Complaints, answers and counterclaims are examples of legal pleadings, according to the American Bar Association. A pleading is a written document formally filed with the court. In general, a pleading provides the reason for the lawsuit, the title of the lawsuit and the name of the court, according to Lawyers.com.
A complaint is the first pleading in a lawsuit. It notifies a defendant that a plaintiff has initiated legal proceedings him. The defendant answers with a pleading that contains a denial or defense. In addition, the defendant may file a counterclaim pleading against the plaintiff, according to Cornell University Law School.
State court pleadings must conform to state procedural rules. Federal pleadings must conform to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, according to Cornell University Law School.