U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies the Limits of Twombly/lqbal
Rejecting the "punctiliously stated 'theory of pleading'" applied by the district court and the Fifth Circuit, the U.S. Supreme Court in Johnson v. City of Shelby, Mississippi, ___ S.Ct. ___, 2014 WL 5798626 (2014), held that the plaintiffs need not expressly invoke Section 1983 in order to state a claim for violations of their Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. The Court quoted FRCP 8(a)(2) and explained that "[f]ederal pleading rules call for 'a short and plain statement of the claim' . . . ." And they "do not countenance dismissal of a complaint for imperfect statement of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted."
Twombly and Iqbal were not on point because those two cases dealt with insufficient factual allegations to support a plausible claim for relief; whereas here the alleged pleading deficiency was the failure to invoke a specific statute or legal theory arising from sufficiently-stated facts. There was no dispute here that the plaintiffs had stated sufficient facts to support a Section 1983 claim. "Having informed the [defendant] of the factual basis for their complaint, [plaintiffs are] required to do no more to stave off threshold dismissal for want of an adequate statement of their claim."