A: If you receive a summons and complaint, notify Adventist Risk Management Claims Department immediately so that we can evaluate and respond to protect the good name and assets of the denomination.
Your church or ministry will receive two documents from the plaintiff's lawyer: the Complaint (a description of the lawsuit), and the Summons (a legal requirement for your response within a specified time period). Generally, you have 20 days to file an answer. In some states, the response time can be a little longer.
However, if you fail to file an answer within the time limit, the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) may move for a default judgment. When a court enters a default judgment, it means that the plaintiff wins by default just because the opposing party did not show up and defend against the allegations made, and the defendant (the person against whom the lawsuit was filed) usually has little opportunity to defend its actions at that point, even if it did nothing to cause the alleged injuries/damages. (It may also be that the defendant's insurance company would not cover any monetary award that the court requires the defendant to pay to the plaintiff since they never had a chance to contest the suit).