- Introduction - Civil Procedure: Pleading The Plaintiff's Complaint
Chapter One - Rule 8. General Rules of Pleading
- Chapter Two - Rule 9. Pleading Special Matters
- Chapter Three - Rule 10. Form of Pleadings
Chapter Four - Complaint 1
- Chapter Five - Complaint 2
Hillel Y. Levin
CALI eLangdell® Press 2011
This chapter covers the Civil Procedure topic of Pleading: The Plaintiff’s Complaint. The chapter takes approximately four class periods to cover in detail. The student is exposed to cases, presented with questions that are designed to both guide class discussion and to help the student focus his reading of the materials, pleadings from cases, and the applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Goals of the Section.
By the end of this section, you should: understand what a plaintiff must include in a complaint; understand how the relevant standards have changed over time; be able to articulate what interests are being balanced and vindicated by the Rules and the judicial opinions that interpret and apply them; be able to critique the doctrine; be able to apply the doctrine in run-of-the-mill cases as a lawyer would; have a better understanding of the job of the lawyer through your experience drafting and reviewing litigation documents.
A court case begins with the plaintiff filing a complaint and serving the defendant. The material in this section focuses on the law that governs the contents of the plaintiff’s complaint. (For the rules concerning service, see Rule 4.) This has been one of the most dynamic and controversial areas in all of civil procedure in recent years. Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a plaintiff’s complaint must include the following:
(a) Claims for Relief.
A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:
- a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
- a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and
- a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.
However, Rule 9(b) provides that in some specific cases, the plaintiff must also include additional information: