Using a Verified Complaint
A verified complaint is a verification of the facts that have been stated in a complaint as truth. It is verified by the plaintiff or their attorney and may come attached with exhibits. In California, if you are answering the verified complaint, every single paragraph must be answered with denial or an admission. The verification also needs to be signed by the defendant or their attorneys stating they have read the answers and that everything is correct to the best of their knowledge.
Any plaintiff can choose to verify their complaint but most civil cases in California are not verified unless there’s a particular statute that requires a cause of action to be verified (this rule applies to unlimited civil cases where the complaint is over $25,000).
A positive side of using a verified complaint is that the defendant has to submit a verification of the answers. If these statements turn out to be false during litigation, the plaintiff (or their attorney) can ask for the defendant to be penalized for lying under oath. The plaintiff may be awarded their attorney’s fees and further discovery sanctions may be in order to dig deeper into those false answers. This may, in turn, make the defendant less trustworthy in the eyes of the jury and you can have a stronger hold throughout the case.
There are some cons to consider when using a verified complaint. Usually, at the time of filing the complaint, not all of the facts about the legal claim has been discovered. That means that the complaint itself will be limited as you can only include the facts that you know at that time and not the “facts” that you still need to prove are true. If the plaintiff makes statements to their attorney under oath before a full investigation has been performed, the plaintiff may also end up being guilty of perjury. This usually means that the defendant’s most flagrant behaviors may not be detailed and may cause your case to look much weaker than it actually is.
Consider using a verified complaint to your advantage if you have evidence of all your claims. You can make a very detailed complaint and forcing a verified answer can work to your advantage. Forcing a verified complaint when you do not have all the evidence can be very costly without any benefit. Always consult your attorney for their professional advice as each case is unique.