Affirmative Defense


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Affirmative Defense

A new fact or set of facts that operates to defeat a claim even if the facts supporting that claim are true.

A plaintiff sets forth a claim in a civil action by making statements in the document called the complaint. These statements must be sufficient to warrant relief from the court. The defendant responds to the plaintiff's claims by preparing an answer in which the defendant may deny the truth of the plaintiff's allegations or assert that there are additional facts that constitute a defense to the plaintiff's action. For example, a plaintiff may demand compensation for damage done to his or her vehicle in an automobile accident. Without denying responsibility for the accident, the defendant may claim to have an affirmative defense, such as the plain-tiff's contributory Negligence or expiration of the Statute of Limitations.

An affirmative defense is also allowed under rules of Criminal Procedure. For example, a defendant accused of assault may claim to have been intoxicated or insane, to have struck out in Self-Defense, or to have had an alibi for the night in question. Any one of these affirmative defenses must be asserted by showing that there are facts in addition to the ones in the indictment or information charging the defendant and that those additional facts are legally sufficient to excuse the defendant.

The rules that govern Pleading in most courts require a defendant to raise all affirmative defenses when first responding to the civil claim or criminal charges against him or her. Failure to do so may preclude assertion of that kind of defense later in the trial.

affirmative defense

n. when a defendant files an answer, in addition to denying some or all of the allegations, he/she can state what are called "affirmative defenses." These defenses can contain allegations, take the initiative against statements of facts contrary to those stated in the original complaint against them, and include various defenses based on legal principles. Many of these defenses fall into the "boilerplate" (stated in routine, non-specific language) category, but one or more of the defenses may help the defendant.

References in periodicals archive ?
At the summary judgment stage, the affirmative defense must be so strong that a rational jury could not have reached a contrary conclusion, the court said.
Operators can also make an affirmative defense and prove they were motivated solely by the miner's unprotected activity.
end strikethrough]The Committee does not find there is sufficient clarity in the law at this time that warrants a standard instruction on the affirmative defense of unilateral mistake to a breach of contract action.
At the ExxonMobil trial, an employee testified that the company almost always initially claims the affirmative defense even when it is not sure it meets all the requirements.
Accordingly, Supreme Court properly granted defendants' motion for leave to amend their answer to reassert the affirmative defense of late notice.
15) While at first these factors seem to be applicable only as an affirmative defense, the Court also stated that these factors can make it "difficult to establish causation," strongly implying that they can be used to attack a plaintiff's prima facie case.
These days, perhaps, the most frequently alleged affirmative defense to a residential mortgage foreclosure action is the foreclosing plaintiff's lack of standing.
Several of the purported affirmative defenses simply restate the grounds asserted in the motion to dismiss; others are irrelevant to the claims asserted by Nielsen, are redundant, or consist of argument that does not state a legally cognizable affirmative defense," says Nielsen.
In a precedential ruling in late January, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) roiled the waters for applying laches in trademark disputes, potentially complicating future uses of this affirmative defense in cases where the timeframe for bringing an infringement claim is unclear.
The District Court held that Starr could not rely on violations of the ECOA and Regulation B as an affirmative defense and that Starr was liable to plaintiff under her guaranty.
An affirmative defense has been defined as an allegation of a new matter, which while hypothetically admitting the material allegations in the pleading of the claimant, would nevertheless prevent or bar recovery by him.
In a string of cases, California courts rejected reverse bad faith as both an affirmative defense and as a cause of action.

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