Cross-Complaints (Part 2)

Types of cross-complaints:  Permissive or Compulsory

Where a cross-complaint is filed against the plaintiff, the cross-complaint may be either permissive or compulsory.   If a cross-complaint is permissive, its filing will always be permitted.  No subject matter relationship is required.

A cross-complaint is compulsory if it is related to plaintiff’s complaint.  With a compulsory cross-complaint, if the defendant does not file and serve the cross-complaint, he/she will be barred from bringing it at a later time.  A cross-complaint is “related” if “it arises out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences as the cause of action in the complaint.” The test, simply put, is “if the factual or legal issues are logically related.”  If they are, then the cross-complaint is compulsory and must be filed or the party will lose the right to file at some later time.

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