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Complaint Instructions

The filing fee is $405.00


Documents Needed for Filing


  1. Civil Cover Sheet (3 Stapled Pages)
  2. Complaint (See Sample Format) -- you must file the original plus one copy for each defendant and one copy for yourself.

    If you are suing an agency of the United States, you must also provide a copy for the U.S. Attorney General and the local U.S. Attorney.

    You must write the complaint yourself. We cannot help you do this. The complaint must be typed or legibly handwritten on letter size paper. It must be signed by you.

  3. Summonses (See Sample) -- you need the original and one copy for each defendant. If you are suing a U.S. government agency, you must also supply summonses for both the Attorney General and the local U.S. Attorney. (See addresses below)



Procedure for Filing


Bring all of the above documents, with the filing fee, to the U.S. District Court. The Intake Clerk will file your complaint and stamp the copies and the summonses.

The defendant(s) must be served with the complaint, summons, magistrate form (supplied by the Clerk), plus any orders from the judge which the Clerk may give you, within 120 days. Service must be perfected, by someone over 18 years of age who is not a party (that is, not you), in the manner prescribed in Rule 4 of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Any documents filed with the court after the filing of the complaint must also be served on the defendant(s). You can do this by mailing a copy of the document to be filed to each defendant (if a defendant is represented by counsel of record, service should be made on that defendant's counsel) and submitting to the court, with the original document, a certificate of service. This lets the court know that the defendant has been served. Be sure to keep copies of all your documents.

Addresses of U.S. Attorneys for Cases where U.S. is served:


U.S. Attorney General
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530
U.S. Attorney, N.D. Ohio
Carl B. Stokes U.S. Court House
801 West Superior Avenue
Suite 400
Cleveland, Ohio 44113-1852