Thursday, August 11, 2016
Legal Standards -- #ThrowbackThursdayEdition
This week, the Eleventh Circuit dusted off some old case law for the legal-standards sections of two published opinions.
In the first, the court, quoting one of its decisions from 2006, set forth the standard for grants of summary judgment:
We review de novo a grant or denial of summary judgment, viewing all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Bridge Capital Inv’rs, II v. Susquehanna Radio Corp., 458 F.3d 1212, 1215 (11th Cir. 2006). “Summary judgment is appropriate only if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Hallmark Developers, Inc. v. Fulton Cty., Ga., 466 F.3d 1276, 1283 (11th Cir. 2006); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).
In 2010 the drafters of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure replaced the word “issue” with “dispute,” supposedly because it “better reflects the focus of a summary-judgment determination.” But—as seen by this decision—the word “issue” is still quite frequently used.
Regarding motions to dismiss, the Supreme Court of the United States nearly a decade ago famously wrote that that the “no set of facts” standard described in Conley v. Gibson of 1957 “ha[d] earned its retirement.” In an important securities-law decision issued yesterday by the Eleventh Circuit, however, that “no set of facts” standard came back.
Review of a district court’s decision to grant a motion to dismiss is conducted de novo. Spain v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 363 F.3d 1183, 1187 (11th Cir. 2004). In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light most favorable to plaintiff, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S. Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007), but “[l]egal conclusions without adequate factual support are entitled to no assumption of truth,” Mamani v. Berzain, 654 F.3d 1148, 1153 (11th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted). The motion is granted only when the movant demonstrates “beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45–46, 78 S. Ct. 99, 102 (1957); see also Flint v. ABB, Inc., 337 F.3d 1326, 1328–29 (11th Cir. 2003).