Background on: Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly

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Jan 01, 2007

Issue: In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, the issue before the Supreme Court was whether a complaint states a claim under  1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C.  1, when it alleges that defendants engaged in parallel conduct, and also makes a bare allegation of conspiracy, without alleging facts which, if proved true, would constitute a conspiracy under law. Essentially, the court was asked to decide if parallel conduct, coupled with a bare allegation of conspiracy, would be enough to defeat a defendant’s motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).

Factual and Procedural Background: Plaintiffs initially brought suit alleging that the defendants had conspired to not compete with each other, and to prevent entry from new competitors, in specific geographic markets for telephone and internet services. In support of their complaint the plaintiffs had alleged that the defendants engaged in “parallel conduct,” which they argued “would be anomalous in the absence of an agreement not to compete.” In the district court decision below, the court had held that the plaintiffs failed to allege facts sufficient to constitute a conspiracy, and that the allegations of parallel conduct alone would not support a claim for conspiracy under  1 of the Sherman Act. The District Court noted that “allowing simple allegations of parallel conduct to entitle plaintiffs to disc

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