Twombly/Iqbal pleading applies to facts and not legal theories.


Plaintiffs worked as police officers for the city of Shelby, Mississippi. They alleged that they were fired in retaliation for brining "to light" criminal activities of one of the alderman. Summary judgment was granted in the District Court and affirmed on appeal for failure to invoke 42 USC 1983 in their complaint. The Supreme Court Reversed:

Federal pleading rules call for “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,” Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(a)(2); they do not countenance dismissal of a complaint for imperfect statement of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted. See Advisory Committee Report of October 1955, reprinted in 12A C. Wright, A. Miller, M. Kane,R. Marcus, and A. Steinman, Federal Practice and Procedure, p. 644 (2014 ed.) (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “are designed to discourage battles over mere form ofstatement”); 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, §1215, p. 172 (3d ed. 2002) (Rule 8(a)(2) “indicates that a basic objective of the rules is to avoid civil cases turning on technicalities”). In particular, no heightened pleading rule requires plaintiffs seeking damages for violations of constitutional rights to invoke §1983 expressly in order to state a claim....Our decisions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U. S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U. S. 662 (2009), are not in point, for they concern the factual allegations a complaint must contain to survive a motion to dismiss.

A plaintiff, they instruct, must plead facts sufficient to show that her claim has substantive plausibility. Petitioners’ complaint was not deficient in that regard. Petitioners stated simply, concisely, and directly events that, they alleged, entitled them to damages from the city. Having informed the city of the factual basis for their complaint, they were required to do no more to stave off threshold dismissal for want of an adequate statement of their claim. See Fed. Rules Civ. Proc. 8(a)(2) and (3), (d)(1), (e). Wait A Second! Blog reports “You don't have to cite the statute governing your case. The complaint does not have to allege the proper legal theory, only the facts that entitle you to relief.” (Bergstein & Ullrich, LLP).

The Case is JOHNSON v. CITY OF SHELBY, 574 U.S. ___ (2014); Wait A Second! Blog: http://secondcircuitcivilrights.blogspot.com/2014/11/supreme-court-says-complaints-do-not.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+WaitASecond+%28Wait+A+Second%21%29

#42usc1983 #pleading #iqbal #twombly #pleadingstandards #rule8 #federalrulesofcivilprocedure

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