Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Judge Leeson of Eastern District Court Provides Lessons in Complaint Drafting

In the case of Carson v. Tucker, No. 5:20-CV-00399 (E.D. Pa. April 23, 2020 Leeson, J.), Judge Joseph Leeson provided lessons in Complaint drafting in his decision in which he granted a Motion for a More Definite Statement in a Complaint and also granted a Partial Motion to Dismiss in a tractor trailer accident case. 

Judge Leeson noted that vague and sweeping allegations of negligence that “include but are not limited to” multiple theories, must be made more specific. 

The court also noted that allegations with respect to “negligence that may be ascertained during discovery” must also be made more specific. Specific acts and supporting facts must be alleged in any negligence claim to pass muster.

The court additionally ruled that references by the Plaintiff to violations of unspecified statutes, ordinances, and rules must be made more specific. Judge Leeson held that allegations that a Defendant violated the law, without more, does not support a claim for punitive damages. 

Given that the court dismissed the punitive damages claims for failing to properly plead the same, other conclusory adjectives contained in the Complaint such as “gross,” “wanton,” and “reckless” were stricken.  
Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  The companion Order of the Court can be viewed HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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