclaims/Crossclaims Against Co-Defendants/Third Parties
If you answer the complaint, you must include any compulsory counterclaims. Compulsory
counterclaims are claims that you want to bring against the plaintiff that arise out of the same events as
those alleged in the plaintiff’s complaint. Understanding when you must raise compulsory
counterclaims is very important because you could lose your right to ever assert those claims if you do
not raise them in a timely manner. Consult Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 13 for more information and
see an attorney.
To protect your rights, you may also need to bring a lawsuit against other people or entities – not
just the plaintiff who started the lawsuit against you. Because raising these types of claims can be
complicated, you should consult an attorney and also look at Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 13 and 14
for the rules on bringing crossclaims and third party claims.
Federal Pro Se Clinic  U.S. Courthouse, 5th Floor  312 N. Spring St., Room 525  Los Angeles, CA 90012
Open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, by appointment only. Appointment requests taken at 9:30 a.m. First come, first served.
THE FEDERAL PRO SE CLINIC IS A PROJECT OF PUBLIC COUNSEL, A NON-PROFIT PUBLIC INTEREST LAW FIRM.
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________________________(Full Name)
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________________________(Address Line 1)
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________________________(Address Line 2)
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________________________(Phone Number)
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Defendant in Pro Per
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
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____________________________
Case No.: _______________________
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____________________________
NOTICE OF APPEARANCE
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Plaintiff(s),
vs.
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____________________________
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____________________________
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Defendant(s).
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PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that Defendant ___________________________
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in the above-entitled action hereby appears in pro per, without waiving objections
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to improper service, jurisdiction or venue, and requests that all further pleadings
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and papers, exclusive of original service of process, be served on the Defendant at
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the address stated above.
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Dated:__________________
____________________________
(Signature)
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____________________________
(Print Name)
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Defendant in Pro Per
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Revised: August 2011
Prepared by Public Counsel
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PROOF OF SERVICE
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I, ____________________________ (name), declare as follows. I am over the
age of 18 years. My address is:
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______________________________________
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______________________________________
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______________________________________
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On ___________________ (date), I served the foregoing document described
as:
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NOTICE of APPEARANCE
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on all interested parties in this action by placing a true and correct copy thereof in a
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sealed envelope, with first-class postage prepaid thereon, and deposited said
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envelope in the United States mail ____________________________, addressed
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to:
(place of mailing)
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__________________________ (name)
_______________________________________ (name)
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__________________________ (address)
_______________________________________ (address)
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__________________________ (address)
_______________________________________ (address)
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I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed on ___________________ at ____________________________.
(date)
(place of signing)
____________________________ (signature)
____________________________ (name)
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