* Rule 3– Commencing a Civil Action: Filing a Complaint *

“A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court.”

Download a Civil Complaint Form- PDF
(click here for the same form on UScourts.gov)

    The Complaint or Petition is the first Pleadings in a lawsuit- learn more.

Definition of COMPLAINT:

1. The initial pleading that starts a civil action & states the basis for the court’s jurisdiction, the basis for the plaintiff’s claim, & the demand for relief. In some states (cases), this pleading is called a petition.”

Definition of PETITION:

n. (15c.) 1. A formal written request presented to a court or other official body. 2. In some states (cases), the first pleading in a lawsuit petition, vb.


Rule 4 – Serving a ‘Summons’ to the Defendant(s)

All Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

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