Legal Memorandum: Requirements for a Petition in LA

Issue: What are the requirements for a petition in Louisiana?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Petition; Evidentiary facts; Ultimate facts
Jurisdiction: Louisiana
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: La. CCP art. 854; La. CCP art. 891(A); La. C.C.P. art. 933 (B)
Date: 10/01/2013

La. CCP art. 854 requires a petition to be “simple, concise and direct”.  Article 891(A) expands on this and requires that the petition also be “short, clear and concise” and that it include the “material facts of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the litigation.”  See Badeaux v. Southwest Computer Bureau Inc. 929 So.2d 1211, 1218 (La. 2006). 

As it has been construed, this means that no legal theory and “no sacramental language or precise legal jargon is required.”  Ramey v. DeCaire, No. 2006 CA 1129 (La. App.  1 Cir. March 23, 2007).  Instead, “ultimate facts” must be pleaded—”evidentiary facts”, however, will not  be considered.  See e.g. McKamey v. New Orleans Public Facility Management Inc. 102 So. 3d 222, 228 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2012) (“The petition must set forth the material facts upon which a cause of action is based; the allegations must be ultimate facts; conclusions of law or fact, and evidentiary facts will not be considered.”  (emphasis added)); Kelley v. Dyson 10 So.3d 283, 286 (La. App. 5 Cir. 2009) (same);.  Saxena v. Saxena 518 So.2d 1098, 1100 (La. App. 5 Cir. 1987) (same).

Generally, an “ultimate fact” is “a fact essential to a claim or defense”. Black’s Law Dictionary 612 (7th ed. 1999).  By contrast, an “evidentiary fact” is a fact necessary to prove the ultimate fact.  See GlenFed Inc Securities Litigation 42 F.3d 1541, 1548 n.7 (9th Cir. 1994).  One court succinctly summarized this distinction as […]

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