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 University Of Michigan Law School students.
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PLEADINGS a. Complaint
A complaint header must contain the following:??
Name of the court (e.g. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan) Names of the parties: (e.g. Hawkins (Plaintiff) v. McGee (Defendant)) Civil Action No.
Title of the Complaint (e.g. Complaint for Negligence) i. Rule 7: Pleadings and Motions?
(a) Only these pleadings are allowed: (1) Complaint, (2) answer to complaint, (3) an answer to a counterclaim designated as a counterclaim; (4) answer to crossclaim; (5) third-party complaint; (6) answer to third-party complaint; (7) if court orders it, a reply to an answer. (b) Rules for Motions and Court Docs o (1) Motions must be:
? (a) in writing unless made during a hearing or trial;
? (b) state the grounds for seeking the order;
? (c) state the relief sought ii. Rule 8(a): Drafting a Complaint??
(1) Grounds for the court's jurisdiction. This must be stated in sufficient detail. (2) A "short, plain statement showing the plaintiff is entitled to relief." o * NOTE: The stated facts must add up to a claim for relief; the court will ignore conclusions of law. (3) A prayer for relief. o This must include the damages sought. The number is not binding unless there is a default judgment. o Special damages are damages that are not the "natural foreseeable result" of the alleged wrong. These must be stated specifically. 9(b). A complaint need not state the legal theory under which P is suing, only the facts showing she deserves relief. iii. Rule 8(d): General?(1) Pleadings should be simple, concise, and direct. (2) A party may state multiple hypothetical versions of her claim. (3) The complaint may contain alternative, contradictory complaints initially. o P must narrow her suit down to consistent complaints after discovery. o Discovery will let P weed out her weak or inconsistent complaints for amendment. iv. Twombly and Iqbal
The current pleading standard for complaints was set out in two recent legal cases:?
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly (2007): o This was an antitrust action. P alleged D companies had colluded to set prices. o The court held that P's pleadings were insufficient, since they merely stated the fact that Ds' prices tracked one another and the legal conclusion that collusion had occurred. o Assuming the facts alleged were true, P could at best argue it was equally likely that Ds had colluded or, alternatively, that the pricing was merely responsive to market pressure. Ashcroft v. Iqbal o The court took the result in Twombly and determined that it applies to all federal suits.
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