An Information-Forcing Approach to the Motion to Dismiss
30 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2012
Date Written: November 15, 2012
This article proposes a new approach to the 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. The idea works as follows. Defendant moves to dismiss exactly as under current practice. Plaintiff either responds to the motion, thus submitting the matter for decision, or files an affidavit proposing a plan of targeted discovery. After receiving defendant’s response, the court approves, rejects, or revises the proposed discovery plan. If the judge allows discovery, defendant either withdraws the motion or produces the information. If defendant withdraws the motion, the litigation proceeds in the usual way. If defendant continues the motion the parties engage in targeted discovery. The court then reviews the motion taking account of information which either party brings to the court’s attention, including information produced in discovery. If the court grants the motion, the case is dismissed and plaintiff pays defendant’s reasonable fees and costs associated with the motion and associated discovery. If the court denies the motion, the case continues and defendant pays plaintiff’s reasonable fees and costs. Our proposal would incentivize both parties to reveal information pertinent to the court’s decision. It promises to improve the operation of the motion to dismiss regardless of the substantive standard used to evaluate the sufficiency of the claims for relief.
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