In most Ohio courts, you are not required to file an “Answer” or a written response to the small claims lawsuit to defend yourself against it. However, some courts do require you to file an answer, and you can decide to file an answer even if the court doesn’t require it.
To find out if you are required to file an answer to defend your case, read the summons carefully and pay attention to any filing deadlines. You should also check the court’s local rules for a section on small claims to see if defendants in small claims cases are required to file an answer. You can find the court’s local rules on this list from the Supreme Court of Ohio.
If the complaint has numbered paragraphs, you will need to respond to each numbered paragraph of the complaint. Review each paragraph carefully and then follow the simple rules below:
- “Admit” if you agree with every part of paragraph.
- “Deny” if you disagree with any part of a paragraph.
- Respond “I don’t have enough information to answer” if you don’t know whether that paragraph is true.
Don’t guess, it’s ok not to know or to deny. If you are filing an answer to the complaint, you can use this template to create your answer.
If the complaint does not have numbered paragraphs, you can respond by writing why you disagree with the plaintiff and why you don't owe the amount requested for in the complaint. You can use this template to create your answer.
It can be hard to work through this without a lawyer. If you can, try to find a lawyer to help you.