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The Judicial Complaint: Nature and Functions in Notice & Code Pleading Regimes. Civil Procedure 1 Professor Krieger September 9, 2002. The Essential Stages of a Civil Lawsuit. “Motion” Defined in FRCP Rule 7(b). FRCP Rule 7.

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The judicial complaint nature and functions in notice code pleading regimes

The Judicial Complaint:Nature and Functions in Notice & Code Pleading Regimes

Civil Procedure 1

Professor Krieger

September 9, 2002


The essential stages of a civil lawsuit
The Essential Stages of a Civil Lawsuit

“Motion” Defined in FRCP Rule 7(b)

FRCP Rule 7

  • Pleadings: Complaint, Answer, Reply; Pleadings relating to cross-claims, counter-claims, and third party claims

  • Motions Challenging the Complaint

    • Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

    • Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

    • Insufficient Service of Process

    • Venue

    • Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted

  • Initial Case Management Process

Civil Procedure 2

FRCP Rule

26(a), (f)


The essential stages of a civil lawsuit1
The Essential Stages of a Civil Lawsuit

  • Discovery

    • Interrogatories

    • Depositions

    • Designation of Experts; Exchange of Expert Reports; Deposition of Expert Witnesses

    • Requests for Production of Documents

    • Medical Examinations

    • Entry Upon Land

    • Requests for Admissions

  • Pretrial Dispositive Motions

    • Summary Judgment

    • Judgment on the Pleadings

    • Motion to Dismiss on Subject Matter Jurisdiction Grounds


The essential stages of a civil lawsuit2
The Essential Stages of a Civil Lawsuit

  • Pretrial Management Process

    • Exchange of Witness & Exhibit Lists

    • Motions in Limine

    • Pretrial Briefs

    • Proposed Jury Instructions

  • Trial

  • Post-Trial Motions

    • Motion for J. as a Matter of Law

    • Motion for New Trial

    • Attorneys’ Fees Motions (Where Applicable)

  • Appeal

  • Entry of Judgment

  • Enforcement of Judgment


Functional analysis of the civil litigation process the complaint

Present specific, essential facts constituting the asserted claims

Clearly Identify Causes of Action

Identify/Narrow Points of Dispute

Eliminate Defective Claims Early On

Eliminate Technicalities Associated with Writ Pleading

Provide defendant with broad notice of the general nature of the dispute

Enable defendant to frame an answer or other response

Ensure case in proper court

Screen out Patently Groundless Claims

Eliminate Technicalities of Code Pleading

Functional Analysis of the Civil Litigation Process: The Complaint

Under Code Pleading

Under Notice Pleading


Sections of the complaint
Sections of the Complaint claims

  • Introductory Statement (Optional)

    • Identify Plaintiff(s) and Defendant(s)

    • Provide Sympathetic, Thumbnail Sketch of the Facts Giving Rise to the Plaintiffs Claim(s)

    • Identify Claims for Relief (In General)

    • Identify Remedies Sought


Sections of the complaint1
Sections of the Complaint claims

FRCP

Rule 8(a)

  • Jurisdiction and Venue

    • Identify bases of Federal Subject Matter Jurisdiction, If Case in Federal Court

    • If Case in State Court, Provide Basis for Superior Court Jurisdiction (i.e. amount in controversy, injunctive relief sought)

    • Identify basis for venue in the particular country or district where the case was filed.

    • Demonstrate fulfillment of any applicable prerequisites to suit


Sections of the complaint2
Sections of the Complaint claims

  • Parties

    • Identify plaintiff(s) and provide information re: citizenship (where relevant), residence (for diversity jurisdiction, where relevant), venue (where relevant), choice of law (where relevant)

    • Identify defendant(s) and provide information re: citizenship (where relevant), residence (for diversity jurisdiction where relevant), venue (where relevant), choice of law (where relevant)


Sections of the complaint parties continued
Sections of the Complaint: claims Parties, Continued

  • Provide information re: plaintiff’s statutory and/or constitutional standing (where relevant)

  • Provide facts showing that defendant is a covered entity under whatever laws provide basis for claims alleged by plaintiff.

  • Class Action Allegations (where applicable)

FRCP Rule 23


Sections of the complaint3
Sections of the Complaint claims

  • General Allegations/a.k.a. Factual Allegations

    • Used more commonly in code pleading jurisdictions than in notice pleading jurisdictions. Where omitted, facts placed in Section Entitled “First Claim for Relief” and then incorporated into subsequent sections by reference.

    • Sets out nucleus of operative facts (more detail in code pleading than notice pleading jurisdictions).

    • In strict code pleading jurisdictions, or where heightened pleading standard imposed, must include factual allegations which, if proved, would establish each essential element of each claim for relief pleaded in the complaint.

    • In notice pleading jurs., a “short and plain statement of claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” (big help…)

FRCP 9

FRCP Rule 8(a)


Sections of the complaint4
Sections of the Complaint claims

  • Claim(s) for Relief/Cause(s) of Action/Count(s)

    • Identifies the legal basis for relief

    • In code pleading jurisdictions, specifies the essential elements of each claim

    • States specific forms of injury (i.e. mental distress) and relief (i.e. punitive damages allegations) pertaining to each claim

    • Facts constituting the claim either stated or incorporated into section by reference


Sections of the complaint5
Sections of the Complaint claims

  • Injunctive Relief Allegations (where applicable)

    • No adequate remedy at law

    • Likely to succeed on the merits

    • Irreparable harm

    • Balance of hardships

    • Public Interest


Sections of the complaint6
Sections of the Complaint claims

  • Prayer/Request for Relief

    • Declaratory relief

    • Injunctive relief

    • Compensatory Damages

    • Punitive Damages (where appropriate)

    • Fees and/or costs (as appropriate)

    • “Such other and further relief” catch-all


Extracting elements of claims
Extracting Elements of Claims claims

  • What claims for relief/causes of action in Sharp?

  • What are the essential elements of these claims? Can you tell from the face of the complaint?

  • What claims for relief in Records?

  • What essential elements? Can you tell from the face of the complaint?


Extracting elements of claims1
Extracting Elements of Claims claims

  • What are the essential elements of the Section 1983 claim in Kelly v. Wyman?

  • Can you find portions of the complaint that pertain to each of these elements?


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