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Pleadings Outline

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This is an extract of our Pleadings document, which we sell as part of our Civil Procedure Outlines collection written by the top tier of U.C. Berkeley School Of Law (Boalt Hall) students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Civil Procedure Outlines. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Pleadings Statement of claim = Complaint Statement of defense = Answer Two types of Pleading in a civil case:

1. Notice = used in federal district courts. Requires very little of pleader, a complaint needs only to provide short, plain statement of claim showing pleader is entitled to relief. a Goal: to relax strict rules of code pleading a Cause of action shifted to discovery a Modern trend = use of simple forms. a Facts should not be as important - could increase costs of modest claims before discovery phase is even reached. Plaintiffs may not have access to facts until discovery phase. a Why should we have this?
i Separation of powers = even if it leads to superfluous litigation, its not in the realm of court's power to decide this. i Other pretrial safeguards i Efficiency - no point in having a bunch of litigation over pleading itself
= wastes court's resources

2. Code = used in minority of state courts, but that minority includes CA and NY. Complaint in CA state court must provide statement of facts constituting the cause of action, in ordinary and concise language. CA not as strict as Iqbal, more like Swierkowicz. a Goal: to abolish distinction between equity/law courts a to plead a cause of action, the pleader has to plead each element and also allege specific facts which, if proven with evidence at trial, would constitute proof of that element a Demurrer based on : claim merely states legal conclusions or evidentiary facts a Criticism: too difficult to fully research all the facts needed to bring a complaint before one had even initiated the action, and thus meritorious plaintiffs could not bring their complaints in time before the statute of limitations expired

1 Note = Particular subject areas have been singled out as warranting a higher standard of pleading, specifically federal securities fault. a Policy: to reduce fraud, to reduce frivolous claims

FRCP Rules 7(a) - types of pleadings 7(b) - form of motions 8(a) - what qualifies as a 'claim' 11 - standard of conduct 12 - defenses 15 - amendments Failure to state a claim

1 Elements: Pure question of law. 'in light most favorable to plaintiff' standard


In notice system: what is relevant is only whether the complaint matches the law being complained about, not what actually happened, thus facts are not required. i Policies 1 ACCESS: the point is to see if p is entitled to offer evidence to support his claims, not to see if he will ultimately prevail. 1 EFFICIENCY: gives D fair notice of P's accusations. Plus, there are other pre-trial safeguards to avoid unnecessary use of court's resources. 1 AVOID SLIPPER SLOPE of requiring facts (rather the court only looks at if it is possible, under ANY possible fact set, for jury to find for plaintiff). 1 CONSISTENCY: adheres with FRCP 8(a)


1 Access Now: Where the court accepted Southwest's motion for dismissal

because plaintiff failed to show, in their pleading, that the website was a nexus between services offered and a physical location. Complaint did not plead in such a way as to show that the disabilities law had been broken. "Nexus" was not in the statute, but rather was case law a Disagreement = court failed to view complaint through interpretation most favorable to the plaintiff. a 2006 - Target (pg 605): Complaint asserted that Target failed to provide opportunity for goods and services offered at physical stores through their website. Court did not reject the complaint. a Rendon: The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire case - telephone line was nexus between the physical place to play the game a Reconciled with Sierkowicz notice pleading only if pleading of the website was a fatal fact (because there was no theory on which a website could be a place of public accommodation or a nexus). The complaint otherwise included all necessary elements - timely notice, legal statute, basic elements of the allegation. i But maybe Access intentionally left the nexus argument out of their pleading in order to convert the entire internet into a form more accessible.

1 Swierkowicz (pg 608): Plaintiff asserts that he was fired as a result of his age

and ethnicity. Court finds that no prima facie facts, beyond which is what is provided (supervisor's past conduct, hiring someone of French descent, P's alleged good job performance/qualification, etc). Pleading standard = provide notice. a McDonnel Douglas which requires a p in an employment disc. complaint to allege facts constituting prima facie case of discrimination under framework set by court. Court says this is an evidentiary standard not a pleading standard. a No need to plead underlying facts, can plead elements in conclusory fashion as long as it gives the defendant sufficient notice to construct argument.

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