complaint

complaint
The original or initial pleading by which an action is commenced under codes or Rules of Civil Procedure. E.g. Fed.R. Civil P. 3. The pleading which sets forth a claim for relief. Such complaint (whether it be the original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or thirdparty claim) shall contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon which the court's jurisdiction depends, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new grounds of jurisdiction to support it,
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and
(3) a demand for judgment for the relief to which he deems himself entitled.
Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded. Fed.R. Civil P. 8(a). The complaint, together with the summons, is required to be served on the defendant. Rule 4.
See also counterclaim
- supplemental complaint
- third party complaint.
In criminal law, a charge, preferred before a magistrate having jurisdiction, that a person named (or an unknown person) has committed a specified offense, with an offer to prove the fact, to the end that a prosecution may be instituted. The complaint can be "taken out" by the victim, the police officer, the district attorney, or other interested party. Although the complaint charges an offense, an indictment or information may be the formal charging document. The complaint is a written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged. In the federal courts, it is to be made upon oath before a magistrate. Fed.R.Crim.P. 3. If it appears from the complaint that probable cause exists that the person named in the complaint committed the alleged crime, a warrant (q.v.) for his arrest will be issued. Fed.R.Crim.P. 4

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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