Comprehensiveness rating: 5 read less
This text provides a concise yet comprehensive introduction to pleading standards under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. It covers the development of both notice pleading and the plausibility standard in a manner that's straightforward enough for 1L students but doesn't spoon-feed the information to them.
Accuracy rating: 4
The casebook materials have been edited in order to help the students focus on the issues that are relevant to learning the pleading standards. The author has chosen not to use ellipses or other means to let the reader know where edits have occurred; however, he recommends telling the students that the cases have been edited. I didn't find the editing to be bothersome (in fact, I think it's probably helpful for the 1L students the book is written for), but teachers who want their students to have the entire text of the cases probably shouldn't use this book.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 5
This text focuses on the most recent developments in the law relating to pleading, while still providing a solid historical context into which the students can place those developments. Although this is a rapidly developing area of the law, the author provides a good foundation for the students to be able to work with these changing rules throughout their legal studies.
Clarity rating: 5
This could be my favorite thing about this book -- both the student and the teacher materials are very clearly written. There's no "hiding the ball" in the student materials; in fact, the author explicitly states the goals for each unit at the beginning of each section so students can track their progress as they learn the material.
Consistency rating: 5
Consistent terminology is used throughout. Even better, the terminology the author uses is consistent with the language of the cases and the rules. This will help to limit unnecessary student confusion.
Modularity rating: 5
The teacher's manual provides excellent ideas about how to divide the materials up over several class periods. Although some of the readings are long, they are accompanied by comprehension questions to help the students focus on the important aspects of what they are reading and avoid getting sidetracked by legal minutiae.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5
The material is organized chronologically, dealing with the earlier notice pleading standards before moving on to the more recent development of the plausibility standard. This helps the students put the developments in context. I especially like the section where, after introducing the cases that are the basis for the plausibility standard, the author provides a case showing how the lower courts struggle with applying this new standard.
Interface rating: 4
The casebook itself is well-formatted and easy to read onscreen or in hard copy. However, the supplementary materials include reproductions of court documents which didn't display well on my screen (some content was cut off on one side) although they printed out clearly. If you assign the supplementary materials to your students, you'll want to check for compatibility before you distribute them.
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
I could not find any grammatical errors.
Cultural Relevance rating: 5
I didn't see any cultural insensitivity. Two of the cases in the casebook focus on discrimination claims based on age and ethnicity, and these were handled appropriately.
The teacher's manual is excellent. Even if civil procedure wasn't your area of specialization, you could still put together 4 or 5 strong classes on this topic without a lot of extra research.