A few posts back, we talked about the Supreme Court of Virginia’s Fultz case, and discussed the relative evolution of state and federal pleading standards. Mack Sperling wrote in to note a recent case, Holleman v. Aiken, in which the North Carolina Court of Appeals declined to follow Twomblystating that it lacked authority to adopt a new standard of review for motions to dismiss.

Mack’s post on the topic is here. It’s worth checking out for a number of reasons:

  • The case itself is spectacular. It involves, among many other things, defamation claims brought against one Clayton Holmes Aiken for his failure to endorse and promote an unauthorized biography, Out of the Blue…Clay it Forward–How One Man & His Fans Are Changing the World. The relief sought included an injunction that Aiken help sell the plaintiff’s book. As it turns out, North Carolina courts “cannot be used to force celebrities or their family and friends into making endorsements for another person’s profit.”
  • Apparently, the plaintiff argued that the court should apply Twombly‘s plausibility standard, rather than existing (and presumably more lenient) North Carolina law that approximates Conley‘s “no set of facts” language. The Court of Appeals declined to do so, because another panel of the court had already decided the issue of the proper standard of review for a motion to dismiss.
  • While it’s a little off-topic, a North Carolina appellate decision declining to apply Twombly in the state court context is still persuasive authority over here.
  • Finally, Holleman shows what we’re missing out on by not having an intermediate appellate court of general jurisdiction.