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How to fill out the Late Answer & Discovery form

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, with assistance from legal services offices in Massachusetts
Reviewed January 2022

How to fill out this form

The letters and numbers in these directions match those on the form.

Court Heading

  • Write the name of your county.
  • Copy your landlord's name from the Summons and Complaint.
  • Copy your name from the Summons and Complaint. Spell your name the same way it appears on the Summons and Complaint, even if it is wrong. You can ask the court to fix mistakes later. 
  • Copy the name of the court from the Summons and Complaint.
  • Fill in the Docket Number if you know it. The Docket Number is the number the court has assigned to your case. It may be on the top right corner of the Summons and Complaint or any notice you get from the court. You can ask the court clerk for the docket number.

Motion Section

  1. If you did not know you had to file an Answer, check the boxes under 1.
  2. If you are attaching your Answer to this Motion, you only have to check the box under 2. It is much better to file your Answer with this form.
    If you are not attaching your Answer, write in the "defenses and counterclaims" you plan to list in your Answer. Review the Answer to learn more about possible defenses and counterclaims.
  3. If you are attaching your Discovery request, check the box under 3.

Notice of Hearing

Call the court clerk to ask for the first date a judge can hear your motion.  The court’s phone number is on the top left corner of your Summons and Complaint. Write in the date the court will hear your motion in the Notice of Hearing section of your motion.

Certificate of Service

You must give your landlord or their lawyer a copy of everything you file at court. The Certificate of Service tells the court how and when you gave the Motion to Allow Late Answer & Discovery to your landlord or their lawyer.

Check "delivered," “emailed” or "mailed" and fill in the date you did this. You must get a copy of motion to your landlord or their lawyer at least 7 days before the hearing date

Sign your full name and write in your address, email address and telephone number.

Deliver your motion

Make 2 copies of the Motion to Allow Late Answer form and your Answer and Discovery forms, if you are also filing those forms. Do not include instructions for the forms.
File the original forms with the court. Call the clerk before you file and ask them what the best way is to file. You can:

  • Take it to the clerk’s office. If you hand-deliver to the court, ask the court to stamp the date on your copy so you have proof that you filed it on time.
  • Send it to the court electronically. Use the court’s online filing system or call and ask the court if you can email them. This is the best way if you can do it!
  • Mail it, but only if cannot file in-person or electronically. Mail is slow and not reliable.

Deliver a copy of your forms to your landlord’s lawyer or your landlord. Look at the right side of the Summons and Complaint. If there is a number on the “BBO#” line, your landlord has a lawyer. To deliver a copy, you can:

  • Deliver it by hand or email it to your landlord's lawyer.  The lawyer's email address is at the bottom of the Summons and Complaint. If your landlord does not have a lawyer you need a written agreement from your landlord that says they agree to get your motion by email. It is important to deliver this by hand or email it, because the mail may be too slow.
  • Keep a copy for yourself. Keep it safe and bring it with you when you go to court.

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