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What are the two main pleadings in a case?
1) Complaint - the paper filed by P that describes the underlying event and sets out the claim or claims for which P seeks to recover
2) Answer - the party's response to allegations made by another party
How can claims be answered?
A claim can be answered by admitting all or part of what the claimant says, denying what the claimant says, and/or alleging an affirmative defense.
Possible to Plausible
Prior to Twombly, pleading a detailed and specific claim was not necessary to survive a 12(b)(6) motion. Twombly established that claims should provide a detailed statement to demonstrate that P is entitled to relief [FR 8(a)(2)].
- On its own initiative
- i.e FR 11(c)
General Rules of Pleading
Heightened Pleading Standards for Fraud
FR 9(b): In alleging fraud or mistake, a party must state with particularity (who, what, when, where, and how)
*Think: high school newspaper editor*
6 Foman Factors for the Court NOT Granting Leave to Amend
1) undue delay
2) undue prejudice
3) repeated failure to amend
5) bad faith
6) dilatory motion
State Farm Mut. Automobile Ins. Co. v. Campbell
Punitive damages awards must be viewed with references to the compensatory damages.
F: After State Farm (D) failed to settle claims against Campbell (P) for its policy limits and altered information to lessen his culpability, a jury awarded Campbell $1 million in compensatory damages and $145 million in punitive damages.
Damages awarded in addition to actual damages when D acted with recklessness, malice, or deceit.
Damages sufficient in amount to compensate the injured person for the loss suffered.
Sigma Chemical Co. v. Harris
A decision to issue an injunction involves a balancing of interests - the benefit to the moving party against the harm to the opposing party
F: A company sought to enforce a restrictive covenant by enjoining one of its former employees from continuing to work for one of the company's major competitors.
Evans v. Jeff D.
Fee shifting statutes may create a conflict between the lawyer's duty to his client and his interest in being compensated.
F: While negotiating a settlement for his clients, a class of handicapped children, a Legal Aid attorney was forced to waive his claim for legal fees provided by statute in order to obtain all of the injunctive relief his clients sought from the state.
Buckhannon Board and Care Home, Inc. v. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services
A post-complaint change in law making a claim moot does not render the plaintiff a "prevailing party."
F: Buckhannon Board and Care Home's (P) suit was dismissed as moot after the defendant changed its conduct during litigation.
William Inglis & Sons Baking Co. v. ITT Continental Baking Co.
To obtain a preliminary injunction, it is NOT necessary that the moving party be reasonably certain of success on the merits.
F: A District Court denied a plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction against its competitors because the plaintiff failed to show the probability of success in its antitrust suit.
Fuentes v. Sheven
Seizure of a protected property interest must be preceded by notice and an opportunity to be heard.
F: Margarita Fuentes (P) and other debtors challenge the constitutionality of Florida and Pennsylvania statutes allowing seizure of goods covered by an installment sales contract without providing an opportunity for the debtor to be heard prior to seizure.
Haddle v. Garrison
A Rule 12(b)(6) motion will be granted if no set of facts in support of plaintiff's claim will entitle plaintiff to relief.
Whistleblower (P), who is an at-will-employee, alleges an injury from being fired as part of a conspiracy to deter him from testifying in federal court.
Chambers v. Nasco, Inc.
Beyond any specific statutory authority lies the inherent power of the court to control behavior designed to thwart the just operations of the legal system.
F: Court upheld an imposition of nearly $1 million in fees on a party acting in bad faith.
A remedy that would have been granted by the Chancery court rather than the common law; usually an action or prevention of an action. i.e injunction, constructive trust
THE Three Determining Factors for Due Process
After Fuentes: Matthews v. Eldridge
1) The private interest that will be affected
2) Risk of erroneous deprivation & the value or substitute procedural safeguards
3) Government's interest
The Umbrella Theory
Allows an amendment to go from broad to narrow but not narrow to broad.
i.e Can't go informed consent to negligence. But you can go negligence to informed consent.
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly
Rule 8(a)(2) requires a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," in order to "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests."
F: Telephone and internet subscribers sues their local telephone companies for allegedly entering into a conspiracy to crate monopoly power in their respective markets in violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act.
Stradford v. Zurich Insurance Co.
Claims of fraud or mistake must be asserted with particularity to provide the party against whom such claimsare made fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it is based.
F: After Stradford's (P) insurance policy lapsed and was reinstated, Stradford (P) filed a large claim under the policy, prompting D to file a counterclaim for fraud.
Jones v. Bock
Failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense in prisoner lawsuits, and inmates are therefore not required to specially plead or demonstrate exhaustion in their complaints.
A prisoner brought suit for violation of his rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Supreme Court consolidated his case with those of other prisoners to determine the pleading requirements applicable to their complaints.
Walker v. Norwest Corp.
Sanctions are appropriate when an attorney, through court submissions, raises allegations or factual contentions that are not supported by evidence or likely to be supported upon reasonable discovery.
The plaintiffs' complaint was dismissed and sanctions were imposed b/c the plaintiffs failed to assert the citizenship of all defendants necessary to establish diversity jurisdiction.
Christian v. Mattel, Inc.
Rule 11 sanctions are appropriate only when an attorney, through court submissions, raises allegations or factual contentions that are not supported by evidence or likely to be supported with an opportunity to conduct reasonable discovery.
F: Christian (P) sued Mattel, Inc. (D) for copyright infringement in federal court over the creation and distribution of a doll.
Zielinski v. Philadelphia Piers, Inc.
A general denial will not be valid if any of the allegations being denied have been admitted by both parties as true.
F: A man who was hit by a forklift claims that it was owned by large company which denies owning it at the time of the accident.
Beeck v. Aquaslide 'N' Dive Corp.
A court does not abuse its discretion by allowing an amendment to an answer which initially admitted responsibility for the manufacture of the product at issue but now seeks to deny manufacturing it.
Defendant admits manufacturing the defective water slide at issue in the case but a year later moves the court to amend the answer to deny manufacture.
Moore v. Baker
In order to relate back to the time of the original complaint, a proposed amendment must have its basis in the same facts that are alleged in the original complaint.
F: A patient who was disabled after an operation sued the doctor for violation of the informed consent law, and later tried to amend the complaint to include allegations of negligence.
Bonerb v. Richard J. Caron Foundation
A claim will relate back if the original operational facts set out in the original complaint are sufficient to put the defendant on notice that the amended claim could be brought.
Patient originally sued the Rehab Center for negligent maintenance of its basketball court, and later tried to amend the complaint to include a claim for counseling malpractice.