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FEDERAL DECISIONS  SUPPORTING PRO-SE LITIGANTS

 

If you are a pro-se litigant facing a motion to dismiss or some other ruling because of a technicality or because of some real or imagined  flaw allegedly found in your complaint, you are not without hope.

There are at loeast these four federal decisions which offer you considerable protection. In your opposition to such motions, you may do well to cite these cases:

Picking v. Pennsylvania Railway , (151 F2d. 240) Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In Picking , the plaintiffs civil rights was 150 pages and described by a federal judge as "inept." Nevertheless, it was held:

Where a plaintiff pleads pro-se in a suit for protection of civil rights, the court should endeavor to construe plaintiffs pleading without regard to technicalities.

In Walter Process Equipment v. Food Machinery 382 U.S. 172 (1965) it was held that in a "motion to dismiss, the material allegations of the complaint are taken as admitied." From this vantage point, courts are reluctant to dismiss complaints unless it appears the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief (see Conlev vs. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41(1957).

In Puckett v. Cox , it was held that a pro-se complaint requires a less stringent reading than one drafted by a lawyer (456 F2d 233 (1972 Sixth Circuit USCA) said Justice Black in Conley v. Gibson . 355 U.S. 41 at 48(1957) "The Federal Rules rejects the approach that pleading is a game of skill in which one misstep by counsel may be decisive to the outcome and accept the principle that the purpose of pleading is to facilitate a proper decision on the merits." According to rule 8(f) FRCP all pleadings shall be construed to do substantial justice."

The Court also cited Rule 8(f) FRCP, which holds that all pleadings shall be construed to do substantial justice.

It could also be argued that to dismiss a civil rights action or other lawsuit in which a serious factual pattern or allegation of a cause of action has been made would itself be violative of procedural due process as it would deprive a pro-se litigant of equal protection of the law visa vis a party who is represented by counsel.

In a fair system, victory should go to a party who has the better case, not the better representation.

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