Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Iqbal in Everyday Practice

In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, No. 07-1015 (May 18, 2009), the Supreme Court ruled that the district court should have dismissed plaintiff Iqbal's claims against government officials for his arrest and conviction. Why? Because his complaint "fail[ed] to plead suffi­cient facts to state a claim for purposeful and unlawful discrimination."

You might have thought that the case would only interest those following issues of national security, terrorism, and discrimination against Muslims. But the case also has applicability for all plaintiffs who make general allegations in their complaints so they can use discovery to get the evidence they need to flesh out their cases.

Iqbal is the most significant Supreme Court decision in a decade for day-to-day litigation in the federal courts,” said Thomas C. Goldstein, an appellate lawyer with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington.
Adam Liptak, Sidebar - 9/11 Case Could Bring Broad Shift on Civil Suits - Series - NYTimes.com, July 20, 2009. Lower courts have cited Iqbal more than 500 times already!

See also:

For discussion of one of those lower court cases -- Tooley v. Napolitano, in which the DC Circuit has granted rehearing on the issue of whether to let a man's suit against Homeland Security proceed -- see Lyle Denniston, Analysis: New Obstacles to Wartime Challenges, SCOTUS Blog, July 4, 2009.

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