Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 requires a short and plain statement of the claim which is simple, concise and direct. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(e). Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b) must be harmonized with the notice pleading mandate of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8. Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b) does not require nor make legitimate the pleading of detailed evidentiary matter. Since fraud embraces a wide variety of potential misconduct, Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b) requires slightly more notice than would be forthcoming under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8. But the requirement of Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b) is met when there is sufficient identification of the circumstances constituting fraud so that the defendant can prepare an adequate answer to the allegations.
Plaintiff investor brought an action on behalf of himself and other purchasers of the defendant bank holding company's securities, alleging that defendants conspired to conceal the bank holding company's financial condition by issuing fraudulent statements. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b) and a motion for a more definite statement. The court denied the motion, finding that the complaint fairly apprised defendants of the investor's claim such that defendants were able to answer.
Did plaintiffs state a claim supported by substantial evidence upon which relief can be granted?
The court held that the allegations against the accounting firm as co-conspirator were also sufficiently pled. The court dismissed defendants' argument thatFed. R. Civ. P. 9(b) required the investor to identify each allegedly fraudulent document and delineate the role each defendant played in its preparation because such a requirement would result in a prolixity discouraged by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Finally, the court held that the complaint complied with Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(b); the investor was not required to set forth the charges in separate paragraphs because the claims and allegations in the complaint were part of one cause of action.