When you’re drafting a complaint, the best way to structure your various causes of action. and to make sure you’ve properly alleged all the essential elements for a given claim, is to begin with jury instructions. Too many attorneys wait until later in the case to deal with the jury instructions, whether they’re defending against a motion for summary judgment or actually going to trial.
For basic causes of action, however, you’ve got to make sure up front, when you first have your client pay several hundred dollars in filing fees and service costs, that you can meet the minimum requirements for whatever it is you have to present to a jury. If you can’t make that bar, don’t bother to include the cause of action in your complaint. You still have to convince the jury at trial that your facts are believable, but at least your opponent can’t challenge you on the ground that you didn’t even meet the first hurdle of alleging appropriate facts and injury.
(As you’ve probably guessed, I’m trying to beat back a challenge to a complaint, one that I didn’t draft, that’s got the essential elements, but they’re hidden all over the complaint. My complaints are mechanical, but they always stand up to preliminary challenges based upon the face of the pleading.)