Common practice in Minnesota civil litigation is for defendants’ answers to allegations made against them in civil complaints to look something like this (I paraphrase):
Paragraph 1: I admit that I am who you say I am.
Paragraph 2: I deny Paragraph 2-10 of your complaint.
Paragraph 3: Paragraph 11 of your complaint quotes a document that speaks for itself.
Paragraph 4: Paragraph 12 of your complaint states a legal conclusion and I do not have answer legal conclusions.
Paragraph 5: I do not have information to admit or deny Paragraph 13 of your complaint so I deny it.
Paragraph 6: I deny everything else you allege in your complaint.
As all experienced Minnesota civil litigators know, this is barely an exaggeration of the vast majority of responsive pleadings in Minnesota civil litigation. (Appended to this unhelpful jumble are defendants’ “affirmative defenses,” which are often long and silly recitations of inapt defenses. Defendants’ excuse for the catalog of inappropriate defenses is that their clients must raise all imaginable affirmative defenses so as not to waive any of them. This is generally false.)
Answers to complaints do not have to be this way. They could be a lot better and more informative. Courts should enforce their rules so defense lawyers make answers to pleadings better. It could make a difference in how efficiently cases are litigated. Consider one recently filed answer I came across as a model for how the system could work…