34980 Civ Pro Whole Outline
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Anatomy of the LitigationPleadings FRCP 7, 8, 9(b)Rule 7 Pleadings allowed lays out the types of pleadings allowed (i.e. complaint, answer, etc.) Rule 8 General Rules for Pleading a) Short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief and grounds upon which jurisdiction depends, and what you are seeking. You dont have to prove your case, just state what you need to get into court b) Defenses state a short and plain statement of affirming or denying each claim asserted against it and its defense against each claim; can deny parts; failure to deny is taken as a truth a. There are general and specific denials c) Affirmative Defenses response to pleadings, including: Assumption of Risk, contributory negligence, estoppel, fraud, res judicata, Statute of Limitations, etc. a. Mistaken designation of a defense as a counterclaim or vice versa, the court must treat the pleading as it was correct d) Pleading should be Concise and Direct Rule 9(b) Pleadings of Special Matters Fraud or Mistake a) Party must state the particular circumstances constituting fraud or mistake b) Malice, intent, knowledge, may be alleged generally. Notice Pleading Under FRCP Started in the 1930s, to get rid of the technical forms of pleading. Common law pleadings Code System Notice Pleading under FRCP - Under FRCP the only thing we are trying to accomplish with pleadings is notice (Rule 8) Conley v. Gibson US SC 1947 Pleadings as Notice-Giving FACTS: African-American union workers accuse union of racial discrimination. They lost their jobs and union did nothing to help them. Dismissed for bad pleadings. Reversed by SC. RULE: FRCP do not require a claimant to set out in detail the facts upon which he bases his claimall the rules require is a short and plain statement of the claim that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiffs claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. Should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond a doubt that the P can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Objections to Notice Pleading System - It doesnt do enough to weed out loser cases; federal docket will get clogged with losers o In many instances (anti-trust) discovery becomes expensive, so as soon as a complaint gets through the door D will settle even if it knows it did nothing wrong - D will not know how to appropriately respond because the claims are unclear For Notice Pleading - Cases shouldnt be decided on technicalities; people with a valid claim shouldnt be denied a trial, especially when they dont have a lawyer. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, N.A - SC US 2002 Required Pleading Standards FACTS: Petitioner, Hungarian worked for the NY subsidiary of a French insurance co. The boss then gave his job function and title to a younger Frenchman, like himself, who had less experience. Petitioner claims employment discrimination. D says that he did not make out a prima facie case, thus not meeting the pleading requirements of 8(a)(2). ISSUE: Does employment discrimination have heightened pleading standards?
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2RULE: Employment discrimination complaint need not include specific facts establishing a prima facie case of discrimination. Court says Rule 8 sets out minimal requirements for pleading and this does not include a prima facie case. Only those instances in Rule 9 are exceptions, and this isnt one of them. CoA arguments went against Rule 8(a)(2). Quoting Conley statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiffs claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. STANDARD: a complaint should not be dismissed unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief Bell Atlantic Corp v. Twombley US SC 2007 - Heightened Pleading Standards Fraud and Conspiracy. Changed pleading standard from conceivable to plausible. FACTS: After Congress passed Telecommunications Act of 1996 stating all local providers must give access to other larger providers, Bell Atlantic brought a complaint alleging conspiracy (parallel conduct) under Sherman Act (anti-trust) among local providers not to allow Bell Atlantic in. DC dismissed complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. CoA reversed, then SC reversed and dismissed case. ISSUE: Have Ps alleged enough facts in their complaint from which a conspiracy to violate Sherman Act can be inferred? RULE: Claim needs to have more than just allegations of parallel conduct and conspiracy. They needed to provide a complaint with enough factual matter to suggest such conduct existed. We require enough facts to stat a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Because the plaintiffs here have not nudged their claims across the line conceivable to plausible, their complaint must be dismissed. Said that circumstantial evidence of parallel behavior may be a legitimate argument in conspiracy allegations, that does not yet apply for the Sherman Act (anti-trust). Casts doubt on Conley, says earned its retirement and is misunderstood, and an interpretation. DISSENT: Just because it will cost a lot of money and it will require a lot of case management on the part of the Judges to make sure that the Jury is not mistaken on their tasks does not make it right for the case to be dismissed prior to a response from the defendants. Conley Court knew that the FRCP meant to codify does not require, or invite, the pleading of facts. STANDARD: Plausibility standard claims are valid only if they allege facts that plausibly suggest a conspiracy. Suggestive facts need only be alleged. HOW DOES COURT GET TO THIS DECISION?? Rule 8(a) still requires a showing, rather than a blanket assertion of entitlement to relief Rule 1 just, speedy, and inexpensive court is worried about speedy and inexpensive Court doesnt want settlement of non-meritorious claims Court says they are not extending rule 9 we are not particularizing by implementing new standard of plausibility Caselaw: o Conley need to retire no set of facts language; also said that Conley stated complaint should give P fair notice and grounds for relief, this complaint did not o Swierkiewizc court says it did not change the law of pleading, simply re-emphasized specific facts o Erickson v Pardus only need complaint to give fair notice to D of claim and grounds which it lays upon TWO WAYS TO READ TWOMBLEY Narrow complex legal standards will require more in depth complaint to address necessary allegations
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3 Plausibility Standard need to show facts where it is necessary to push the complaint over the line so it is plausible see Iqbal RULE
Enron Complaint Why so long?? (Other than long list of Ds) Discovery is linked to what you got in your complaint, and one reason to include all this is to get discovery into more of their issues Scare the defendant (intimidation), you have the money and lawyer power to continue this Who are the audiences of this complain?? Def and their lawyers, court/judge, media outlets, regulatory commissions (SEC), your client, yourself (as the lawyer) to keep the everything organized Disadvantages - Piss of judge, too much of a preview (strategically maybe not the best idea), diminishes the major points if you add a lot of stuff US v. Iqbal Supreme Court 2nd Cir 1937. Qualified Immunity as Defense FACTS: P was taken into custody shortly after 9/11, plead guilty to defrauding govt to stay in country. P is suing for harsh treatment in jail. Ds (including Ashcroft, and a bunch of high ups in FBI) filed for motion to dismiss on grounds of qualified immunity. Under qualified immunity P must plead specific facts to overcome QI at the motion to dismiss stage. ISSUE: Whether a defense of qualified immunity needs more than normal plain and simple statement? Did Iqbal plead factual matter that as true states a claim that he was deprived of const. rights? RULE: Two Pronged Iqbal Standard: a) First, you decide if its a legal fact or a conclusion b) If its a conclusion, then there is no entitlement to it being true c) If there is a well-pleaded factual allegation, then the court should assume its veracity and determine whether or not it plausibly gives rise to an entitlement to relief
Notice Pleading Restoration Act Pending Legislation in Congress: Federal courts can not dismiss a complaint for 12(b)(6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and 12(e)motion for a more definite statement when the complaint is so vague or ambiguous EXCEPT under the standards set forth in Conley v. Gibson (that a complaint should not be dismissed "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.") Arguments for: broader standard for allowing cases to go to trial, gives plaintiffs a chance to allow evidence into discovery. Most cases are settled during the discovery period anyways, this allows a chance for plaintiffs to present concrete evidence, if they have it. SC did say that Iqbal could have gone to court about the injuries he suffered. Arguments against: a loose standard, not an explicit one. current standard is strict, it leads to less cases reaching the trial level and thus the possibility of justice not being served. However, if can slow down the judicial process, which costs time and money, and would possibly allow more suits without basis. It would allow conclusory statements to be taken as true.
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Defendants Responses FRCP 8(b) and 12PRE-ANSWER MOTIONS: Advantages: A. Permits D to raise objections to the action at an early stage ( answers are expensive) B. Pre-answer motion extends time for filing an answer -Defendants A