Wyatt Employment Law Report

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Supreme Court Prescribes New Pleading Requirements

By Sharon L. Gold

In a 5-4 decision decided on May 18, 2009, the Supreme Court made it tougher for employees to survive motions to dismiss in federal court.  In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009), the Court extended its Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), decision to all civil cases and specifically to discrimination cases.  In Twombly, an anti-trust case, the Court increased the pleading standard for complaints, holding that whereas before, a complaint would not be dismissed “unless it appear[ed] beyond doubt that the plaintiff c[ould] prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief[,]” after Twombly, a complaint must set forth the necessary legal elements and be supported by a set of facts making the claim plausible. 

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