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On May 21, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. ___ (2007), announcing the “retirement” of the long-standing standard for dismissal of complaints articulated in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957) – i.e., the standard that complaints should not be dismissed “unless it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.”

Bell Atlantic represents a sea change in “notice pleading” standards. As one law professor recently observed:

The question, though, is what that change will look like. What does Bell Atlantic really mean? Clearly, Conley‘s “no set of facts” language is dead, at least as to the meaning that was customarily ascribed to it. And, at least for the kinds of costly class action antitrust cases like the one initiated by Twombly, Bell Atlantic erects an additional “plausibility” requirement of fact pleading in its place, what I have called “notice-plus.”

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