Amended Answer in Georgia Superior Court – At A Glance

Use this At A Glance Guide to learn the Georgia Code related to amended answer in Georgia Superior Court. For more detailed information, please see the SmartRules Amended Answer Guide for the court where your action is pending.

If the parties try, by either express or implied consent, issues that were not raised in the pleadings, those issues will be treated in all respects as if they had been raised in the pleadings. On a proper motion, any party will be permitted to amend the pleadings as necessary so that they raise any such issues and conform to the evidence presented at trial. A party may file such a motion at any time, including after judgment has been entered, but failure to amend the pleadings will not affect the resolution of such issues at trial. O.C.G.A. 9-11-15(b).

If, at trial, a party objects to evidence on the ground that it is not within the issues set out in the pleadings, the court may allow a party to amend the pleadings. The court should freely grant permission to amend the pleadings if:

1. Such amendment will subserve presentation of the merits of the action; and

2. The objecting party fails to show that admission of the evidence will prejudice him in maintaining his action or defense on the merits.

If the court grants permission to amend the pleadings over an objection, the court may grant a continuance to allow the objecting party to prepare to proceed in light of the additional evidence. O.C.G.A. 9-11-15(b).

An amended pleading relates back to the date of the original pleading if the claim or defense asserted in the amended pleading arises from the same conduct, transaction, or occurrence set forth (or attempted to be set forth) in the original pleading. O.C.G.A. 9-11-15(c).

If an amending pleading changes the party against whom a claim is asserted, the amended pleading will relate back if, within the applicable statute of limitations, the party to be brought in by amendment:

1. Received sufficient notice of the action so that he will not be prejudiced in maintaining his defense on the merits; and

2. Knew or should have known that the action would have been brought against him if not for a mistake as to the identity of the proper party.

O.C.G.A. 9-11-15(c).

If a party moves for permission to file a supplemental pleading, after reasonable notice and on such terms as are just a court may permit the party to file a supplemental pleading setting forth transactions, occurrences, or events that have happened since the date of the party’s original pleading, even if the original pleading was defective in stating a claim or defense. The court may require any adverse party to plead in response to the supplemental pleading within a time period set by the court. O.C.G.A. 9-11-15(d).

Although not explicitly stated in the rules, it is established in Georgia case law that if a complaint names multiple defendants, each defendant must file an answer, although multiple defendants may answer jointly.

Unless the trial court orders otherwise, a party is not required to file an answer in response to a cross-claim or counterclaim against the party. Any cross-claim or counterclaim is considered denied automatically. O.C.G.A. 9-11-12(a).

If the complaint or amended complaint is so vague or ambiguous that the defendant cannot reasonably be required to frame a proper answer, the defendant still must file an answer, but also may file a motion for more definite statement pointing out the defects in the complaint and the details desired. If the motion is granted, the plaintiff will have fifteen (15) days from receiving notice of the order granting the motion, or such other time as the trial court orders, to provide any details ordered by the court. If the plaintiff fails to comply within the allotted time, the court may strike the complaint or enter whatever other order the court deems fair. O.C.G.A. 9-11-12(e).

The defendant may move to strike from the complaint or amended complaint any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter. O.C.G.A. 9-11-12(f).

The authorities cited in this At A Glance Guide are current as of the publication date. For authorities updated in real time, please see the SmartRules Guide for the litigation document you are drafting.

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