Dioguardi v. Durning case brief Case Citation: 139 F.2d 774 (1944)
- The plaintiff attempted to assert various grievances against a customs collector in a New York port based on his attempts to import bottles of tonic from Italy.
- The plaintiff claims that, on October 9th, 1940, the defendant sold the plaintiff's merchandise at public custom, and sold it to a different bidder with plaintiff's price of $110.00 and not the price of the defendant's, which was $120.00.
- The plaintiff also claimed that three weeks before the sale, 2 cases of bottles (each of which had 19 bottles in it) had disappeared.
- The plaintiff does not clearly state how the goods came into the hands of the collector.
- The plaintiff also alleges that he complied with revenue laws, however, he does not say that he made a claim for a refund of the merchandise and his claim was denied by the collector.
- Lastly, the plaintiff claimed $500.00 in damages (with interests and costs) against the defendant.
- The District Court dismissed the claim with leave for the plaintiff to amend it. The court stated that the claim "fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action."
- The Plaintiff filed amended complaint.
- The complaint alleged a heightened conviction of being unjustly treated.
- The complaint made very little sense, containing phrases such as ”Medicinal extracts” given to the Springdale distilling company “with my betting price of $100: and not the price of $120,” and “it isn’t so easy to do away with two cases with 37 bottles in one quart. Being protected, they can take this chance.”
- The plaintiff suggests that the defendant explained the loss saying that the bottles had leaked “which could never be true in the manner they were bottled.”
- The defendant makes a motion to dismiss the claim.
- The court makes a final judgement dismissing the complaint and it comes to United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Did the plaintiff's complaint allege a cognizable claim?
-Yes, although” inartistically stated," the court states that the plaintiff has disclosed his claims.
The court states “[h]ere is another instance of judicial haste which in the long run makes waste.”
- Under the new rules of civil procedure, there is no pleading requirement of stating “facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action,” but instead there only needs to be “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” Rule 8(a).
- The motion for dismissal under Rule 12(b) is for failure to state “a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
- The court states that this is another example of judicial haste which in the end makes waste.
- The defendant did not need to move on the complaint by itself. He could have instead disclosed the facts from his own point of view. He could have done this in advance of a trial if he so chose by asking for a pretrial hearing or by moving for summary judgment with affidavits in support of a summary judgment motion.
- The court did not see any reason for depriving the plaintiff of his day in court.
- The court pointed out that the plaintiff had a limited ability to comprehend English, and states that it would be difficult for the District Court to arrive at justice unless the plaintiff consents to receiving legal assistance in presenting his case. The plaintiff, however declined such assistance, but the court states that it is his privilege to accept or decline such assistance.
The judgement of the lower court was reversed and the case was remanded for further proceedings "not inconsistent with this opinion."