How to File A Summons and Complaint




Here are the instructions to follow for completing and filing a complaint. For self representing litigents the process is extremely difficult, if there are no such step by step instructions.

To download a summons and complaint form, please visit respective court website

Suing without a lawyer can be difficult. Court staff can not take the place of a lawyer or give you legal advice. If you choose to proceed without a lawyer, you must understand that you will be held at the same level as a lawyer following the rules of procedure and to meet legal requirements. You can see the resources and materials available at the library nearest the county law.

To initiate a lawsuit and sue someone, you must complete, serve and file a summons and complaint. These documents are called pleadings. They are the first documents filed with the court to begin the trial. These documents tell the Court what happened and explain the relief you are asking the Court to give you. You are called the applicant (s). The person (s) you are suing is called the defendant (s).

You will usually sue the defendant in the county where he / she / they reside, however, this may change depending on the circumstances of each case. Competence can be complicated and because each case is unique, you can consult a lawyer. Court staff can not give you legal advice to where you need to pursue the defendant.

The first part of the summons and complaint called the caption should indicate the name (s) of part (s). Do not use initials or titles such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., etc. If you are suing a corporation or legal entity (business entity), you must specify the name correctly. You can contact the Secretary of State to verify the type of business entity and to get the correct name. The names of the parties are important. If you have the wrong name you may not be able to collect your decision, even if you do win in court. The summons must be signed.

The complaint indicates your claim against the defendant and the relief you are requesting. The complaint must answer the following questions:

  • What happened?
  • Where did it happen?
  • When did it happen?
  • How were you damaged?
  • What relief do you want the court to give you?


You must enter a claim on which the Court may grant relief. You should put this information into numbered paragraphs in the complaint, using clear language and be as specific as possible. You must pay attention to all your information and requests for relief. It is important that you follow all legal requirements and rules of procedure. Once the complaint is answered by the opposing party you will not be able to make changes without special permission from the court.

You must sign the complaint and verification before a notary or court clerk. By signing the verification swear to the Court that your lawsuit is brought in good faith and not harass the other party.

When the complaint is complete, you must have a copy of the complaint and summons served on the defendant (s). If more than one defendant, each defendant must be served. An independent third party who has no interest in the proceedings, is not party to the case and reached the age of 18 must serve the summons and complaint. Work must be submitted directly to the part (s) or can be left to a person of suitable age and discretion who lives with the defendant, usually a spouse, parent or roommate. This is called personal service. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be other methods of service. You can consult a lawyer or the Rules of Civil Procedure of Minnesota service methods. The person who serves the documents must complete and file an affidavit of service with the Court.

Having served a copy of the summons and complaint to the defendant (s) you must file the original summons and complaint and affidavit of service with the Civil Division of the District Court. The filing fee, currently $ 320.00, must be paid at the time of filing. Once your application is filed, it will be assigned to a judge. You will receive notice of the Division of assignments on deadline scheduling, court dates and required documents. Compliance with these requirements is your responsibility. represent you and not having a lawyer will not be an excuse for not meeting deadlines, file documents or appear in court.

If you are unable to pay the filing fee, you can request a waiver of the filing fee based on your financial situation. These forms are available at the Civil Division. The court administrator will review your request and forward it to a judge. The judge will determine if you qualify.

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