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Initiating a Lawsuit in Denver or Colorado with a Complaint
Filing a lawsuit in court, including Colorado and Denver courts, typically starts with filing a Complaint. A Complaint is the legal name for the piece of paper that lays out the claims that the party filing the lawsuit has against the party defending the lawsuit and the relief the filing party is requesting from the court. In Colorado, the requirements for what must be in the Complaint are specified in the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (“C.R.C.P.”) and are specific to what level of court the lawsuit is being filed in, for example, small claims court, district court, or county court.
Generally speaking, in order to be valid, the Complaint must (1) list the parties in the lawsuit, (2) include a statement regarding the court’s jurisdiction, (3) state the claim and sufficient facts surrounding the event from which the claim arises, and (4) include a demand for the particular relief sought. See C.R.C.P. 8. Complaints are liberally construed so as to do substantial justice and the focus of the Complaint is on whether sufficient facts have been plead to give the other party notice of the events that are the basis for the lawsuit. Accordingly, the Complaint does not have to include a precise cause of action.
When writing a Complaint to be filed in Denver or Colorado courts, it is important that sufficient information be included in the Complaint to meet these requirements. If sufficient information is not included in the Complaint, it could result in the lawsuit being dismissed for failure to state a claim and attorneys’ fees in defending ore responding to the Complaint being awarded to the other party. See C.R.C.P. 12. In order to survive having the Complaint dismissed, the Complaint must contain enough factual detail and assertions that would allow the Plaintiff to recover from the Defendant under any theory of law. If, even when assuming all facts alleged in the Complaint are true, there is no theory of law under which Plaintiff can recover, the Complaint and the lawsuit will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.
In addition to filing the Complaint, initiating the lawsuit requires that the Defendant be served with the Complaint and the Summons; the Summons instructs the Defendant how to respond. There may also be other filing requirements as well depending on what level of court the case is filed in. For example, in some cases a Civil Case Cover Sheet must be included; the cover sheet indicates what type of case category the lawsuit falls under.