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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sheppard v. David Evans: Ninth Circuit Holds That Age Discrimination Complaint Satisfies FRCP 8 Pleading Standards

In Sheppard v. David Evans and Associates, ---F.3d --- (9/12/12), the plaintiff filed suit for violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and wrongful termination in violation of Oregon law. The district court dismissed the action under FRCP 8(a)(2), finding that the plaintiff failed to plead her causes of action with sufficient factual detail to state a claim.

The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the plaintiff satisfied the Rule 8(a)(2) requirement that the complaint be supported by “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Slip op. at 11172, citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (a “complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”)

As to the ADEA claim, the Court held that the plaintiff alleged a plausible prima facie case of age discrimination by alleging that: (1) she was at least forty years old; (2) “her performance was satisfactory or better” and that “she received consistently good performance reviews”; (3) she was discharged; and (4) her five younger comparators kept their jobs. Slip op. at 11175. This was sufficient to give rise to an inference of age discrimination. Id. at 11175-11176.

The opinion is available here.  

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