Colin Reardon '10 wins LexisNexis competition for paper on Twombly and Iqbal

Photo of Clin ReardonColin Reardon '10 has won LexisNexis’s 11th annual James William Moore Federal Practice Award for his student note “Pleading in the Information Age,” which addresses the controversial Supreme Court decisions Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal.

Taken together, Twombly and Iqbal establish a “plausibility” pleading standard which raises the bar on the amount of factual information a plaintiff’s complaint must contain in order to proceed to discovery. Reardon argues that critics of the decisions have ignored the impact of new technologies such as the Internet and laws promoting the disclosure of information to the public, which in recent decades have allowed plaintiffs to obtain significantly more information about defendants at a reduced cost. Thus, the note maintains, the plausibility standard can often be an effective screening mechanism for distinguishing frivolous cases from meritorious ones. At the same time, Reardon acknowledges that there will be many cases in which relevant information concerning liability cannot be obtained without discovery. For such cases, he proposes that the Federal Rules adopt a “safety valve” mechanism that would allow a plaintiff to obtain discovery after showing that little information about the defendant’s conduct is publicly available. 

The James William Moore Federal Practice Award includes a $2,000 cash prize. Reardon’s note was supervised by Samuel Issacharoff, Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law. It will be published in December in the New York University Law Review, which will receive a separate $1,000 prize as part of the award. A former articles editor of the journal, Reardon was also an Arthur Garfield Hays Fellow and a vice chair of Law Students for Human Rights while at NYU Law. He graduated magna cum laude as a member of Order of the Coif. Reardon earned an A.B. in government cum laude from Harvard University, where he was publisher of the Harvard Book Review.

Currently, Reardon is clerking for Judge Louis Pollak of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He will clerk for Judge Gerard Lynch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the 2011-12 term.

Posted on September 28, 2010