Rule 12.110. General Rules of Pleading

(a) Forms of Pleadings. Forms of action and technical forms for seeking relief and of pleas, pleadings, or motions are abolished.

(b) Claims for Relief. A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, whether an original petition, counterpetition, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party claim, must state a cause of action and must contain

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds on which the court’s jurisdiction depends, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the pleading needs no new grounds of jurisdiction to support it,
(2) a short and plain statement of both the relief requested and the ultimate facts showing that the pleader is entitled to that relief, and
(3) a demand for judgment for the relief to which the pleader deems himself or herself entitled.

Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded. Every petition shall be considered to pray for general relief.

(c) The Answer. In the answer a pleader must state in short and plain terms the pleader’s answers to each claim asserted and must admit or deny the allegations on which the adverse party relies. If the pleader is without knowledge, he or she must so state and such statement operates as a denial. Denial must fairly meet the substance of the allegations denied. When a pleader intends in good faith to deny only a part of an allegation, the pleader must specify so much of it as is true and must deny the remainder. Unless the pleader intends in good faith to controvert all of the allegations of the preceding pleading, the pleader may make denials as specific denials of designated allegations or may generally deny all of the allegations except such designated allegations as the pleader expressly admits. However, when the pleader does so intend to controvert all of its allegations, including allegations of the grounds on which the court’s jurisdiction depends, the pleader may do so by general denial.

(d) Affirmative Defenses. In the answer a party must state affirmatively any matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense or any other affirmative defense as allowed by law. When a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court, on terms if justice so requires, must treat the pleading as if there had been a proper designation. Affirmative defenses appearing on the face of a prior pleading may be asserted as grounds for a motion or defense under rule 12.140, provided this shall not limit amendments under rule 12.190 even if such grounds are sustained.

(e) Effect of Failure to Deny. Allegations in a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required, other than those as to the relief requested, are admitted when not denied in the responsive pleading. Allegations in a pleading to which no responsive pleading is required or permitted must be taken as denied or avoided.

(f) Separate Statements. All allegations of claim or defense must be made in consecutively numbered paragraphs, the contents of each of which must be limited as far as practicable to a statement of a single set of circumstances, and a paragraph may be referred to by number in all subsequent pleadings. Each claim founded upon a separate transaction or occurrence and each defense other than denials must be stated in a separate count or response when a separation facilitates the clear presentation of the matter set forth.

(g) Joinder of Causes of Action; Consistency. A pleader may set up in the same action as many claims or causes of action or defenses in the same right as the pleader has, and claims for relief may be stated in the alternative if separate items make up the cause of action, or if 2 or more causes of action are joined. A party may also set forth 2 or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively, either in 1 count or defense or in separate counts or defenses. When 2 or more statements are made in the alternative and 1 of them, if made independently, would be sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency of 1 or more of the alternative statements. A party may also state as many separate claims or defenses as that party has, regardless of consistency and whether based on legal or equitable grounds or both. All pleadings must be construed so as to do substantial justice.

(h) Subsequent Pleadings. When the nature of an action permits pleadings subsequent to final judgment and the jurisdiction of the court over the parties has not terminated, the initial pleading subsequent to final judgment must be designated a supplemental petition. The action must then proceed in the same manner and time as though the supplemental petition were the initial pleading in the action, including the issuance of any needed process. Proceedings to modify a final judgment must be initiated only under this subdivision and not by motion. This subdivision does not apply to proceedings that may be initiated by motion under these rules.