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SCOTUS Decision A Blow to Plaintiffs | cialis online

SCOTUS Decision A Blow to Plaintiffs

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With little notice, the Supreme Court effectively robbed many plaintiffs in civil lawsuits of their day in court when it issued a ruling this past May in a case called Ashcroft vs. Iqbal.

Already, Iqbal is having a huge impact on lawsuits in this country.  According to The New York Times, lower courts have cited it 500 times since the decision was published in May. Lawsuit involving everything from employment discrimination to securities fraud  have been dismissed before they even got off the ground. Sadly, under Iqbal, it seems clear that many plaintiffs with legitimate grievances won’t ever have a chance to be heard.

In a 5 to 4 decision, the high court overturned a ruling that the plaintiff, who was imprisoned for more than a year on immigration  charges after the 9/11 attacks, could  proceed with his lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller.  But according according to  New York Times,  what was little noticed is that  Ashcroft vs. Iqbal has made it far easier – in fact, too easy – for  federal judges to dismiss civil lawsuits long before plaintiffs even have a chance to be heard.   Prior to this case, in order to o dismiss a suit a federal judge had to determine “beyond doubt” that a plaintiff had no case.  That standard was established by the high court in 1957.

The old standards served plaintiffs well, because in most cases, the facts surrounding an act of wrongdoing – whether it involves employment discrimination, defective products or fraud – are closely guarded by  defendants.   But under the old standards, plaintiffs filing a bare-bones complaint were able to examine a defendant’s records, and question key individuals.  Through this discovery process, the true facts about an act of wrongdoing on the part of a defendant could be laid bare.

According to The New York Times, the Iqbar decision instructs lower court judges to dismiss lawsuits that “strike them as implausible.  Stephen B. Burbank of the University of Pennsylvania Law School told the Times that the Iqbal decision is “a blank check for federal judges to get rid of cases they disfavor.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who dissented from the majority opinion,  has characterized Iqbal as important and dangerous, The New York Times said.  Speaking to a group of federal judges last month, Justice Ginsburg said Iqbal “messed up the federal rules” governing civil litigation.

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