Gillispie v. Goodyear Service Stores

258 N.C. 487



A complaint must contain a plain and concise statement of the facts constituting a cause of action.


Plaintiff Gillispie alleged that Goodyear Service Stores was negligent by trespassing onto her property and confining her against her will and for generally causing her injuries. The complaint stated no facts upon which these legal conclusions may be predicated. Plaintiff's allegations did not disclose what occurred, when it occurred, where it occurred, who did what, the relationships between defendants and plaintiff or of defendants inter se, or any other factual data that might identify the occasion or describe the circumstances of the alleged wrongful conduct of defendants. The trial court granted demurrers on all claims for failing to state a cause of action. An appeal followed.


Were the demurrers appropriately granted by the trial court?




The cardinal requirement of this statute is that the facts constituting a cause of action, rather than the conclusions of the pleader, must be set out in the complaint, so as to disclose the issuable facts determinative of the plaintiff's right to relief. The cause of action consists of the facts alleged. The statutory requirement is that a complaint must allege the material, essential and ultimate facts upon which plaintiff's right of action is based. The law is presumed to be known, but the facts to which the law is to be applied are not known until properly presented by the pleading and established by evidence.

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