I HATE HATE HATE answering complaints.
You would think that answering a complaint wouldn't be too difficult and that it might even be fun. I mean, the only possible responses are some variation of: "Admit," "Deny" or "lacks information sufficient to form a belief." But seriously, each little paragraph that I have to provide an answer to causes me physically painful ethical anguish. That was a mouthful- did you get all that?
The last Answer I prepared was for a automobile collision. Liability was pretty straightforward. Our client => bad => crash. Simple, right? But in law, nothing can be that simple.
The complaint stated an allegation similar to this:
"Defendant did X and struck Plaintiff's vehicle."
Considering the fact that there exists a statement made by our client suggesting that he was totally at fault, I want to answer by saying: "Admit that our client did X and was a total douche bag."
Considering that I represent the Defendant's interests (when you are not a partner, you take your clients as they are in all their douchebaggery), I have to answer something like this: "Deny."
I feel a little unsettled about this. I feel like it's a violation of CR 11. However, everyone assures me that there has never been a case where a lawyer got into trouble for denying something he maybe should have admitted in an answer. In fact, trouble usually only arises when a lawyer admits something he probably should have denied. This is what They tell me anyway. Since They are lawyers, well experienced in litigation, I will believe Them.
But just to be on the overly ethical side, I have elected to answer something like this:
"Admit that client did X but deny any and all inferences of liability."
Sounds like an oxymoron right? So I can admit that Defendant did something which he states that he did, but the other side cannot use this omission at trial to prove liability. They told me this little tip. I LOVE it.
And so does my conscience.