Cross-Complaints (part 3)

This is the 3rd and final (hopefully) post on Cross-Complaints in California.  The following are just some miscellaneous pieces of information:

  • The cross-complaint must be a separate pleading and not part of the defendant’s answer.
  • It must conform to all pleading rules.
  • If the cross-complaint is filed at the same time as the answer, the defendant has an absolute right to file the cross-complaint and no leave of court is required.
  • Where the cross-complaint is against a third party (not the plaintiff), the defendant has until first trial date set to file without leave of court. Leave of court is required for the filing of a cross-complaint after the filing of an Answer for a defendant.
  • If the cross-complaint is permissive, leave to file the cross-complaint may be granted when “in the interests of justice” at any time during the course of the action.
  • If the cross-complaint is compulsory, leave MUST be granted so long as defendant is acting in good faith.  If there is no stipulation by parties to the filing, a noticed motion is required.
  • The cross-complaint must be served on all parties to the action.  Those parties who have already appeared in the action, may be served by mail.  New parties (those who have not already made an appearance) must be served with summons and a copy of prior pleadings.
  • A responsive pleading to the cross-complaint is required from the party on whom the cross-complaint was served (cross-defendant).  If no responsive pleading is filed within the statutory or court-ordered time frame, a default of the party can be taken.
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