Tennessee Supreme Court Rejects Federal Plausibility Pleading Standard


On July 21, 2011, the Tennessee Supreme Court found that lawsuits filed in state court are not subject to heightened pleading requirements applicable to cases filed in federal court.


Under state and federal rules of civil procedures, complaints must contain a concise statement for relief and generally allege facts supporting each claim for relief. A defendant may file a “Rule 12 motion,” seeking to dismiss a complaint that is deficient. Until 2007, state and federal courts applied essentially the same standard for considering whether a complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted. Under the lenient standard articulated in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957), a complaint was not subject to dismissal unless, construing all allegations in the complaint as true, it appeared beyond doubt that the plaintiff could prove no set of facts in support of its claim which would entitle it to relief. Conley’s “no set of facts” standard had been the focal point of both state and federal pleading doctrine for many years.

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