Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Standard for Filing Federal Claims

During a recent term, the United States Supreme Court replaced the long-held rule that a lawsuit should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears "beyond doubt" that there are "no set of facts" that would entitle the plaintiff to relief.  The new rule, established in the Bell Atlantic v. Twombly case, requires plaintiffs to set forth in their petition enough facts to state a claim that is "plausible on its face."

This decision has incited a rash of motion to dismiss filings in federal court, despite the fact that it initially appeared to be applicable only to class action claims.  However, it is now clear that any petition filed in federal court is subject to a higher standard at the time of filing that the same claim filed in state court.  This new standard raises a number of questions, not the least of which is whether state courts will eventually adopt this language as well.

For a great overview of the Twombly case and its potential impact on federal litigation, see "Twombly's New 'Plausibility' Standard for Complaints" written by Tillman L. Lay and published in the November/December 2007 Issue of the Municipal Lawyer.

No comments: