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a defensive pleading by one who has made a complaint; the sole purpose of reply is to interpose a defense to new matter pleaded in the answer. In modern practice a reply is an extraordinary pleading and is not permitted except to respond to a counterclaim or by leave of court to an answer or third-party answer.
EXAMPLE: A store owner sues Annika for failure to pay a debt. Annika files a counterclaim against the store owner claiming that the washer and dryer Annika purchased, which gave rise to the debt, have never worked properly. The store owner can reply to the counterclaim that he is not responsible for the problem or that Annika has not operated the machines correctly.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; ©
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