Heightened Pleading Standards Under Twombly and Iqbal

Full Report

Jonah B. Gelbach, Associate Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School

There is general agreement that the Supreme Court’s decisions in Twombly and Iqbal modified the pleading standard established over 50 years ago in Conley v. Gibson. However, there is significant disagreement among practitioners and academics as to both the magnitude and the nature of the impact of the new standard. Advocates of heightened pleading contend that the change will reduce the frequency of frivolous lawsuits while narrowing the scope and lowering the costs of discovery. Opponents of heightened pleading argue that it will reduce or eliminate access to the legal system for both low-quality and meritorious cases alike.

The Searle Civil Justice Institute empirically examinines the impact of this heightened pleading standard. The report will collected and analyzed data from a large sample of cases in order to develop an understanding of the impact of heightened pleading on the quality of cases that reach discovery.

The Searle Civil Justice Institute research initiative on Measuring the Effects of a Heightened Pleading Standard Under Twombly and Iqbal produced a comprehensive, peer-reviewed Policy Report in 2012. The principal investigator of this project was: