Yesterday, the Second Circuit became the first U.S. court of appeals to expound on how the decision in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955 (2007), has changed pleading requirements. The court summarized:
After careful consideration of the Court’s opinion [in Twombly] and the conflicting signals from it that we have identified, we believe the Court is not requiring a universal standard of heightened fact pleading, but is instead requiring a flexible "plausibility standard," which obliges a pleader to amplify a claim with some factual allegations in those contexts where such amplification is needed to render the claim plausible.
Iqbal v. Hasty, No. 05-5768, slip op. at 33 (2d Cir. June 14, 2007) (emphasis in original). Circuit Judge Jon O. Newman wrote the court’s opinion, which Blagletter highly recommends for its style and clarity. Circuit Judge Cabranes wrote a concurring opinion.
The decision in Iqbal v. Hasty concerned civil claims against federal officials high and low for harsh confinement conditions that the government imposed on persons "of high interest" after 9/11. The plaintiff, a Muslim Pakistani, alleged constitutional and statutory violations arising from savage beatings, frequent cavity searches (not in his teeth), solitary confinement, and other brutal treatment during his detention in a Brooklyn federal prison. The Second Circuit largely sustained his claims despite the officials’ immunity defenses.