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A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week could make it significantly harder for plaintiffs in a broad range of cases to survive defendants’ motions to dismiss, according to experts in civil procedure.

“This is very bad for plaintiffs,” said Alan Morrison, former head of Public Citizen Litigation Group, reacting to the 5-4 decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal . The May 18 ruling dismissed a complaint filed by a Pakistani Muslim against former Attorney General John Ashcroft seeking to hold Ashcroft liable for policies that led to the roundup of aliens including Iqbal following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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