Last fall I wrote about the new standard for pleading in federal court announced in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). Now, a new article by Andrée Sophia Blumstein appearing in the July 2008 edition of the Tennessee Bar Journal studies Twombly in more detail and comments on the decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937; 2009 U.S. Lexis 3472 (May 18, 2009), a recent decision that sheds more light on Twombly.
Andrée explains that in Twombly the United States Supreme Court held that
to survive a motion to dismiss a complaint must contain ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible’ and must suggest a ‘right to relief above a speculative level.’ ‘Labels and conclusions,’naked assertion[s]’ without ‘ further factual enhancement,’ or ‘a formulaic recitation’ of the elements of a cause of action will not survive a motion to dismiss.
She goes on to explain the impact of Iqbal on the way plaintiffs must draft a complaint:
Iqbal removes all doubt as to the applicability of the Twombly pleading standard: it applies in all federal civil cases. Courts, such as the Sixth Circuit, that have inclined towards limiting Twombly to expensive, complex cases involving massive discovery can no longer do so.
You might being saying to yourself, "those decisions mean nothing to me. I practice in state court." Well, one Tennessee appellate court "has already given Twombly a most favorable nod, finding it ‘consistent with Tennessee law and therefore recogniz[ing] its applicability.‘" Hermosa Holdings Inc. v. Mid-Tennessee Bone and Joint Clinic P.C., Tenn. Ct. App. No. M2008-00597-COA-R3-CV (March 16, 2009).
I encourage you to read Andrée’s article to learn more about this important issue.