Friday, July 22, 2011

Tennessee Supreme Court Declines to Adopt “Plausibility” Pleading Standard

            Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Tennessee refused to adopt Twombly and Iqbal for Tennessee state court pleading, and upheld an amended complaint for retaliatory discharge against a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.  Webb v. Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity, Inc., 2011 WL 2905584 (Tenn. No. M2009-01552, July 21, 2011).    

            After reviewing much of the law review literature on Twombly and Iqbal, the court concluded:

In summary, it must be remembered that we are addressing the standard in assessing the sufficiency of a single document filed at the very beginning of a case—the complaint. Our motion-to-dismiss jurisprudence reflects the principle that this stage of the proceedings is particularly ill-suited for an evaluation of the likelihood of success on the merits or of the weight of the facts pleaded, or as a docket-clearing mechanism. Rule 8.01 has not been amended and still only requires “(1) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and (2) a demand for judgment for the relief the pleader seeks.” We decline to reinterpret Rule 8 to require a pleader to demonstrate “plausibility” and continue to adhere to the well established standards set forth in section 1 of this opinion [which cited Tennessee’s policy of “liberal notice pleading” and its adherence to the “no set of facts” standard].


Recent Decisions, Twombly/Iqbal | Permalink


Is this the first time a state high court has explicitly rejected Twombly and Iqbal's heightened pleading standards?

Posted by: Brad Pollina | Jul 23, 2011 1:34:59 PM

It's not the first time. Washington did it about a year ago:

Posted by: Adam Steinman | Jul 26, 2011 12:51:29 PM

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