TBD | Walkthrough: Civil Complaint (Federal Court)
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How-To: Draft/File Your Discrimination Complaint (Federal)

Background: You are preparing your federal lawsuit
Problem: You are unsure how to write/fill out your federal discrimination complaint
Solution: You follow this guide for creating your discrimination complaint (Federal)

I. Legal Citations

Rule 3 Fed. R. Civ. P. | Commencing an Action
"A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court." Rule 8 Fed. R. Civ. P. | General Rules of Pleading
"(a) CLAIM FOR RELIEF. A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support; (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief."
Local Rule 5.7 USFLND | Pro Se Civil-Rights Cases and Collateral Attacks on Criminal Convictions
"(A) Required Forms. A party not represented by an attorney must file... on a form... [any] complaint in a civil-rights case. A case is a civil-rights case if it asserts a claim under the United States Constitution or a statute creating individual rights, including, for example, 42 U.S.C. §1983 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court need not — and ordinarily will not — consider a petition, motion, or complaint that is not filed on the proper form." "(B) Requirement to Set Out Claims and Facts as Part of the Form; Memorandum Optional. A petition, motion, or complaint described in subdivision (A) must set out specific claims and supporting facts and may not make reference to a memorandum. A party may, but need not, also file a memorandum with the petition, motion, or complaint. A petition, motion, or complaint, together with any memorandum, must not exceed 25 pages, unless the Court authorizes it."

II. Samples

# PDF Comments
1TBD case. USFLMD. Pro Se Filing. 2020. NOS 442. §1981 Case (+ §760 FS). Employment.
2aTBD case. USFLND. Pro Se Filing. 2021. §1983 Case. ALJ Perjury. Court Form
2bTBD case. USFLND. Pro Se Filing. 2021. §1983 Case. ALJ Perjury.
3USNYWD. 2007. Pro Se Filing. Title VII. ADEA. 6 Pages.
4USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADA. Title VII. Title IX. 33 Pages.
5USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. Title VII. Race. Conciliation Attempted. 11 Pages.
6USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADA. State Law. 14 Pages.
7USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADA. Title VII. State Law. 21 Pages.
8USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. EPA. Title VII. State Law. 17 Pages.
9USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. State Law. 15 Pages.
10USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. 4 Pages.
11USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. State Law. 7 Pages.
12USNYWD. 2007. Pro Se Filing. ADEA. 7 Pages. Court Form.
13USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. State Law. 8 Pages.
14USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. State law. 13 Pages.
15USNYWD. 2007. Pro Se Filing. ADEA. 6 Pages. Court Form.
16USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. Title VII. 12 Pages.
17USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADA. 8 Pages.
18USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. Title VII. State Law. §1983. 10 Pages.
19USNYWD. 2007. Pro Se Filing. ADA. Title VII. 15 Pages. Court Form.
20USNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. FMLA. State Law. 11 Pages.

III. Forms

# Word Comments
1Official Court Form. Interactive/Electronic. PDF Version. USFLMD.
2Official Court Form. Interactive/Electronic. PDF Version. USFLND.
3Official Court Form. Interactive/Electronic. MS Word Version. USFLMD

IV. Templates

# Word Comments
1Replace all of the placeholder tags with real information (eg "[plfName]" becomes "John Doe").

IV. Quick Commentary

  • Remember to check the box to indicate whether or not you want a Jury Trial
    • Almost all cases (≈99%) elect to have a trial by jury
    • The alternative is a bench trial
  • Consider labeling your complaint "Verified Civil Complaint"
    • Do this if the ultimate facts in your case are indisputable (eg, "ABC Inc. never promotes the women into executive positions")
  • Note: You can get by with only using the court form
    • some districts (eg, USFLND) require it from you (ie, a Pro Se litigant)
    • check the local rules of court for your district
  • Important Tip: Write "Based upon information & belief" for the facts you are unsure of (ie, things you suspect)
    • Example: "Upon information & belief, Defendant's CEO instructed Plaintiff's manager to fire Plaintiff because Defendant had 'too many of them'."
  • Use the court-issued form (see Part III - above) to complete your federal 'Civil Complaint'
  • Utilize the free-hand template (see Part IV - above) to write your federal 'Civil Complaint'
  • Read the court-issued guide for additional help
  • Review the District Court Lookup Table to help identify the proper court
  • Cite all of the statutes that you are suing under (eg, Title VII, 42 USC §2000e; 42 USC §1981; §760 FS; etc.)
  • Download as many sample documents as you'd like
    • Model your language after the language that lawyers use
  • Save the final version as a PDF file.
  • Assemble the package
    1. Civil Cover Sheet
    2. Handle the Filing Fee
      • Pay the filing fee (≈$400); OR
      • Apply for a waiver of fees (ie, Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
    3. This complaint
    4. The Federal Summons/
  • File the final version in court

V. Quick Analysis

  • Almost every complaint lists multiple protected characteristics (eg, "Age and Sex", "Disability, Color, Race, Sex", etc.)
For deeper insight, please see TBD's Civil Complaint Analysis

VI. Additional Notes

  • Estimated Time ≈ 1-5 hours
  • Pro Se 7 (Employment Discrimination Complaint Form)

VII. Conclusion

With the use of the form (as well as the samples above), you can more easily draft your Civil Complaint (Federal).

Congratulations! You're now booked up on how to write your Civil Rights Complaint (federal).

Please get the justice you deserve.


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