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Claims: Closer Look “A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief… shall contain… a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” Haddle: ∆’s 12(b)(6) What element of Haddle’s claim was targeted by ∆’s 12(b)(6)?

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Claims: Closer Look

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Claims: Closer Look

“A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief… shall contain… a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief”


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Haddle: ∆’s 12(b)(6)

  • What element of Haddle’s claim was targeted by ∆’s 12(b)(6)?

  • Can a court look beyond the pleadings in deciding a 12(b)(6) motion?

    • But see rule 10(c), last sentence.

  • Why did the trial court grant the 12(b)(6) motion?

    • Does this mean ∆ won, or just that it goes to another court?

  • If π had alleged “I had a 1 year employment contract” could ∆ properly move under 12(b)(6) and include an affidavit from employer swearing: “There was no employment contract”?

    • What should π do if that happens? See last sentence of 12(b) & 56(f).

      • Compare: facial & factual 12(b)(1) challenges.


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Haddle on Appeal

  • 11th Circuit (348): Why so short?

  • S.Ct. (349):

    • Does the Court take as true what’s alleged in the complaint? Why?

    • Why does the Court reverse?

      • Did the lower courts err procedurally or substantively?

  • What does reversal of the grant of ∆’s 12(b)(6) motion mean?

    • Does π now get money?


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Suppose the US Supreme Court had affirmed.

Would that mean that Rule 11(b)(2) had been violated?

Rule 11


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Claims & Complaints


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Rule 8(a)

  • “A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief… shall contain (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon which the court’s jurisdiction depends… (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and (3) a demand for judgment for the relief the pleader seeks….”

  • Rule 8(a) is the general rule.

    • What level of detail does 8(a) require?

      • Facts? Evidence? What??? What do the “forms” (336) suggest is the minimum?


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Multiple Claims FRCP 8(e)(2)

  • Assuming it would have been proper under FRCP11, could Haddle’s lawyer have pled in complaint:

    12.Haddle had a one-year contract…

    13.In the alternative, Haddle had an at-will employment contract.

  • Why do we allow for inconsistency, since it delays, confuses the opposing party, and obscures the truth?

    • Which parts of Rule 11(b) limits being contradictory or inconsistent in a complaint?


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Complaint: Mechanics

10(a)Every pleading shall contain a caption setting forth the name of the court, the title of the action, the file number, and a designation as in Rule 7(a). In the complaint the title of the action shall include the names of all the parties….

- What’s a designation under 7(a)?

10(b) All averments of a claim… shall be made in numbered paragraphs… limited as far as practicable to a statement of a single set of circumstances….

- We’ll see one reason why when we get to Zielinski.

8(e)(1) Each averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise and direct.

8(e)(2) A party may set forth two or more statements of a claim … alternately… A party may also state as many separate claims… as the party has regardless of consistency and whether based on legal, equitable, or maritime grounds.

11(a) Every pleading has to be signed & contain certain information.

5(d) No certificate of service is required.

7.1(a) Corporations must make certain disclosures of ownership. Form on course web page.

4(d) Request defendant waive service of process. Form on course web page.

LR Every complaint must be accompanied by a Civil Cover Sheet. Form on course web page.


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Going Beyond the Rules: Lawyering

  • Despite Rule 8(a), telling a story is sometimes a good thing.

  • Headings aren’t required but are helpful

    • Parties, Jurisdiction, Venue, Facts

    • Claims (aka “counts”) often have headings for clarity


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Complaint - Assignment

  • Draft necessary documents:

    • Draft your complaint; Fill in civil cover sheet (link on course web page); Rule 7.1 Disclosure (web page); waiver of service request form (web page)

  • On Tuesday at start of class:

    • Hand complaint & civil cover sheet to me – a hard copy.

      • This constitutes filing with the court

    • Serve under 5(b)(2)(A) another copy to a classmate of your choice along with a request for waiver of service of process (link on course web page).

      • Note who you served on the front of the complaint you file with me.

    • Notes: (1) When you file a complaint you do not have a file number or a judge. Leave blank. However, make them up to fill in the request for waiver of service of summons. (2) You don’t know who to serve a complaint on, so don’t have a certificate of service. See FRCP 7(d).

  • Soon, you’ll have to answer the complaint and choose whether or not to waive service, and fill out form, so save the copy that is served on you.


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The rules require complaints to state at least one claim upon which relief can be granted, and to contain certain things and be structured in certain ways.

By writing your complaint to “look” right and to be substantively correct, you’ll further your client’s and your own interests.

Wrap Up


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