Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 3

Rule 3. Commencing an Action

A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court.



Essential Points

What is a Complaint?

The Complaint is a document filed by the plaintiff with the federal district court and served on the defendant. This is the document that initiates the lawsuit.

What must be included in the Complaint?

Rule 8 provides the rules governing general pleadings. Rule 9 provides the rules governing special matters, such as fraud. There are also some statutes that impose requirements on complaints in certain types of cases, such as securities fraud cases.
  • Remember, civil action means a civil lawsuit.