Villanova Law Review


Henry S. Noyes

First Page



SINCE 1938, Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Federal Rules or Rules) has set the standard for how much a plaintiff must allege at the outset of a lawsuit in order to avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim. Rule 8 requires that a plaintiff must include in the complaint "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Federal courts developed a well-settled set of principles to apply when deciding whether to dismiss a claim. Among these principles are the following: (1) the plaintiffs factual allegations are accepted as true;(2) the court must construe the complaint liberally (in favor of the plaintiff) and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff;(3) the court may not consider matters or information beyond what is stated on the face of the complaint, judicially noticed facts, and any attachments to the complaint;(4) the complaint must provide notice to the defendant of the plaintiffs claims and the grounds on which they rest;and (5) the court should not dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that it is impossible for the plaintiff to prove some set of facts in support of his or her claim which would entitle him or her to relief. These principles can be summarized as: the court must accept the vision of the world described in the plaintiffs complaint and it must view the events that transpired in that world as the plaintiff would view them. This concept is consistent with the adversarial litigation process we have adopted in the United States. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Villanova Law Review is the property of Villanova University School of Law and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)