Rule 2.111 General Rules of Pleading

(A) Pleading to be Concise and Direct; Inconsistent Claims.

(1) Each allegation of a pleading must be clear, concise, and direct.

(2) Inconsistent claims or defenses are not objectionable. A party may

(a) allege two or more statements of fact in the alternative when in doubt about which of the statements is true;

(b) state as many separate claims or defenses as the party has, regardless of consistency and whether they are based on legal or equitable grounds or on both.

All statements made in a pleading are subject to the requirements of MCR 2.114.

(B) Statement of Claim. A complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party complaint must contain the following:

(1) A statement of the facts, without repetition, on which the pleader relies in stating the cause of action, with the specific allegations necessary reasonably to inform the adverse party of the nature of the claims the adverse party is called on to defend; and

(2) A demand for judgment for the relief that the pleader seeks. If the pleader seeks an award of money, a specific amount must be stated if the claim is for a sum certain or a sum that can by computation be made certain, or if the amount sought is $25,000 or less. Otherwise, a specific amount may not be stated, and the pleading must include allegations that show that the claim is within the jurisdiction of the court. Declaratory relief may be claimed in cases of actual controversy. See MCR 2.605. Relief in the alternative or relief of several different types may be demanded.

(C) Form of Responsive Pleading. As to each allegation on which the adverse party relies, a responsive pleading must

(1) state an explicit admission or denial;

(2) plead no contest; or

(3) state that the pleader lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an allegation, which has the effect of a denial.

(D) Form of Denials. Each denial must state the substance of the matters on which the pleader will rely to support the denial.

(E) Effect of Failure to Deny.

(1) Allegations in a pleading that requires a responsive pleading, other than allegations of the amount of damage or the nature of the relief demanded, are admitted if not denied in the responsive pleading.

(2) Allegations in a pleading that does not require a responsive pleading are taken as denied.

(3) A pleading of no contest, provided for in subrule (C)(2), permits the action to proceed without proof of the claim or part of the claim to which the pleading is directed. Pleading no contest has the effect of an admission only for purposes of the pending action.

(F) Defenses; Requirement That Defense Be Pleaded.

(1) Pleading Multiple Defenses. A pleader may assert as many defenses, legal or equitable or both, as the pleader has against an opposing party. A defense is not waived by being joined with other defenses.

(2) Defenses Must Be Pleaded; Exceptions. A party against whom a cause of action has been asserted by complaint, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party claim must assert in a responsive pleading the defenses the party has against the claim. A defense not asserted in the responsive pleading or by motion as provided by these rules is waived, except for the defenses of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action, and failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. However,

(a) a party who has asserted a defense by motion filed pursuant to MCR 2.116 before filing a responsive pleading need not again assert that defense in a responsive pleading later filed;

(b) if a pleading states a claim for relief to which a responsive pleading is not required, a defense to that claim may be asserted at the trial unless a pretrial conference summary pursuant to MCR 2.401(C) has limited the issues to be tried.

(3) Affirmative Defenses. Affirmative defenses must be stated in a party's responsive pleading, either as originally filed or as amended in accordance with MCR 2.118. Under a separate and distinct heading, a party must state the facts constituting

(a) an affirmative defense, such as contributory negligence; the existence of an agreement to arbitrate; assumption of risk; payment; release; satisfaction; discharge; license; fraud; duress; estoppel; statute of frauds; statute of limitations; immunity granted by law; want or failure of consideration; or that an instrument or transaction is void, voidable, or cannot be recovered on by reason of statute or nondelivery;

(b) a defense that by reason of other affirmative matter seeks to avoid the legal effect of or defeat the claim of the opposing party, in whole or in part;

(c) a ground of defense that, if not raised in the pleading, would be likely to take the adverse party by surprise.