Bell v. Novick Transfer Co.

17 F.R.D. 279, 1955 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4019

United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Central Division
ISSUE:

Did plaintiffs’ declaration sufficiently state a claim for relief against defendants?

ANSWER:

Yes. Although the declaration might not be sufficient under Maryland practice, it met the requirements, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8, of a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.

RULE:

LexisNexis Headnote 1: Complaints, Requirements for Complaint Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.

FACTS:

Plaintiffs filed a tort action against defendants. Plaintiffs’ declaration alleged that while plaintiff infant was riding in an automobile on certain public highways, the automobile was run into and struck by the tractor-trailer truck owned by defendants and operated by their agent, servant, or employee in a careless, reckless, and negligent manner so that the infant was injured. The declaration also alleged the injuries and damages, and that they were the direct result of the negligence on the part of defendants, without any negligence on the part of plaintiffs contributing thereto.

RATIONALE:

Defendants were not entitled to a more definite statement of the facts supporting plaintiffs' tort claims arising from an automobile accident involving a truck owned and operated by defendants. Defendants could obtain such information in discovery. Defendants could obtain by interrogatories or other discovery procedure the facts upon which plaintiffs based their allegations that the truck was being operated in a careless, reckless, and negligent manner. If a party needs further information to prepare his defense, the better rule of law is that such information should be obtained by interrogatories under Fed. R. Civ. P. 33, or other discovery procedure, unless it is really necessary to enable the party to frame his responsive pleading.

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