“Federal judge scolds BigLaw lawyers for ‘behemoth pleadings’ and ‘prolixity'”

“A federal judge in Manhattan is ordering lawyers in a United Parcel Service lawsuit to file new pleadings that are short and plain, in keeping with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. … UPS ‘launched its relatively straightforward claims with a sprawling 175-paragraph complaint, larded with more than 1,400 pages of exhibits,’ [U.S. District Judge William Pauley III] wrote. Lawyers for former franchisees responded with a 210-page answer with counterclaims and ‘voluminous exhibits,’ later expanded in an amended answer to a ‘breathtaking’ 303 pages that ‘brims with irrelevant and redundant allegations,’ Pauley said.” [ABA Journal]


  • Well if you have a ‘behemoth pleading,’ then one cannot run afoul of Twombly/Iqbal.

    The federal courts and defense attorneys have been using these decisions to dismiss otherwise worthy cases.

    As they say, better safe than sorry.

  • You generally don’t need volume to state the allegations required under Twombly/Iqbal. You just need to actually identify some wrongful conduct and state what that conduct was and the defendant’s connection to that wrongful conduct. But then I may be jaded from representing a local public entity. I see many cases where the claimed harm is set out in great detail, but the factual allegations related to liability can be summed up as “the defendants should have done some unspecified thing so that the harm didn’t happen” or “the defendant didn’t do some unspecified thing that would have stopped the harm from happening.”

  • It seems to me, Richard, that the plaintiffs (et al.) do this grasping maneuver because it works often enough to be worthwhile. Judges could make it painful enough to curb this behavior, but they don’t. Everyone involved, including the judges suffer from this acquiescence, just like a parent and everyone else suffer from an undisciplined child. It will save time in the long run, but it requires fortitude now.

    For those more directly involved, feel free to correct my misperceptions.