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?
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.