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A demurrer is a pleading that objects to an earlier pleading filed by an opposing party.


The word "demur" means to object; a "demurrer" is the document that makes the objection. Typically, the defendant will demur to the complaint, but it is also possible for plaintiff to demur to an answer. The demurrer challenges the "legal sufficiency" of a claim, cause of action, or defense. If a cause of action in a complaint does not state a cognizable claim or if it does not state all the required elements, then the complaint can be knocked out with a demurrer. A demurrer is filed near the beginning of a case during the pleading phase.

A demurrer is not a challenge to the ultimate merits of a case or claim. When ruling on a demurrer, a judge is required by law to assume as true facts alleged in the complaint, even if those facts would later be challenged.

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