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Civil Procedure Fall 2014

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Civil Forms 11 and 15.

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The Role of the FRCP Forms

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In 1958, Judge Charles Clark, an important drafter of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the author of Dioguardi v. Durning, 139 F.2d 774 (2d Cir. 1944), provided an overview of pleading requirements under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. As he stated: “What we require is a general statement of the case . . . . We require a general statement. How much? Well, the answer is made in what I think is probably the most important part of the rules so far as this particular topic is concerned, namely, the Forms. These are important because when you can’t define you can at least draw pictures to show your meaning.” Charles Clark, Pleading Under the Federal Rules, 12 Wyo. L.J. 177, 181 (1958).  Indeed, as Justice Black wrote in Conley, these forms "plainly demonstrate" the notice pleading regime envisioned by the Federal Rules. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957).

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Forms 11 and 15 are below. Downloadable copies of the forms are also available here.  Consider how these forms help to clarify Judge Clark's statement that all the Federal Rules require at the pleading stage is a "general statement of the case."

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Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Form 11.

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COMPLAINT FOR NEGLIGENCE

1.    <Statement of Jurisdiction.  See Form 7.>
    <a.  For diversity-of-citizenship jurisdiction.>   The plaintiff is [a citizen of State A] [a corporation incorporated under the laws of State A with its principal place of business in State A].  The defendant is [a citizen of State B] [a corporation incorporated under the laws of State B with its principal place of business in State B].  The amount in controversy, without interest and costs, exceeds the sum or value specified by 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
    <b.  For federal-question jurisdiction.>  This action arises under [the United States Constitution; specify the article or amendment and the section] [a United States treaty; specify] [a federal statute, ___U.S.C. § ___].
    <c.  For a claim in the admiralty or maritime jurisdiction.>  This is a case of admiralty or maritime jurisdiction.  <To invoke admiralty status under Rule 9(h) use the following:  This is an admiralty or maritime claim within the meaning of Rule 9(h).>

2.    On <Date>, at <Place>, the defendant negligently drove a motor vehicle against the plaintiff.

3.    As a result, the plaintiff was physically injured, lost wages or income, suffered physical and mental pain, and incurred medical expenses of $ <_____> .

    Therefore, the plaintiff demands judgment against the defendant for $ <_____> , plus costs.

Date:  <Date>
<Signature of the attorney or unrepresented party>

________________________________________
<Printed name>
<Address>
<E-mail address>
<Telephone number>

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Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Form 15.

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COMPLAINT FOR THE CONVERSION OF PROPERTY

1.    <Statement of Jurisdiction.  See Form 7.>
[Eds. See Form 11, supra.]

2.    On <Date>, at <Place>, the defendant converted to the defendant's own use property owned by the plaintiff.  The property converted consists of <Describe property>.

3.    The property is worth $ <______> .

    Therefore, the plaintiff demands judgment against the defendant for  $ <_____>, plus costs.


Date:  <Date>
<Signature of the attorney or unrepresented party>

________________________________________
<Printed name>
<Address>
<E-mail address>
<Telephone number>