Anthony Gambol


The United States district courts disagree as to whether the plausibility pleading standard for claims first described by the United States Supreme Court in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly also extends to affirmative defenses pled by defendants in federal courts. The divergent opinions result from conflicting interpretations of the language of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, standards of preferred practice, and notions of fairness. This Note examines the district courts’ arguments in deciding whether the Twombly standard extends to affirmative defenses. It identifies the quiddities of the courts’ reasoning through an analysis of their decisions and, based upon this review, argues that the courts should not extend the Twombly standard to affirmative defenses. This Note shows how this conclusion adheres to the text and intention of the Federal Rules, as well as the holding and public policy considerations of Twombly itself. Moreover, it acknowledges that simple injustice would befall defendants on account of an extension of the Twombly standard.

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