Demurrer to the complaint

What does demurrer mean anyway? It is an old legal (a Latin term) term that law students typically run across while studying older cases in law school.  The term essentially means that the plaintiff’s case is deficient for a legal reason, not necessarily a factual reason. It is the typical manner by which a case is passed from the lower court (trial court) to the appellate court.  It was a defendant’s quick response to a plaintiff’s case wherein the defendant denies everything the plaintiff alleges and simultaneously motions the court for dismissal on the legal basis that the complaint lacks legal sufficiency.  It is an easy way out for the defendant to demurrer (hence its abolishment) and pass the onus onto the trial judge to assess the complaint’s legal sufficiency.  Nowadays, in lieu of the beloved demurrer, a defendant must now plead with specificity.  Even better than an answer, though, is the 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.

Copyright circa 1997 by Philip M. Falco, Attorney, CPA
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