Twombly and Iqbal at the State Level

46 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2017

See all articles by Roger Michalski

Roger Michalski

University of Oklahoma - College of Law

Abby K. Wood

University of Southern California Gould School of Law

Date Written: June 2017

Abstract

This article contributes to the empirical literature on pleading standards by studying the effect of Twombly and Iqbal at the state level. States account for the majority of civil litigation, yet they are understudied doctrinally and empirically. When we consider pleading at the state level, we can leverage differences across space and time in a way that is impossible with studies of federal courts. Using an array of principled empirical approaches on the best available data, we find no evidence that raising pleading standards affected plaintiff behavior. We observe no decrease in filings and no significant change in complaint length, number of claims, or number of amended complaints. For defense strategy and judicial responses, we find no increase in motions to dismiss and no increase in the grant rate on motions to dismiss, though these findings are more tentative, given data limitations. We conduct our analysis by comparing Nebraska, a state that raised its pleading standards, with as many as 12 comparison states, none of which raised their pleading standards over the years 2006–2013.

Suggested Citation

Michalski, Roger and Wood, Abby K., Twombly and Iqbal at the State Level (June 2017). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 14, Issue 2, pp. 424-469, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2959109 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12152

Roger Michalski (Contact Author)

University of Oklahoma - College of Law ( email )

300 Timberdell Road
Norman, OK 73019
United States

Abby K. Wood

University of Southern California Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

HOME PAGE: http://weblaw.usc.edu/contact/contactInfo.cfm?detailID=71046

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