Writing a Complaint – Causes of Action
After we have alleged our facts in the Statement of the Case section, we allege the essential fact “elements” of our “causes of action.” And this is where we marry the controlling law of our case with the facts of our case to show the judge and/or jury how the case should be decided under the law.
A cause of action is simply the cause of your injury. But it must be actionable in your state, meaning that a law or right was violated, you were injured as a result, and your state has a remedy for your injury. If your state does not have a law that provides the relief you seek, don’t fret – there is likely relief available in the federal courts in your state.
Every complaint must have at least one recognizable cause of action – or “claim.” If it doesn’t, or you forget to allege an element of the offense, defense counsel will likely “move” the court to enter an order dismissing your complaint for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.
Some of the more common causes of action are: negligence, fraud, and breach of contract.
A more comprehensive list of causes of action – which most states recognize – includes: abuse of process; accord and satisfaction; accounting, assault; assumption of duty; battery; breach of contract; breach of fiduciary duty; conspiracy; conversion; declaratory judgment; defamation; duress; fraud; injunction; intentional infliction of emotional distress; invasion of privacy; malicious prosecution; negligence; replevin; rescission; specific performance; spoliation of evidence; tortious interference; unconscionability; undue influence; unjust enrichment; and waiver. [The elements of these causes of action will be provided in a future lesson.]
I wish there was a cause of action for breach of judiciary duty! Maybe the Alliance will invent a new one!
My cause of action is negligence. Negligence is, very simply, a failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. Negligence covers a gamut of offenses and is among the easiest to allege and prove. The elements of negligence are: 1) defendant owes plaintiff a legal duty to exercise at least reasonable care (for someone’s rights, in the performance of official duties, etc.); 2) defendant breaches his or her duty of care; and 3) plaintiff is injured as a direct result of defendant’s breach of duty. We do not have to prove that the defendant intended to harm us. If the defendant’s action, or inaction, causes injury, he or she is liable for damages.
My complaint has two causes of action because I am using the first to request quick settlement, including the default judgment and jury trial that we were entitled to in the case dismissed earlier this year.
If Minnesota’s First Judicial District Courts refuse to settle – i.e., refuse to do their duties (pronounce default judgment and schedule a jury trial to determine damages in case 40-CV-14-1149) and pay reasonable compensation to plaintiffs for the delay caused by their negligence (for their wrongful dismissal of case 14-1149) – the second cause of action will be decided by a jury.
Always remember to demand a jury trial on the first page of your complaints for damages. Our judicial branch of government is extremely corrupt, and so we will train members to pursue jury verdicts and awards in most cases.
In my second cause of action, take note of how I alleged the essential fact elements of negligence. In any cause of action, we allege only the facts that fulfill our obligation to state the elements; however, it is vitally important to fully state each element. For the first element of negligence, I provided several paragraphs to describe the legal duties that were breached; for the second element, I stated the overt act (dismissal of our complaint) that proves the breach; and for the third element, I provided specifics on how the plaintiffs were damaged.
In Lesson #8, you will learn how to “pray” for relief from a jury and finish your complaint.