The Well-Pleaded Complaint Rule and Criminal Indictments: Why no

Report
The Well-Pleaded Complaint
Rule and Criminal
Indictments:
Why No Parity?
Jolly good
shot,
Chauncey!
Return with me to a day in the life of a
civil practitioner…
 Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 8
Rule 8. General Rules of Pleading
(a) CLAIM FOR RELIEF. A pleading
that states a claim for relief must
contain:
(2) a short and plain
statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to
relief;
 The
Well-Pleaded Complaint
Rule:
“[T]he accepted rule [is] that a
complaint should not be dismissed
for failure to state a claim unless
it appears beyond doubt that the
plaintiff can prove no set of facts
in support of his claim which
would entitle him to relief.”
 The
Well-Pleaded Complaint
Rule:
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,
47, 78 S. Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80
(1957).
ALONG COMES TWOMBLY
AND IQBAL
ALONG COMES TWOMBLY
AND IQBAL
and, no, these are not new midway games
at the State Fair.
BELL ATLANTIC CORP. V. TWOMBLY

550 U.S. 544 (2007).

Sherman Anti-Trust class-action civil conspiracy
case.

Revenge of the “Baby Bells.”
BELL ATLANTIC CORP. V. TWOMBLY

Conley’s “no set of facts” language is “retired.”
The phrase “is best forgotten as an incomplete,
negative gloss on an accepted pleading
standard: once a claim has been stated
adequately, it may be supported by showing any
set of facts consistent with the allegations in
the complaint.”
BELL ATLANTIC CORP. V. TWOMBLY

A party’s allegation “requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
BELL ATLANTIC CORP. V. TWOMBLY

On a motion to dismiss, courts “are not bound
to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as
a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478
U.S.265, 286 (1986).
ASHCROFT V. IQBAL

556 U.S. 662 (2009).

Bivens action filed against AG Ashcroft and FBI
Director Mueller for unlawful detention without
charges following 9-11 terrorists attacks.
ASHCROFT V. IQBAL

Twombly re-affirmed. Plus, a complaint does
not suffice “if it tenders naked assertions
devoid of further factual enhancement.”
ASHCROFT V. IQBAL

To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.”

“The plausibility standard is not akin to a
probability standard but it asks for more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.”
Oh Giles,
fetch us
some tea.
Return with me to a day in the life of a
civil practitioner…
 Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 8
General Rules of Pleading,
subsection (a)(2) governing
claims for relief requires:
--a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.
 Federal
Rule of Criminal
Procedure 7
Rule 7(c)(1) mandates that
indictments contain a:
“definite written statement of
the essential facts constituting
the offense charged[.]”
The pedigree of the
pleading requirement.
The Indictment Must
Allege Facts
“Lest there remain any doubt about the constitutional
stature of the reasonable-doubt standard, we explicitly
hold that the Due Process Clause protects the accused
against conviction except upon proof beyond a reasonable
doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with
which he is charged.”
In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 364 (1970).
The Indictment Must
Allege Facts
“any fact (other than prior conviction) that increases the
maximum penalty for a crime must be charged in an
indictment, submitted to a jury, and proven beyond a
reasonable doubt.”
Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 476 (2000).
The Indictment Must
Allege Facts
Apprendi rule applied to facts subjecting a defendant to
the death penalty.
Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002).
The Indictment Must
Allege Facts
Apprendi rule applied to facts permitting a sentence in
excess of the “standard range” under Washington's
Sentencing Reform Act.
Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004).
The Indictment Must
Allege Facts
Apprendi rule applied to facts triggering a sentence range
elevation invalidated the mandatory nature of the Federal
Sentencing Guidelines.
Booker v. United States, 543 U.S. 220 (2005).
The Indictment Must
Allege Facts
Apprendi rule applied to facts which exposed a defendant
to an elevated upper term under California’s Determinate
Sentencing Law.
Cunningham v. California, 549 U.S. 270 (2007).
The Indictment Must
Allege Facts
The Well-Pleaded Complaint
Rule and Criminal
Indictments:
Why is this important?
On or about April 13,
2012, in Buncombe
County, within the
Western District of North
Carolina, the defendant,
knowingly possessed a
firearm, a Walther model
PPK/S, semi-automatic
.380 caliber pistol, in
furtherance of a drug
trafficking crime for
which he may be
prosecuted in a court of
the United States, that is
possession with intent to
distribute and dispensing
and distributing a
controlled substance.
A party’s allegation
“requires more than
labels and conclusions,
and a formulaic recitation
of the elements of a
cause of action will not
do.”
On or about April 13,
2012, in Buncombe
County, within the
Western District of North
Carolina, the defendant,
knowingly possessed a
firearm, a Walther model
PPK/S, semi-automatic
.380 caliber pistol, in
furtherance of a drug
trafficking crime for
which he may be
prosecuted in a court of
the United States, that is
possession with intent to
distribute and dispensing
and distributing a
controlled substance.
On a motion to dismiss,
courts “are not bound to
accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a
factual allegation.”
On or about April 13,
2012, in Buncombe
County, within the
Western District of North
Carolina, the defendant,
knowingly possessed a
firearm, a Walther model
PPK/S, semi-automatic
.380 caliber pistol, in
furtherance of a drug
trafficking crime for
which he may be
prosecuted in a court of
the United States, that is
possession with intent to
distribute and dispensing
and distributing a
controlled substance.
A pleading does not
suffice “if it tenders
naked assertions devoid
of further factual
enhancement.”
On or about April 13,
2012, in Buncombe
County, within the
Western District of North
Carolina, the defendant,
knowingly possessed a
firearm, a Walther model
PPK/S, semi-automatic
.380 caliber pistol, in
furtherance of a drug
trafficking crime for
which he may be
prosecuted in a court of
the United States, that is
possession with intent to
distribute and dispensing
and distributing a
controlled substance.
To survive a motion to
dismiss, a pleading must
“state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its
face.”
And, the “plausibility
standard is not akin to a
probability standard but
it asks for more than a
sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted
unlawfully.”
The Well-Pleaded Complaint
Rule and Criminal
Indictments:
Won’t the “discovery”
bring complete clarity?
TWOMBLY & IQBAL
“It is no answer to say that a claim just shy of a
plausible entitlement to relief can, if groundless,
be weeded out early in the discovery process[.]”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 559.
TWOMBLY & IQBAL
“We decline respondent's invitation to relax the
pleading requirements on the ground that …
minimally intrusive discovery[]” is the answer.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 686.

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