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Recently the Supreme Court laid to rest the Conley standard.


Here is some background on that standard. It is in the context of this history that Conley v. Gibson, 355 U. S. 41 (1957) , must be understood. The Conley plaintiffs were black railroad workers who alleged that their union local had refused to protect them against discriminatory discharges, in violation of the National Railway Labor Act. The union sought to dismiss the complaint on the ground that its general allegations of discriminatory treatment by the defendants lacked sufficient specificity. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Black rejected the union’s claim as foreclosed by the language of Rule 8. Id., at 47-48. In the course of doing so, he articulated the formulation the Court rejects today: “In appraising the sufficiency of the complaint we follow, of course, the accepted rule that a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Id., at 45-46.


Consistent with the design of the Federal Rules, Conley’s “no set ...

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