PARTS OF A PLEADING - Rules of Court

RULE 7 PARTS OF A PLEADING

SECTION 1. Caption.-The caption sets forth the name of the court, the title of the action, and the docket number if assigned.

The title of the action indicates the names of the parties. They shall all be named in the original complaint or petition; but in subsequent pleadings, it shall be sufficient if the name of the first party on each side be stated with an appropriate indication when there are other parties.

Their respective participation in the case shall be indicated. (1a,2a)

SEC. 2. The body.-The body of the pleading sets forth its designation, the allegations of the party’s claims or defenses, the relief prayed for, and the date of the pleading. (n)

(a) Paragraphs.-The allegations in the body of a pleading shall be divided into paragraphs so numbered as to be readily identified, each of which shall contain a statement of a single set of circumstances so far as that can be done with convenience. A paragraph may be referred to by its number in all succeeding pleadings. (3a)

(b) Headings-When two or more causes of action are joined, the statement of the first shall be prefaced by the words “first cause of action,” of the second by “second cause of action,” and so on for the others.

When one or more paragraphs in the answer are addressed to one of several causes of action in the complaint, they shall be prefaced by the words “answer to the first cause of action” or “answer to the second cause of action” and so on; and when one or more paragraphs of the answer are addressed to several causes of action, they shall be prefaced by words to that effect. (4)

(c) Relief.-The pleading shall specify the relief sought, but it may add a general prayer for such further or other relief as may be deemed just or equitable. (3a, R6)

(d) Date.-Every pleading shall be dated. (n)

SEC. 3. Signature and address.-Every pleading must be signed by the party or counsel representing him, stating in either case his address which should not be a post office box.

The signature of counsel constitutes a certificate by him that he has read the pleading; that to the best of his knowledge, information, and belief there is good ground to support it; and that it is not interposed for delay.

An unsigned pleading produces no legal effect. However, the court may, in its discretion, allow such deficiency to be remedied if it shall appear that the same was due to mere inadvertence and not intended for delay. Counsel who deliberately files an unsigned pleading, or signs a pleading in violation of this Rule, or alleges scandalous or indecent matter therein, or fails to promptly report to the court a change of his address, shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. (5a)

SEC. 4. Verification.-Except when otherwise specifically required by law or rule, pleadings need not be under oath, verified or accompanied by affidavit.

A pleading is verified by an affidavit that the affiant has read the pleading and that the allegations therein are true and correct of his personal knowledge or based on authentic records.

A pleading required to be verified which contains a verification based on “information and belief,” or upon “knowledge, information and belief,” or lacks a proper verification, shall be treated as an unsigned pleading. (4a)

SEC. 5. Certification against forum shopping. -The plaintiff or principal party shall certify under oath in the complaint or other initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief, or in a sworn certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed therewith: (a) that he has not theretofore commenced any action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of his knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a complete statement of the present status thereof; and (c) if he should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he shall report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court wherein his aforesaid complaint or initiatory pleading has been filed.

Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements shall not be curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory pleading but shall be cause for the dismissal of the case without prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion and after hearing. The submission, of a false certification or non-compliance with any of the undertakings therein shall constitute indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to the corresponding administrative and criminal actions. If the acts of the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful and deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt, as well as a cause for administrative sanctions. (n)