Law professors teaching Civil Procedure this fall may have reason to revise their lecture notes covering the pleading standard in federal courts for the first time in a long time. This pleading standard, as articulated in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) Rule 8(a), has presented a very low hurdle for plaintiffs since the Supreme Court addressed the issue in Conley v. Gibson in 1957. That is, perhaps, until Ashcroft v. Iqbal , a Supreme Court detainee case decided this spring that may end up significantly heightening the pleading standard for federal civil courts.
Depending on where you look, you can find members of the legal community making different predictions of where the courts will land on Iqbal. Some are dismissing the significance of the case, and others are declaring it a major obstacle for plaintiffs and a coup for corporate defense.