failure to state a claim

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Failure to state a claim is a defense asserting that even if all the factual allegations in a complaint are true, they are insufficient to establish a cause of action and the case should therefore be dismissed.

In a federal civil action, this defense is raised via a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.

Before the adoption of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a failure to state a claim defense was known as a demurrer

[Last updated in December of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]