Counterclaims, Cross-Claims, and Third-Party Complaints

Rev. 1/23/2019

 

Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7012 

Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7013

Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7014

 

 

A responsive pleading may contain defenses in the form of a claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or a third-party claim making the proceeding more complex.

 

 


Counterclaim


Docket Event:

 

[Adversary > Summons & Other Actions > Counterclaim]

 

  • A counterclaim is a claim by a defendant against a plaintiff.  The responsive pleading to the complaint may include a counter-claim. There is no filing fee to file a counter-claim.  
     

  • When a defendant files a counterclaim, the Counter-Claimant and Counter-Defendant are added as a party to the proceeding
     

  • The plaintiff must serve a reply to a counterclaim within 21 days after service of the answer, or if a reply is ordered by the court, within 21 days after service of the order, unless the order otherwise directs. See Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7012
     

  • The United States must serve an answer to a cross-claim, or a reply to a counterclaim, within 35 days after service upon the United States attorney of the pleading in which the claim is asserted.

 


Cross-Claim


Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7013

 

Docket Event:

 

[Adversary > Summons & Other Actions > Crossclaim]

 

  • A cross-claim is a claim by one party against a co-party (e.g., a defendant claiming against another defendant, or a plaintiff claiming against another plaintiff, arising out of the original complaint.)

 

  • The response or answer ("responsive pleading") to the counterclaim may include a cross-claim.  
     

  • When a party files a cross-claim, the Cross-Claimant and Cross-Defendant are added as a party to the proceeding.  
     

  • The United States must serve an answer to a cross-claim, or a reply to a counterclaim, within 35 days after service upon the United States Attorney of the pleading in which the claim is asserted.

 


Third-Party Complaint


Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7014

Fed. R. Civ. P. 14

 

Docket Event:

 

[Adversary > Summons & Other Actions > Third-Party Complaint]

 

  • A third-party complaint is a claim asserted by a defendant ("Third-party Plaintiff") against a nonparty (now a third-party defendant) who is or may be liable to the defendant for all or part of the claim it.
     

  • Unlike a counterclaim or cross-claim which may be asserted in the responsive pleading, a third-party claim is asserted through the service of a summons and complaint by the defendant who for the purposes of the third-party claim is called the "Third-Party Plaintiff."

 

  • The third-party complaint does not commence a new action and there no filing fee.  

 

  • Upon the filing of a third-party complaint, the clerk must issue a third-party summons (Director Form 2500D) to the third-party plaintiff (or their counsel).  It is the responsibility of the third-party plaintiff to serve the summons and complaint on the third-party defendant and on the first-party plaintiff.
     

  • The third-party plaintiff must, by motion, obtain the court's approval if it files the third-party complaint more than 14 days after serving its original answer. See  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7014(a)(1)  
     

 

See Answer in Adversary Proceedings for filing a responsive pleading to a third-party complaint.