RULE 4:5. General Rules Of Pleading

4:5-1. General Requirements for Pleadings

Note: Source-R.R. 4:7-1; amended July 26, 1984 to be effective September 10, 1984; caption and text amended November 26, 1990 to be effective April 1, 1991; paragraph (c) added July 13, 1994 to be effective September 1, 1994; paragraph (b)(2) amended July 10, 1998 to be effective September 1, 1998; paragraph (b)(1) amended July 5, 2000 to be effective September 5, 2000; paragraph (b)(1) amended July 9, 2008 to be effective September 1, 2008; paragraph (b)(3) adopted July 16, 2009 to be effective September 1, 2009; paragraph (b)(3) amended June 23, 2010 to be effective July 1, 2010.

4:5-2. Claim for Relief

Except as may be more specifically provided by these rules in respect of specific actions, a pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, whether an original claim, counter-claim, cross-claim or third-party claim, shall contain a statement of the facts on which the claim is based, showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and a demand for judgment for the relief to which the pleader claims entitlement. Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded. If unliquidated money damages are claimed in any court, other than the Special Civil Part, the pleading shall demand damages generally without specifying the amount. If a pleading filed in the Special Civil Part states a demand in excess of the amount cognizable in that court, said pleading shall be filed by the clerk for the full cognizable amount and any amount in excess thereof shall be deemed waived unless the action is transferred pursuant to R. 6:4-1. The clerk of the Special Civil Part shall, in any pleading filed that does not set forth a cognizable amount, consider the demand to be for the maximum amount and the maximum filing fee shall be charged. Upon service of a written request by another party, the party filing the pleading shall within 5 days after service thereof furnish the requesting party with a written statement of the amount of damages claimed, which statement shall not be filed except on court order.

Note: Source-R.R. 4:8-1. Amended December 20, 1983 to be effective December 31, 1983; amended November 5, 1986 to be effective January 1, 1987; amended July 13, 1994 to be effective September 1, 1994.

4:5-3. Answer; Defenses; Form of Denials

An answer shall state in short and plain terms the pleader's defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the allegations upon which the adversary relies. A physician defending against a malpractice claim who admits to treating the plaintiff must include in his or her answer the field of medicine in which he or she specialized at that time, if any, and whether his or her treatment of the plaintiff involved that specialty. A pleader who is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an allegation shall so state and, except as otherwise provided by R. 4:64-1(c) (foreclosure actions), this shall have the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the allegations denied. A pleader who intends in good faith to deny only a part or a qualification of an allegation shall specify so much of it as is true and material and deny only the remainder. The pleader may not generally deny all the allegations but shall make the denials as specific denials of designated allegations or paragraphs.

Note: Source R.R. 4:8-2; amended July 13, 1994 to be effective September 1, 1994; amended August 1, 2006 to be effective September 1, 2006; amended July 19, 2012 to be effective September 4, 2012.

4:5-4. Affirmative Defenses; Misdesignation of Defense and Counterclaim

A responsive pleading shall set forth specifically and separately a statement of facts constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense such as accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, contributory negligence, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, resjudicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, and waiver. If a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court, on terms if the interest of justice requires, shall treat the pleading as if there had been a proper designation.

Note: Source-R.R. 4:8-3.

4:5-5. Effect of Failure to Deny

Allegations in a pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, other than those as to the amount of damages, are admitted if not denied in the answer thereto. In every action brought upon a negotiable instrument, the authenticity of any signature or endorsement thereon shall be taken to be admitted unless the same is put in issue by the pleadings. Allegations in any answer setting forth an affirmative defense shall be taken as denied if not avoided in a reply; issue shall be deemed to have been joined upon allegations in an answer setting forth other matters. Allegations in a reply shall be taken as denied or avoided, and any defense thereto in law or fact may be asserted at trial.

Note: Source-R.R. 4:8-4.

4:5-6. Consistency

A party may set forth 2 or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in one count or defense or in separate counts or defenses. When 2 or more statements are made in the alternative and one of them, if made independently, would be sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency of one or more of the alternative statements. As many separate claims or defenses as the party has may be stated regardless of their consistency and whether based on legal or on equitable grounds or on both. All statements shall be made subject to the obligations set forth in R. 1:4-8.

Note: Source-R.R. 4:8-5(b); amended July 13, 1994 to be effective September 1, 1994.

4:5-7. Pleadings to Be Concise and Direct; Construction

Each allegation of a pleading shall be simple, concise and direct, and no technical forms of pleading are required. All pleadings shall be liberally construed in the interest of justice.

Note: Source-R.R. 4:8-5(a), 4:8-6.

4:5-8. Pleading Special Matters

Note: Source-R.R. 4:9-1, 4:9-2, 4:9-3, 4:9-4, 4:9-5, 4:9-6.