Fact Pleading After Ashcroft v. Iqbal: The Implications for Section 1 Cartel Cases by John M. Landry


Last term, the Supreme Court, in Ashcroft v. Iqbal,1 offered guidance on upholding the pleading principles underlying the Court’s earlier Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly 2 decision. The Court proposed that, in examining a complaint on a motion to dismiss, district courts first distinguish allegations that are statements of fact from those that are conclusions of law, and then consider only the statements of fact in determining whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2). The categorization and, in effect, per se condemnation of legal conclusions in a Rule 8(a)(2) analysis—something Twombly only hinted at—marks a return to fact pleading, a practice that prevailed before the 1938 adoption of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This has implications for all cases, and in particular, antitrust cartel cases.

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