[See Introduction and Menu; Rule 6; Rule 7; Rule 8; Rule 9; Rule 10; Rule 11; Rule 12; Rule 13; Rule 14; Rule 15; Rule 16 (deleted); Rule 17; Rule 18; Rule 19; Rule 20; Rule 21; Rule 22; Rule 23; Rule 24; Rule 25; Rule 26; Rule 27; Rule 28; Rule 29; Rule 30; Rule 31; Rule 32; Rule 33; Rule 34; Rule 35; See also Summary/Discussion on Parts and Contents of a Pleading]
PARTS AND CONTENTS OF A PLEADING
Section 1. Caption. — The caption sets forth the name of the court, the title of the action, and the docket number if assigned.
The title of the action indicates the names of the parties. They shall all be named in the original complaint or petition; but in subsequent pleadings, it shall be sufficient if the name of the first party on each side be stated with an appropriate indication when there are other parties.
Their respective participation in the case shall be indicated. (1)
Section 2. The body. — The body of the pleading sets forth its designation, the allegations of the party’s claims or defenses, the relief prayed for, and the date of the pleading.
(a) Paragraphs. — The allegations in the body of a pleading shall be divided into paragraphs so numbered to be readily identified, each of which shall contain a statement of a single set of circumstances so far as that can be done with convenience. A paragraph may be referred to by its number in all succeeding pleadings.
(b) Headings. — When two or more causes of action are joined, the statement of the first shall be prefaced by the words “first cause of action,” of the second by “second cause of action”, and so on for the others.
When one or more paragraphs in the answer are addressed to one of several causes of action in the complaint, they shall be prefaced by the words “answer to the first cause of action” or “answer to the second cause of action” and so on; and when one or more paragraphs of the answer are addressed to several causes of action, they shall be prefaced by words to that effect.
(c) Relief. — The pleading shall specify the relief sought, but it may add a general prayer for such further or other relief as may be deemed just or equitable.
(d) Date. — Every pleading shall be dated. (4)
Section 3. Signature and address. — (a) Every pleading and other written submissions to the court must be signed by the party or counsel representing him or her.
(b) The signature of counsel constitutes a certificate by him or her that he or she has read the pleading and document; that to the best of his or her knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:
(1)It is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation;
(2)The claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or jurisprudence, or by a non-frivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing jurisprudence;
(3)The factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after availment of the modes of discovery under these rules; and
(4) The denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on belief or a lack of information.
(c) If the court determines, on motion or motu proprio and after notice and hearing, that this rule has been violated, it may impose an appropriate sanction or refer such violation to the proper office for disciplinary action, on any attorney, law firm, or party that violated the rule, or is responsible for the violation. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm shall be held jointly and severally liable for a violation committed by its partner, associate, or employee. The sanction may include, but shall not be limited to, non-monetary directive or sanction; an order to pay a penalty in court; or, if imposed on motion and warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment to the movant of part or all of the reasonable attorney’s fees and other expenses directly resulting from the violation, including attorney’s fees for the filing of the motion for sanction. The lawyer or law firm cannot pass on the monetary penalty to the client. (3a)
Section 4. Verification. — Except when otherwise specifically required by law or rule, pleadings need not be under oath or verified.
A pleading is verified by an affidavit of an affiant duly authorized to sign said verification. The authorization of the affiant to act on behalf of a party, whether in the form of a secretary’s certificate or a special power of attorney, should be attached to the pleading, and shall allege the following attestations:
(a) The allegations in the pleading are true and correct based on his or her personal knowledge, or based on authentic documents;
(b) The pleading is not filed to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation; and
(c) The factual allegations therein have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likewise have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for discovery.
The signature of the affiant shall further serve as a certification of the truthfulness of the allegations in the pleading.
A pleading required to be verified that contains a verification based on “information and belief,” or upon “knowledge, information and belief,” or lacks a proper verification, shall be treated as an unsigned pleading. (4a)
Section 5. Certification against forum shopping. — The plaintiff or principal party shall certify under oath in the complaint or other initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief, or in a sworn certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed therewith: (a) that he or she has not theretofore commenced any action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of his or her knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a complete statement of the present status thereof; and (c) if he or she should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he or she shall report that fact within five (5) calendar days therefrom to the court wherein his or her aforesaid complaint or initiatory pleading has been filed.
The authorization of the affiant to act on behalf of a party, whether in the form of a secretary’s certificate or a special power of attorney, should be attached to the pleading.
Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements shall not be curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory pleading but shall be cause for the dismissal of the case without prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion and after hearing. The submission of a false certification or non-compliance with any of the undertakings therein shall constitute indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to the corresponding administrative and criminal actions. If the acts of the party or his or her counsel clearly constitute willful and deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt, as well as a cause for administrative sanctions. (5a)
Section 6. Contents. — Every pleading stating a party’s claims or defenses shall, in addition to those mandated by Section 2, Rule 7, state the following:
(a) Names of witnesses who will be presented to prove a party’s claim or defense;
(b) Summary of the witnesses’ intended testimonies, provided that the judicial affidavits of said witnesses shall be attached to the pleading and form an integral part thereof. Only witnesses whose judicial affidavits are attached to the pleading shall be presented by the parties during trial. Except if a party presents meritorious reasons as basis for the admission of additional witnesses, no other witness or affidavit shall be heard or admitted by the court; and
(c) Documentary and object evidence in support of the allegations contained in the pleading. (n)
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