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Motions to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim after Iqbal: Report to the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules


Joe S. Cecil


Federal Judicial Center

George W. Cort


Government of the United States of America - Federal Judicial Center

Margaret S. Williams


Visiting Scholar

Jared J. Bataillon


Government of the United States of America - Federal Judicial Center

March 28, 2011


Abstract:     
This report presents the findings of a Federal Judicial Center study on the filing and resolution of motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The study was requested by the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. The study compared motion activity in 23 federal district courts in 2006 and 2010 and included an assessment of the outcome of motions in orders that do not appear in the computerized legal reference systems such as Westlaw. Statistical models were used to control for such factors as differences in levels of motion activity in individual federal district courts and types of cases.

After excluding cases filed by prisoners and pro se parties, and after controlling for differences in motion activity across federal district courts and across types of cases and for the presence of an amended complaint, we found the following: There was a general increase from 2006 to 2010 in the rate of filing of motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim (see infra section III.A); In general, there was no increase in the rate of grants of motions to dismiss without leave to amend. There was, in particular, no increase in the rate of grants of motions to dismiss without leave to amend in civil rights cases and employment discrimination cases (see infra section III.B.1); Only in cases challenging mortgage loans on both federal and state law grounds did we find an increase in the rate of grants of motions to dismiss without leave to amend. Many of these cases were removed from state to federal court. This category of cases tripled in number during the relevant period in response to events in the housing market (see infra section III.B.1). There is no reason to believe that the rate of dismissals without leave to amend would have been lower in 2006 had such cases existed then; There was no increase from 2006 to 2010 in the rate at which a grant of a motion to dismiss terminated the case (see infra section III.B.1).

Number of Pages in PDF File: 52

Keywords: Twombly, Iqbal, motion to dismiss, 12(b)(6), Federal Judicial Center, civil procedure

JEL Classification: K19, K40, K41

working papers series


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Date posted: July 5, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Cecil, Joe S. and Cort, George W. and Williams, Margaret S. and Bataillon, Jared J., Motions to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim after Iqbal: Report to the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules (March 28, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1878646 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1878646

Contact Information

Joe S. Cecil (Contact Author)
Federal Judicial Center ( email )
Washington, DC 20002
United States
George W. Cort
Government of the United States of America - Federal Judicial Center ( email )
Washington, DC 20002
United States
Margaret S. Williams
Visiting Scholar ( email )
131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
Jared J. Bataillon
Government of the United States of America - Federal Judicial Center ( email )
Washington, DC 20002
United States
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