Service, Answer, and Counterclaim

Once the complaint has filed, the plaintiff – that’s the person who files the complaint – has an obligation to serve the summons and complaint upon the defendant, and that’s called a Service process. In New Jersey, service process can be done by a number of different means. Sometimes that’s in person, sometimes that’s by certified and regular mail, sometimes that’s by a publication in the newspaper.
Once the summons and complaint have been served upon the defendant, the defendant has an absolute right to file what’s called an Answer, should he or she choose to do so. The answer can be either an admission, or a denial with regard to the allegation set forth in the complaint.
In addition to the answer, should he or she choose to do so, a defendant can also file what’s called a Counterclaim. A counterclaim is a separate cause of action against the plaintiff.

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