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Answer to a Civil Complaint in the Superior Court Law Division Civil (Suits over $15,000)

Our office represents Companies, insurance companies and people facing civil lawsuits. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. If a timely formal "Answer to Complaint" is not filed within 35 days, a default can be entered against the defendant. After a default judgment, assets can be seized, wages garnished, property sold and even civil arrest if you ignore court orders. Don't give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation for civil lawsuits. Our website KennethVercammen.com provides information on civil lawsuits.

The following is current NJ Court Rules on Answers in a Civil Complaint in the Superior Court Law Division.

RULE 4:5. GENERAL RULES OF PLEADING Court 4:5-1. General Requirements for Pleadings

(a) Pleadings Allowed. There shall be a Complaint and an Answer; an answer to a counterclaim denominated as such; an answer to a cross-claim, if the answer contains a cross-claim; a third-party complaint pursuant to R. 4:8; a third-party answer, if a third-party complaint is served; and a reply, if an affirmative defense is set forth in an answer and the pleader wishes to allege any matter constituting an avoidance of the defense. No other pleading is allowed.

(b) Requirements for First Pleadings. (1) Case Information Statement. Except in civil commitment actions brought pursuant to R. 4:74-7 and in actions in probate, foreclosure and all other general equity actions, a Case Information Statement in the form prescribed by Appendix XII to these rules shall be annexed as a cover sheet to each partys first pleading.

(2) Notice of Other Actions and Potentially Liable Persons. Each party shall include with the first pleading a certification as to whether the matter in controversy is the subject of any other action pending in any court or of a pending arbitration proceeding, or whether any other action or arbitration proceeding is contemplated; and, if so, the certification shall identify such actions and all parties thereto. Further, each party shall disclose in the certification the names of any non-party who should be joined in the action pursuant to R. 4:28 or who is subject to joinder pursuant to R. 4:29-1(b) because of potential liability to any party on the basis of the same transactional facts. Each party shall have a continuing obligation during the course of the litigation to file and serve on all other parties and with the court an amended certification if there is a change in the facts stated in the original certification. The court may require notice of the action to be given to any non-party whose name is disclosed in accordance with this rule or may compel joinder pursuant to R. 4:29-1(b). If a party fails to comply with its obligations under this rule, the court may impose an appropriate sanction including dismissal of a successive action against a party whose existence was not disclosed or the imposition on the noncomplying party of litigation expenses that could have been avoided by compliance with this rule. A successive action shall not, however, be dismissed for failure of compliance with this rule unless the failure of compliance was inexcusable and the right of the undisclosed party to defend the successive action has been substantially prejudiced by not having been identified in the prior action.

4:5-2. Claim for Relief

Except as may be more specifically provided by these rules in respect of specific actions, a pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, whether an original claim, counter-claim, cross-claim or third-party claim, shall contain a statement of the facts on which the claim is based, showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and a demand for judgment for the relief to which the pleader claims entitlement. Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded. If unliquidated money damages are claimed in any court, other than the Special Civil Part, the pleading shall demand damages generally without specifying the amount. If a pleading filed in the Special Civil Part states a demand in excess of the amount cognizable in that court, said pleading shall be filed by the clerk for the full cognizable amount and any amount in excess thereof shall be deemed waived unless the action is transferred pursuant to R. 6:4-1. The clerk of the Special Civil Part shall, in any pleading filed that does not set forth a cognizable amount, consider the demand to be for the maximum amount and the maximum filing fee shall be charged. Upon service of a written request by another party, the party filing the pleading shall within 5 days after service thereof furnish the requesting party with a written statement of the amount of damages claimed, which statement shall not be filed except on court order.

4:5-3. Answer; Defenses; Form of Denials

An Answer shall state in short and plain terms the pleaders defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the allegations upon which the adversary relies. A pleader who is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an allegation shall so state and, except as otherwise provided by R. 4:64-1(b) (foreclosure actions), this shall have the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the allegations denied. A pleader who intends in good faith to deny only a part or a qualification of an allegation shall specify so much of it as is true and material and deny only the remainder. The pleader may not generally deny all the allegations but shall make the denials as specific denials of designated allegations or paragraphs.

4:5-4. Affirmative Defenses; Misdesignation of Defense and Counterclaim

A responsive pleading shall set forth specifically and separately a statement of facts constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense such as accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, contributory negligence, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, and waiver. If a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court, on terms if the interest of justice requires, shall treat the pleading as if there had been a proper designation.

4:5-5. Effect of Failure to Deny

Allegations in a pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, other than those as to the amount of damages, are admitted if not denied in the answer thereto. In every action brought upon a negotiable instrument, the authenticity of any signature or endorsement thereon shall be taken to be admitted unless the same is put in issue by the pleadings. Allegations in any answer setting forth an affirmative defense shall be taken as denied if not avoided in a reply; issue shall be deemed to have been joined upon allegations in an answer setting forth other matters. Allegations in a reply shall be taken as denied or avoided, and any defense thereto in law or fact may be asserted at trial.

4:5-6. Consistency

A party may set forth 2 or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in one count or defense or in separate counts or defenses. When 2 or more statements are made in the alternative and one of them, if made independently, would be sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency of one or more of the alternative statements. As many separate claims or defenses as the party has may be stated regardless of their consistency and whether based on legal or on equitable grounds or on both. All statements shall be made subject to the obligations set forth in R. 1:4-8.

4:5-7. Pleadings to Be Concise and Direct; Construction

Each allegation of a pleading shall be simple, concise and direct, and no technical forms of pleading are required. All pleadings shall be liberally construed in the interest of justice.

4:5-8. Pleading Special Matters (a) Fraud; Mistake; Condition of Mind. In all allegations of misrepresentation, fraud, mistake, breach of trust, willful default or undue influence, particulars of the wrong, with dates and items if necessary, shall be stated insofar as practicable. Malice, intent, knowledge, and other condition of mind of a person may be alleged generally. (b) Conditions Precedent. In pleading the performance or occurrence of conditions precedent, it is sufficient to allege generally that all such conditions have been performed or have occurred. A denial of performance or occurrence shall be made specifically and with particularity, but when so made the party pleading the performance or occurrence has the burden of establishing it. (c) Pleading According to Legal Effect. Acts and contracts may be stated according to their legal effect, but in so doing the pleading should be such as fairly to apprise the adverse party of the state of facts which it is intended to prove; thus, an act or promise of a principal other than a corporation, if in fact proceeding from an agent known to the pleader, should be so stated. In pleading an official document or official act it is sufficient to allege that the document was issued or the act done in compliance with law. (d) Judgment. A judgment or decision of a domestic or foreign court, judicial or quasi-judicial tribunal, or administrative agency or officer, may be alleged without stating matter showing jurisdiction to render it. (e) Time and Place. For the purpose of testing the sufficiency of a pleading, allegations of time and place are material and shall be considered like all other allegations of material matter. (f) Special Damage. Items of special damage claimed shall be specially stated, except that if a general demand for unliquidated damages is made pursuant to R. 4:5-2, the facts giving rise to any included claim for special damages shall be specially stated in lieu of the monetary claim therefor.

RULE 4:6. DEFENSES AND OBJECTIONS: WHEN AND HOW PRESENTED; BY PLEADING OR MOTION; MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON PLEADINGS 4:6-1. When Presented (a) Time; Presentation. Except as otherwise provided by R. 4:7-5(c) (cross claims), 4:8-1(b) (third-party joinder), 4:9-1 (answer to amended complaint), and 4:64-1(g) (governmental answer in foreclosure actions), the defendant shall serve an answer, including therein any counterclaim, within 35 days after service of the summons and complaint on that defendant. If service is made as provided by court order, pursuant to R. 4:4-4(b)(3), the time for service of the answer may be specified therein. Service of the answer shall be complete as provided by R. 1:5-4. A party served with a pleading stating a counterclaim or cross claim against that party shall serve an answer thereto within 35 days after the service upon that party. A reply to an answer, where permitted, shall be served within 20 days after service of the answer. (b) Time; Effect of Certain Motions. Unless the court fixes a different time period, the time periods prescribed in paragraph (a) of this rule are altered by the filing and service of a motion under R. 4:6 or for summary judgment under R. 4:46 or R. 4:69-2 as follows: (1) if the motion is denied in whole or part or its disposition postponed until trial, the responsive pleading shall be served within 10 days after notice of the courts action; (2) if a motion for a more definite statement is granted, the responsive pleadings shall be served within 10 days after the service of such statement. If notice is given a nonresident party demanding security for costs and the nonresident gives notice of the filing of the bond or the making of the deposit, the party making the demand shall then have the same time to plead as may have remained at the time of the service of the notice demanding the security. (c) Time; Extension by Consent. The time for service of a responsive pleading may be enlarged for a period not exceeding 60 days by the written consent of the parties, which shall be filed with the responsive pleading within said 60-day period. Further enlargements shall be allowed only on notice by court order, on good cause shown therefor. (d) Certificate of Service. The party filing the responsive pleading or the partys attorney shall certify thereon, or in an acknowledgment, proof or certificate of service, that the pleading was served within the time period allowed by R. 4:6 or other rule specified in the certificate.

4:6-2. How Presented

Every defense, legal or equitable, in law or fact, to a claim for relief in any complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party complaint shall be asserted in the answer thereto, except that the following defenses may at the option of the pleader be made by motion, with briefs: (a) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, (b) lack of jurisdiction over the person, (c) insufficiency of process, (d) insufficiency of service of process, (e) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, (f) failure to join a party without whom the action cannot proceed, as provided by R. 4:28-1. If a motion is made raising any of these defenses, it shall be made before pleading if a further pleading is to be made. No defense or objection is waived by being joined with one or more other defenses in an answer or motion. Special appearances are superseded. If, on a motion to dismiss based on the defense numbered (e), matters outside the pleading are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided by R. 4:46, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material pertinent to such a motion.

4:6-3. Required Motions; Preliminary Hearings

Defenses (a) (e) and (f) in R. 4:6-2, whether made in an answer or by motion, shall be heard and determined before trial on application of any party, unless the court for good cause orders that the hearing and determination thereof be deferred until the trial. Defenses (b) (c) and (d) in R. 4:6-2 shall be raised by motion within 90 days after service of the answer, provided that defense has been asserted therein and provided, further, that no previous motion to which R. 4:6-6 is applicable has been made.

4:6-4. Motion for More Definite Statement or to Strike or Dismiss for Impropriety of Pleading

(a) More Definite Statement. If a responsive pleading is to be made to a pleading which is so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive pleading, the party may move for a more definite statement before interposing a responsive pleading. The motion shall point out the defects complained of and the details desired. If the motion is granted and the order of the court not complied with within 10 days after notice of the order or within such other time as the court fixes, the court may strike the pleading to which the motion was directed or make such order as it deems appropriate. The statement shall become a part of the pleading which it supplements. (b) Impropriety of Pleading. On the courts or a partys motion, the court may either (1) dismiss any pleading that is, overall, scandalous, impertinent, or, considering the nature of the cause of action, abusive of the court or another person; or (2) strike any such part of a pleading or any part thereof that is immaterial or redundant. The order of dismissal shall comply with R. 4:37-2(a) and may expressly require, as a condition of the refiling of a pleading asserting a claimor defense based on the same transaction, the payment by the pleading party of attorneys fees and costs incurred by the party who moved for dismissal.

4:6-5. Motion to Strike for Insufficiency

On motion made by a party before responding to a pleading or, if no responsive pleading is permitted by these rules, on motion made within 20 days after the service of the pleading upon the party, or upon the courts own initiative at any time, the court may order stricken from any pleading any defense insufficient in law.

4:6-6. Consolidation of Defenses

A party making a motion under R. 4:6 may join with it the other motions herein provided for and then available. If such motion omits therefrom any defense or objections then available which R. 4:6 permits to be raised by motion, the party shall not thereafter make a motion based on any such omitted defenses or objections, except as provided in R. 4:6-7.

4:6-7. Waiver or Preservation of Defenses

Defenses (b) (c) and (d) in R. 4:6-2 are waived if not raised by motion pursuant to R. 4:6-3 or if omitted from a previously made motion to which R. 4:6-6 is applicable. Defenses (e) and (f) and an objection of failure to state a legal defense to a claim may be made in any pleading permitted or ordered, or by motion for summary judgment or at the trial on the merits. Whenever it appears by suggestion of the parties or otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the matter except as otherwise provided by R. 1:13-4. Note: Source-R.R. 4:12-8.

Example of ANSWER, SEPARATE DEFENSES in a non- personal injury case:

The defendant d1, doing business at d2 New Jersey, by way of Answer to the plaintiffs Complaint, says:

1. He admit the allegations of paragraph 1-

2. He admits all the allegations of paragraph 2 ...............and denies the remaining paragraphs.

3. He admits the allegations of paragraph 3 .

4. He denies the allegations of paragraph ........

WHEREFORE, Defendant demands judgment as follows:

Dismissing the complaint, Denying all other requests by the plaintiff, for Counsel Fees to be Awarded in Favor of Defendant pursuant to NJSA 2A:15-59.1 and Against Plaintiff if Plaintiff does not immediately dismiss the Complaint and for such other relief as the Court may deem just and equitable.


Defendants reserve the right to assert the following defenses at trial

-The Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted

-The claims in the Complaint are barred by the principles of waiver, Estelle and Estelle

- The defendant acted on reasonable grounds with legal justification and therefore, are not responsible to plaintiff in damages. -The claims set forth in the Complaint are barred by the Doctrine of Accord and satisfaction, failure of consideration, illegality and payment. - Breach of Contract - failure to Mitigate damages - Improper pleading by New Jersey Corporation which must be represented by Attorney at Law in Superior Court - Unconscionability of contract -Violation of Plain Language law - Lack of privity - Improper pleading not conforming to Court Rules

Example of ANSWER, SEPARATE DEFENSES in a personal injury case:

The defendant d1, doing business at ____, by way of Answer to the plaintiffs Complaint, says:

1. Defendant d1 admits the operation and denies the balance

2. Defendant d1 admits

3. Defendant d1 admits the allegations of paragraph 3 .

4. Defendant d1 denies the allegations of paragraph 4

WHEREFORE, Defendant d1 demands judgment as follows:

Dismissing the complaint, Denying all other requests by the plaintiff, for Counsel Fees to be Awarded in Favor of Defendant pursuant to NJSA 2A:15-59.1 and Against Plaintiff if Plaintiff does not immediately dismiss the Complaint and for such other relief as the Court may deem just and equitable.


Defendant d1 reserve the right to assert the following defenses at trial:

-The Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted - The defendant acted on reasonable grounds with legal justification and therefore, are not responsible to plaintiff in damages. - failure to Mitigate damages - Improper pleading not conforming to Court Rules -Defendant is free of negligence which was the proximate cause of the injuries and damages alleged -Contributory negligence -Comparative negligence, per NJSA 2A:15-5.1 -Any and all Damages and/or personal injuries sustained by the plaintiff were the result of the acts and negligence of third persons or parties over whom the defendant exercised no control. -The complaint is barred by the applicable Statute of Limitations -The alleged incident complained of resulted from circumstances and conditions beyond the control of the defendant. -The complaint alleges no violation of any duty that the defendant may have owed to the plaintiff. -The damages alleged in the Complaint are barred by the Entire Controversy Doctrine. -All claims are barred by the Workers Comp Act NJSA 34:15-8. -The defendant reserves the right to interpose such other defenses and objections as continuing investigation may disclose. -The injuries and damages alleged in the Complaint were caused by and arose out of risks which the plaintiff had full knowledge of and assumed. -Defendant is immune from liability by NJSA 39:6A-8 - The action is barred by NJSA 39:6A-1 - The action is barred by the verbal threshold statute.


I hereby certify the Answer was served within the time permitted by law. I certify that the matter in controversy is not the subject of any other action or arbitration proceeding, now or contemplated, and that no other parties should be joined in this action. R.4:5-1. ANSWER TO ALL CROSS CLAIMS The defendant d1 by way of any and all Cross claims, past, present and future, says: The defendant d1, denies each and every material allegation of the cross claims filed against him.


If a lawsuit is filed, immediately schedule a consultation with an attorney. Our office represents parties in Personal Injury and Litigation cases. If facing a lawsuit, immediately schedule an appointment with a civil attorney. Dont rely on a real estate attorney, public defender or a family member who took a law class in school. When your life and business is on the line, hire the best attorney available.

Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year
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Kenneth Vercammen is the Managing Attorney at Kenneth Vercammen & Associates in Edison, NJ. He is a New Jersey trial attorney has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey each week for litigation and contested Probate hearings.

Mr. Vercammen has published over 125 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on elder law, probate and litigation topics. He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, NJ ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published in noted publications included New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer.

He is chair of the Elder Law Committee of the American Bar Association General Practice Division. He is also Editor of the ABA Estate Planning Probate Committee Newsletter and also the Criminal Law Committee newsletter. Mr. Vercammen is a recipient of the NJSBA- YLD Service to the Bar Award. And past Winner "General Practice Attorney of the Year" from the NJ State Bar Association. He is a 22 year active member of the American Bar Association. He is also a member of the ABA Real Property, Probate & Trust Section.

He established the NJlaws website which includes many articles on Elder Law. Mr. Vercammen received his B.S., cum laude, from the University of Scranton and his J.D. from Widener/Delaware Law School, where he was the Case Note Editor of the Delaware Law Forum, a member of the Law Review and the winner of the Delaware Trial Competition.


Edison Adult School -Wills, Elder Law & Probate- 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 [inc Edison TV], 2001, 2000,1999,1998,1997
Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law - NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education/ NJ State Bar ICLE/NJSBA 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1996
Elder Law and Estate Planning- American Bar Association Miami 2007
Elder Law Practice, New Ethical Ideas to Improve Your Practice by Giving Clients What They Want and Need American Bar Association Hawaii 2006
South Plainfield Seniors- New Probate Law 2005, East Brunswick Seniors- New Probate Law 2005
Old Bridge AARP 2002; Guardian Angeles/ Edison 2002; St. Cecilia/ Woodbridge Seniors 2002;
East Brunswick/ Halls Corner 2002;
Linden AARP 2002
Woodbridge Adult School -Wills and Estate Administration -2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996
Woodbridge Housing 2001; Metuchen Seniors & Metuchen TV 2001; Frigidare/ Local 401 Edison 2001; Chelsea/ East Brunswick 2001, Village Court/ Edison 2001; Old Bridge Rotary 2001; Sacred Heart/ South Amboy 2001; Livingston Manor/ New Brunswick 2001; Sunrise East Brunswick 2001; Strawberry Hill/ Woodbridge 2001;
Wills and Elder Law - Metuchen Adult School 1999,1997,1996,1995,1994,1993
Clara Barton Senior Citizens- Wills & Elder Law-Edison 2002, 1995
AARP Participating Attorney in Legal Plan for NJ AARP members 1999-2005

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