Friday, December 6, 2013

Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, N.A. case brief

Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, N.A. case brief summary
534 U.S. 506 (2002)

The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari to review a judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff employee's employment discrimination action against defendant employer because the employee's complaint did not allege facts constituting a prima facie case of discrimination under the burden shifting framework of McDonnell Douglas.


  • The United States Supreme Court found that it was incongruous to require a plaintiff, in order to survive a motion to dismiss, to plead more facts than he might ultimately need to prove to succeed on the merits if direct evidence of discrimination was discovered. 
  • The prima facie case under McDonnell Douglas was an evidentiary standard, not a pleading requirement. 
  • The complaint satisfied the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a) because it gave the employer fair notice of the basis for the claims. 
  • The employee alleged that he was terminated on account of his national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000e et seq., and on account of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C.S. § 621 et seq. 
  • His complaint detailed the events leading to his termination, provided relevant dates, and included the ages and nationalities of at least some of the relevant persons involved with his termination. 
  • The allegations stated claims upon which relief could be granted.

The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit was reversed.

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