Pleadings are the written statements of the respective claims and defenses of the parties submitted to the court for appropriate judgment. The 2019 Proposed Amendments to the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure (hereinafter, “2019 Amendments”), which takes effect on 1 May 2020, retains most of the provisions of Rule 6 (Kinds of Pleadings) under the 1997 Rules. [The summary of other Rules may be tracked through the Menu.]
I. PLEADINGS ALLOWED
The claims of a party are asserted in a complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, third (fourth, etc.)-party complaint, or complaint-in- intervention.
The defenses of a party are alleged in the Answer to the pleading asserting a claim against him/her.
The 1997 Rules simply provides that an answer may be responded to by a reply. Under the 2019 Amendments, an answer may be responded to by a reply only if the defending party attaches an actionable document to the Answer.
The complaint is the pleading alleging the plaintiff’s or claiming party’s cause or causes of action. The names and residences of the plaintiff and defendant must be stated in the complaint. [There is practically no change in the 2019 Amendments.]
An answer is a pleading in which a defending party sets forth his/her defenses. [There is practically no change in the 2019 Amendments.]
Defenses may either be negative or affirmative.
- A negative defense is the specific denial of the material fact or facts alleged in the pleading of the claimant essential to his/her cause or causes of action.
- An affirmative defense is an allegation of a new matter which, while hypothetically admitting the material allegations in the pleading of the claimant, would nevertheless prevent or bar recovery by him/her. The affirmative defenses include fraud, statute of limitations, release, payment, illegality, statute of frauds, estoppel, former recovery, discharge in bankruptcy, and any other matter by way of confession and avoidance. [For the discussion, refer to the Rules on Affirmative Defenses]
V. COUNTERCLAIM, COUNTER-COUNTERCLAIM
A counterclaim is any claim which a defending party may have against an opposing party. A counterclaim may also be asserted against an original counter-claimant. [The language in the 1997 Rules has been retained in the 2019 Amendments.]
VI. COMPULSORY COUNTERCLAIM
A compulsory counterclaim is one which, being cognizable by the regular courts of justice, arises out of or is connected with the transaction or occurrence constituting the subject matter of the opposing party’s claim and does not require for its adjudication the presence of third parties of whom the court cannot acquire jurisdiction. Such a counterclaim must be within the jurisdiction of the court both as to the amount and the nature thereof, except that in an original action before the Regional Trial Court, the counterclaim may be considered compulsory regardless of the amount.
The 2019 Amendments maintains the language used in the 1997 Rules, but adds that a compulsory counterclaim not raised in the same action is barred, unless otherwise allowed by the Rules.
VII. CROSS-CLAIM, COUNTER-CROSS-CLAIM
A cross-claim is any claim by one party against a co-party arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter either of the original action or of a counterclaim therein. Such cross-claim may cover all or part of the original claim.
A cross-claim may also be filed against an original cross-claimant. [The language in the 1997 Rules has been retained in the 2019 Amendments.]
The old 1997 Rules provides that a “reply is a pleading, the office or function of which is to deny, or allege facts in denial or avoidance of new matters alleged by way of defense in the answer.” The 2019 Amendments, on the other hand, limits the filing of the reply only if the defending party attaches an actionable document to the answer. The 2019 Amendments provides that a reply is a pleading, the office or function of which is to deny, or allege facts in denial or avoidance of new matters alleged in, or relating to, the actionable document.
In the event of an actionable document attached to the reply, the defendant may file a rejoinder if the same is based solely on an actionable document.
All new matters alleged in the answer are deemed controverted. If the plaintiff wishes to interpose any claims arising out of the new matters so alleged, such claims shall be set forth in an amended or supplemental complaint.
IX. THIRD, (FOURTH, ETC.)-PARTY COMPLAINT
A third (fourth, etc.)-party complaint is a claim that a defending party may, with leave of court, file against a person not a party to the action, called the third (fourth, etc.)-party defendant for contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in respect of his/her opponent’s claim.
This preceding paragraph is a reproduction of the 1997 Rules. The 2019 Amendments, however, adds that the third (fourth, etc.)-party complaint shall be denied admission, and the court shall require the defendant to institute a separate action, where:
- (a) the third (fourth, etc.)- party defendant cannot be located within 30 calendar days from the grant of such leave;
- (b) matters extraneous to the issue in the principal case are raised; or
- (c) the effect would be to introduce a new and separate controversy into the action.
X. BRINGING IN NEW PARTIES
When the presence of parties other than those to the original action is required for the granting of complete relief in the determination of a counterclaim or cross-claim, the court shall order them to be brought in as defendants, if jurisdiction over them can be obtained. [There is no change in the 2019 Amendments.]
XI. ANSWER TO THIRD (FOURTH, ETC.)-COMPLAINT
A third (fourth, etc.)- party defendant may allege in his/her answer his/her defenses, counterclaims or cross-claims, including such defenses that the third (fourth, etc.)-party plaintiff may have against the original plaintiff’s claim. In proper cases, he/she may also assert a counterclaim against the original plaintiff in respect of the latter’s claim against the third-party plaintiff. [There is practically no change in the 2019 Amendments.]
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