Conley v. Gibson

355 U.S. 41, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957)



A complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that a plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.


Petitioner railroad workers filed a class suit against the union after 45 of them were ousted from their jobs and replaced by Caucasians, and the union failed to give them protection comparable to that given the Caucasian employees. The district court dismissed their case for lack of jurisdiction, and the lower appellate court affirmed the judgment. On review, the Court reversed the lower appellate court's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings not inconsistent with the Court's opinion.


Did the lower courts err in dismissing plaintiff's action for failure to adequately set forth a claim upon which relief could be granted?




In reversing the judgment, the Court held that the dismissal of the railroad workers' complaint for lack of jurisdiction was in error because the Board lacked power under 45 U.S.C.S. § 153 or any other provision under the Railroad Labor Act to protect them from the alleged discrimination. The Court also determined that the railroad workers' employer was not an indispensable party required to be joined because the action was not directly or indirectly against the railroad and because no relief was asked from the railroad or would bind the railroad. The railroad workers' complaint adequately set forth a claim upon which relief could be granted because there were facts which, if proven, would support the railroad workers' claims and would entitle them to their requested relief.

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