Monday, March 14, 2016

Dallas Buyers Club & Cobbler Nevada: Sample Pro Se Answer

So the Dallas Buyers Club and Cobbler Nevada people have been filing amended complaints and naming tons of people here in Seattle. I'm getting quite a few calls from people who just don't know what they're supposed to do. Everyone has started getting so-called Rule 4 letters, which are letters requesting that the subscriber waive formal service of process. In my experience, if you get one of those letters and it's properly addressed to you, the best thing to do is sign it and return it. Lot's of people want to be difficult and refuse to agree to anything, but in this case that will back fire. If you get the letter and it's properly addressed to you, if you refuse to sign it the service process will still move forward, you'll just have to pay for it yourself. Nothing good comes from refusing to sign those waiver letters.

Next, folks want to know what they're supposed to do after they waive service. Well, you have to do exactly what that letter tells you to do: Answer the Complaint. What that means is for every numbered paragraph in the Complaint, you have to either admit it is true, deny it is true, or say that you don't have sufficient information to either admit or deny.  Resist the urge to tell your story in the Answer.  Just don't do it.  Admit. Deny. Insufficient information.  Nothing else.

Bottom line, you can pay me to put together an answer that is tailored to your case and that is carefully drafted to ensure you deny everything you should and admit everything you must. But I'm not cheap. So lots of people choose to move forward on their own. That's certainly fine by me. But I worry about people trying to defend themselves in federal litigation without any experience. So I try to give you some information to help you out. To that end, below is a sample of an answer that an individual filed in a Dallas Buyers Club case that I think is pretty good. First is the Answer, followed by the Complaint that it answers.
But don't just download this document, change the name, and file it yourself. You need to understand it. Take a look at how each numbered paragraph of the Answer is actually a response to the similarly-numbered paragraph of the Complaint. That's what yours should look like.  Read each paragraph of your Complaint, then add a corresponding paragraph in your Answer.  Your response should be short and direct, like these.

If this is not something you feel comfortable handling yourself -- and as someone who handles these all the time, I can understand why you would not -- then you need to get some help.  Don't just wade in to federal litigation blind the way that Mr. Lessere did.

Good luck.