At the top of every complaint -- and many other pleadings -- is something called a caption. A caption lists the plaintiff's name, the defendant's name, the name of the document, the court where the matter was filed, and the docket number. It sometimes includes the name and the firm of the attorneys handling the matter, as well. If you are writing your own complaint, you will need to create your own legal caption for any documents you submit that require one.
Create a Shell for Your Caption
Most every caption uses a similar looking "shell" for displaying the information. It's a good idea to create a blank shell that you can copy and paste to fill in for every pleading you draft during the course of the matter. Below is a typical blank shell that you can copy and paste into a new document using your favorite text editor.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
(district name) DISTRICT OF (state)
(Name of Plaintiff), ) Civil Action No.: __________
v. ) (Name of Pleading)
(Name of Defendant), )
Fill in the Blanks
Once the shell is pasted into a new document, you need to fill in the district court and the state where the court is situated, the first and last name of the plaintiff, the first and last name of the defendant, and the name of the pleading.
Add the Caption to Your Pleading
Now that your caption is complete, it needs to be added to the very top of your pleading. Some courts have guidelines for how many spaces the caption must be from the top of the page. Contact the clerk of the court for your court's specific guidelines; some courts will reject your pleading if it does not meet their formatting guidelines exactly, so it is always better to err on the side of caution.
How to Make a Legal Caption
Writing a legal caption doesn't involve describing a photo like you'd find in a magazine, newspaper or yearbook. In fact, a legal...
Elements of a Complaint
The first part of the complaint is the caption, which identifies the court, docket or file number, title of the action and...
How to Format Legal Documents
Add a caption. On all legal documents, ... How to Find Free Sample Documents and Reports. Visit the Legal Services Corporation's website...
How to Create a Legal Pleading in Microsoft Word 2003
How to Create a Legal Pleading in Microsoft Word 2003. Word-processing applications are not just for office employees or writers. ... Design...
The Structure of a Legal Document
The caption of a legal document is not the same as the title. The caption indicates the names of the parties to...
How to Write a Legal Brief
Prepare a caption. Court rules state that every pleading should contain a caption including the name of the court, the title of...
How to Format a Petition
Create a caption at the top of the document. ... Contact the law-making or decision-making body to which you intend to submit...
How to Write a Complaint
This example is ONLY to be used as a guideline. A formal complaint will also need a caption at the top listing...
How to Write a Photo Caption
How to Write a Photo Caption. ... How to Write a Legal Caption. At the top of every complaint - and many...
How to Write a Lawsuit Brief
Format the caption. The caption is the area of the brief that identifies the parties to the dispute. ... 4 Law School:...
How to Write a Divorce Complaint in Tennessee
Write the "caption" of the complaint by listing the following information at the beginning of the document: "In the State of Tennessee,...
How to Create the Caption & Title of a Legal Memo in Word
How to Create the Caption & Title of a Legal Memo in Word. ... Open a new Microsoft Word document on your...
How to Write Photograph Captions
Many people capture action with photographs, but fail to realize the importance of writing a caption for those photographs. ... How to...
How do I Find a Caption for Copyright?
Copyright is a legal protection afforded to the authors of original works of literature, art, music and drama. The use of a...
How to File a Motion for Family Law
Title the motion. For example, if you want to file a motion to change custody, ... Insert the case caption and case...
How to Prepare Legal Documents in Florida
There are a variety of legal documents that are used in a court case, such as complaints, ... The caption of a...
Forms for Legal Motions to Be Filed
Legal motions are formal pleadings filed by a party moving the court. ... Some courts provide standard forms or templates for routine...
How to Modify a Divorce Agreement
Use the caption from the original divorce decree. The caption lists the party names -- Smith v. Smith, for example ... A...
How to Prepare a Divorce Complaint
A divorce complaint outlines your case and asks the court to make a ruling on your marriage, child custody, ... Caption your...
How to Format a Pleading Paper
Without a proper caption, your pleading can get lost or misfiled in the courthouse. False pleadings can expose you to liability. Related...