Tag: federal rules

Drug overdose

Bias v. Advantage International, Inc. 905 F.2d 1558 (D.C. Cir. 1990)

FACTS: Leonard K. Bias died from a cocaine overdose. James Bias, Personal Representative of Leonard K. Bias’s Estate, alleged that prior to Bias’s death, the Estate instructed Advantage International, Inc. and A. Lee. Fentress to take a one million dollar insurance policy on Bias’s life. However, Fentress did not take out a life insurance policy on Bias before he died. Fentress further claims his parents did not see to purchase insurance coverage on Bias’s life.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Estate (Plaintiff) sued Advantage International, Inc. (Defendant) for breach of contract (failure to obtain insurance policy). The district court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The Estate appealed the decision.

JUDGMENT: Affirmed.

ISSUE: Whether the Defendant sufficiently demonstrated the Plaintiff lacked evidence to establish elements of their case on summary judgment.

HOLDING OF THE COURT: Plaintiff failed raise substantial doubt as to the material facts, therefore, no genuine issue of material fact exists as to the insurability of the Plaintiff.

RATIONALE: To survive summary judgment, the non-moving party must come forward with precise facts that show there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). In the Court’s view, Plaintiff did not rely on specific facts; only allegations that did not create a genuine issue for trial.

SYNTHESIS: In Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, SCOTUS stated a moving party must inform the district court of the grounds for its motion. It also said a moving party must identify parts of the record that establishes an absence of genuine issue of material fact. The Court also held a party cannot move for summary judgment with conclusory assertions that a party has no evidence to prove their case. However, in the present case, the appeals court was of the view that the Plaintiff could not show a genuine issue for trial.

Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)

Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)

FACTS: Railroad companies in Texas and New Orleans (“Railroads”) terminated several of its African American employees. Although the Railroads claimed the action it took was due to retrenchment, it hired Caucasians to fill the vacant positions. The Railroads further demoted African Americans in senior positions and, rehired them in lower positions.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: The African American employees (Petitioners) sued the Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks (Respondents) for discrimination. Respondents filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim for which could be granted. The District Court granted Respondent’s motion. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the decision. SCOTUS granted certiorari.

JUDGMENT: Reversed and remanded.

ISSUE: Whether the Federal Rules requires one to detail the facts upon which they base their claim.

HOLDING OF THE COURT: The Federal Rules only require a plaintiff to give ‘a short and plain statement of the claim, which gives the defendant fair notice and grounds for those claims.

RATIONALE: The Court examined Rule 8(f), which states ‘all pleadings shall be so construed as to do substantial justice.’ In the Court’s view, not only did the Petitioners’ complaint have a short statement, but it also gave the Respondents fair notice. The Court also reasoned that pleadings are not a ‘game of skill,’ and that mistakes in pleadings cannot determine the merits of a case.

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