The defendant responds to the summons (legal term "First Pleading") by answering all the charges contained in the summons as either valid or invalid. The required method or form for responding is somewhat different from state to state. Most states will require the response to be printed type rather than handwritten and very concise. The defendant can obtain information on the correct procedure required in his or her state by contacting the office of the clerk of the court where the summons was issued. The defendant should not include personal information or explanation, just factual data to support their defense claim. Please be advised, the defendant is not legally required to answer a civil summons nor to appear upon the date of the hearing. However, failure to do so will result in the defendant losing the right to contest the legal action and a default judgment will be entered in favor of the plaintiff.