January 01, 2012

Pleading: Twombly’s Seismic Disturbances

Edward D. Cavanagh

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The Supreme Court’s decision in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), has had a seismic impact on federal civil litigation. We all thought the notice pleading concept introduced under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure had substantially eased the plaintiff’s burden at the pleading stage. The Supreme Court in Twombly said “yes, but,” and emphasized that notice pleading was never intended to dispense entirely with the need to plead facts demonstrating a right to relief. In short, facts matter: Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a statement of circumstances, events, and occurrences in support of the claim presented.

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