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Ellis v. Bradley County, Tenn.

Close Date: 03/23/2009
Status: closed
Docket: 08-814

Description:

Pleading Requirements: Identity of Employer

David Ellis brought suit for violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act against Bradley County, for whom Ellis ostensibly worked and from whom Ellis received paychecks and benefits. The district court dismissed the suit for failure to state a claim based on the County's assertion that the State, not the County, was Ellis's employer, and the Sixth Circuit affirmed. The questions presented are:

  1. Whether the court of appeals incorrectly affirmed the dismissal of Petitioner David Ellis's complaint exclusively under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) "for failure to state a claim for relief" where the complaint exceeded the pleading requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) such that this Court should exercise its supervisory authority and reverse the judgment of the court of appeals.
  2. Alternatively, whether the court of appeals improperly decided an important and unsettled question of state law itself where Petitioner Ellis had requested that it certify the question to the Supreme Court of Tennessee and where the district court had acknowledged that the applicable authority was "conflicting" and "split" such that this Court should certify the question to the Supreme Court of Tennessee or direct the court of appeals to do so.

Brian Wolfman and Leah Nicholls of Public Citizen assisted the petitioner at the cert stage, and the Supreme Court denied cert.