Formal statements served by each party to a lawsuit to one another, and containing their respective positions (allegations, claims, defenses, denials). The pleading of the party initiating the litigation process is called a complaint or petition, the defendant's pleading is called an answer. Pleadings only contain facts material to the party's claim or defense, and not the means of proving those facts. Their purpose is to define the issues, and narrow them down to the essentials.

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