The Law School Authority

Dioguardi v. Durning Case Brief

Summary of Dioguardi v. Durning
139 F.2d 774 (1944).

Facts:  P claimed that D improperly handled his imported goods and sold them at an action.  P brought an action for conversion against D.  P drafted his own complaint and D filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action.

Procedure:  District court dismissed P’s complaint.

Issue:  Does a P have to describe in detail all causes of action in the complaint for the complaint to be sufficient?

Holding: No

Rationale:  Federal Rules of Civil Procedure follow the notice pleading standard.  A complaint need only put the court and the defendant on notice of the causes of action.  For proper notice, a complaint only need to present a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.  Therefore, the district court erred by granting D’s motion.

Note:  Filing of a complaint commences the action.  Complaints in federal courts usually require: (1) statement of subject matter jurisdiction; (2) short and plain statement of the claim, showing P entitled to relief; (3) demand for judgment.

**Special matters (e.g. fraud, mistake or special damages) must be pleaded with more specificity.

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