Friday, October 14, 2005

Third Circuit Rejects Heightened Pleading (Again)

In Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347 (3d Cir. Sep. 12, 2005), a special panel of the Third Circuit (all three judges were sitting by designation because all the judges on the Third Circuit were recused) rejected a district court's attempt to impose pre-1993, pre-Leatherman, heightened pleading requirements on a Section 1983 plaintiff. This was consistent with the Third Circuit's position announced in Abbott v. Latshaw, 164 F.3d 141 (3d Cir.1998) that the liberal notice pleading standard of Rule 8(a) applies to civil rights actions. However, the court here found that the plaintiff's complaint failed to satisfy even Rule 8's lesser standard because the complaint seemingly relied on a respondeat superior theory of liability, which is inadequate in the Third Circuit where personal involvement in the alleged wrongdoing must be proved.


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