In a recent New Mexico civil case the plaintiff sought to recover damages for physical injuries and post-traumatic stress allegedly resulting from an incident during which he was forcibly handcuffed by a police officer. The plaintiff’s complaint was filed in state court and included claims under state law for assault, battery and false imprisonment. Additionally the plaintiff alleged violations of his constitutional rights.
The defendants to the state court action were the State of New Mexico and a police officer. The defendants filed a notice of removal with the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, thereby removing the case out of state court and into federal court. The defendants then moved the District Court for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12.
The federal trial court began its analysis of the relief requested in the defendants’ motion by turning to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. Rule 8 requires that a complaint set out a short, plain statement of the claims showing that the pleader, here the plaintiff, is entitled to relief. The court observed that Rule 8 also directs courts to construe pleadings “so as to do justice.”