(a) Claims for Relief. A pleading that states a claim for relief—whether an original claim, a counterclaim, a crossclaim, or a third-party claim—must contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and
(2) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.
(b) Defenses and Denials.
(1) In General. In responding to a pleading, a party must:(A) state in short and plain terms its defenses to each claim asserted against it; and(B) admit or deny the allegations asserted against it by an opposing party.(2) Denials—Responding to the Substance. A denial must fairly respond to the substance of the allegation.
(3) General and Specific Denials. A party that intends in good faith to deny all the allegations of a pleading may do so by a general denial. A party that does not intend to deny all the allegations must either specifically deny designated allegations or generally deny all except those specifically admitted.
(4) Denying Part of an Allegation. A party that intends in good faith to deny only part of an allegation must admit the part that is true and deny the rest.
(5) Lacking Knowledge or Information. A party that lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief about the truth of an allegation must so state, and the statement has the effect of a denial.
(6) Effect of Failing to Deny. An allegation—other than one relating to the amount of damages—is admitted if a responsive pleading is required and the allegation is not denied. If a responsive pleading is not required, an allegation is considered denied or avoided.
(c) Affirmative Defenses.
(1) In General. In responding to a pleading, a party must affirmatively state any avoidance or affirmative defense, including:—accord and satisfaction;
—arbitration and award;
—assumption of risk;
—discharge in bankruptcy;
—failure of consideration;
—injury by fellow servant;
—statute of frauds;
—statute of limitations; and
(2) Mistaken Designation. If a party mistakenly designates a defense as a counterclaim, or a counterclaim as a defense, the court must, if justice requires, treat the pleading as though it were correctly designated, and may impose terms for doing so.
(d) Pleading to Be Concise and Direct; Alternative Statements; Inconsistency.
(1) In General. Each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct. No technical form is required.
(2) Alternative Statements of a Claim or Defense. A party may set out two or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in a single count or defense or in separate ones. If a party makes alternative statements, the pleading is sufficient if any one of them is sufficient.
(3) Inconsistent Claims or Defenses. A party may state as many separate claims or defenses as it has, regardless of consistency.
(e) Construing Pleadings. Pleadings must be construed so as to do justice.
This rule is based on Fed.R.Civ.P. 8.
Rule 8 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, in response to the December 1, 2007, revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of January 26-27, 2012, page 12; January 24, 2008, page 16; April 20, 1989, page 2; December 3, 1987, page 11; April 26, 1984, page 17; November 29-30, 1979, pages 3 4; September 20-21, 1979, page 6; Fed.R.Civ.P. 8.
SUPERSEDED: N.D.C.C. § 28-01.1-03.
CROSS REFERENCE: N.D.R.Civ.P. 7 (Pleadings Allowed-Form of Pleadings), N.D.R.Civ.P. 11 (Signing of Pleadings), N.D.R.Civ.P. 12 (Defenses and Objections-When and How Presented-By Pleading or Motion-Motions for Judgment on Pleadings), N.D.R.Civ.P. 15 (Amended and Supplemental Pleadings), N.D.R.Civ.P. 38 (Jury Trial of Right), and N.D.R.Civ.P. 44.1 (Determination of Foreign Law).