Gardner v. County of Baldwin et al
Order for Plaintiff to file, by 12/31/2013, and amended complaint that does not exceed 25 pages in total, as further set out. Signed by Magistrate Judge Sonja F. Bivins on 12/3/2013. Copy of Order and 1983 Complaint Form mailed as directed. (sdb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
DONALD EUGENE GARDNER, III,
COUNTY OF BALDWIN, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO:12-00639-CG-B
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Because Gardner is proceeding
in forma pauperis, the Court is required to screen his complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) 1 . (Doc. 1).
another 24 pages of attachments, the Court finds that many of
the paragraphs are long and rambling such that it is difficult
for the Court to discern whether the claims are plausible or
fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Under § 1915(e)(2)(B), a claim may be dismissed as
“frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact.”
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 109 S. Ct. 1827, 183132, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989). A claim is frivolous as a matter of
law where the defendants are immune from suit, or the claim
seeks to enforce a right that clearly does not exist. Id.
Moreover, a complaint may be dismissed under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted. Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th
other words, Gardner’s complaint does not contain a “short and
plain statement” of his claims as required by Rule 8(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
See Harrison v. Board of
Regents of Univ. Sys. of Ga., 519 F. App’x 641, 643 (11th Cir.
2013) (unpublished) (finding that an 82-page complaint was not
“‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief’”); 3 Magluta v. Samples, 256 F.3d
1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2001)(finding that a 58-page complaint
naming 14 defendants was not a “short and plain statement of the
claim”); Pelletier v. Zweifel, 921 F.2d 1465, 1492, 1522 (11th
Cir.) (admonishing the district court for not intervening at the
earliest point and requiring the plaintiff to replead his 702
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides:
(a) Claim for Relief. A pleading that states
a claim for relief must contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the
grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless
the court already has jurisdiction and the
claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to
(3) a demand for the relief sought, which
may include relief in the alternative or
different types of relief.
“Unpublished opinions are not considered binding
precedent, but they may be cited as persuasive authority.”
CIR. R. 36-2 (2005).
page amended complaint which caused the expenditure of much time
and effort by the defendant and the court), cert. denied, 510
U.S. 918 (1993), abrogated on other grounds Douglas Asphalt Co.
v. QORE, Inc., 657 F.3d 1146, 1151 (11th Cir. 2011); Muhammad
v.Bethel-Muhammad, CA 11-0690-WS-B, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8605,
at *1-2, 2012 WL 206173, at *1-2 (S.D. Ala. Jan. 24, 2012)
(finding that the 100-page complaint violated Rule 8(a) as did
the plaintiffs’ prior lawsuit’s complaint which consisted of 36
pages, but with incorporations was over 70 pages); Gollomp v.
justification for filing a 61-page complaint); Jones v. National
Commc’ns & Surveillance Networks, 266 F. App’x 31, 33 (2d Cir.
2008) (finding that the “single-spaced 58-page complaint with 87
statement); Abell v. Sothen, 214 F. App’x 743, 747 (10th Cir.
2007) (finding a 37-page complaint was not a short and plain
statement); Miles v. Trempealeau Cnty., 204 F. App’x 570, 573
(7th Cir. 2006) (finding that a 28-page complaint failed to meet
Rule 8’s requirements); see also Streeter v. City of Pensacola,
2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18215, 2007 WL 809786, at *2 (N.D. Fla.
Mar. 15, 2007) (limiting the court-ordered amended complaint to
25 pages due to the second court-ordered amended complaint being
complaint); Coleman v. Butler, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20205, at
*1, 2005 WL 1876166, at *1 (N.D. Fla. Aug. 3, 2005) (limiting
the amended complaint to 12 pages because the original 30-page
complaint was repetitive and not a short and plain statement);
3002875, at *1 (M.D. Fla. July 28, 2010) (limiting the amended
generally requires only a plausible ‘short and plain’ statement
Skinner v. Switzer, 131 S. Ct. 1289, 1296 (2011).
plaintiff need not “pin his claim for relief to a precise legal
Rather, a plaintiff is required to state with
sufficient facts a “claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.
Ct. 1955, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (2007).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S. Ct. 1937,
173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009).
The “[f]actual allegations must be
level[.]” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Allegations that do not
elements of a cause of action,” and “‘naked assertion[s] devoid
of ‘further factual enhancement.’” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
to aid the Court in undertaking the screening
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), Gardner is hereby ORDERED
to file, on or before December 31, 2013, an amended complaint
that satisfies the pleading requirements discussed above.
amended complaint shall contain a “short and plaint” statement
Gardner is ORDERED to complete the form in its
entirety, and if there are more defendants than spaces, he is
paper. See Local Rule 83.9(d) (requiring all pro se litigants to
violate this Order.
In drafting his amended complaint, Gardner is advised that
complaint and, if there is a claim that is closely related to
the primary claim, it may be included.
For example, Gardner’s
allegations regarding his mail are not related to his claim
regarding his mental health treatment, or lack thereof. (Doc. 1
Moreover, Gardner has not identified the individuals
connected to his allegations regarding his mail, nor is there
involvement with respect to Gardner’s other claims.
In determining whether a claim is related, the Court looks
defendants” that will arise in the action. Headwaters, LLC v.
Dawes Lake, LLC, CA 13-0291-CG-N, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120788,
2013 WL 4519198, at *3 (S.D. Ala. 2013) (applying Rule 20(a));
Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a)(2).4
To determine whether claims arise from the
same “series of transactions or occurrences”
under Rule 20(a)(2), courts in the Eleventh
Circuit apply the “logical relationship”
Rule 20(a)(2) provides:
(2) Defendants. Persons . . . may be
joined in one action as defendants if:
(A) any right to relief is asserted against
them jointly, severally, or in the
alternative with respect to or arising out
of the same transaction, occurrence, or
series of transactions or occurrences; and
(B) any question of law or fact common to
all defendants will arise in the action.
test. See Smith v. Trans–Siberian Orchestra,
728 F. Supp. 2d 1315, 1319 (M.D. Fla. 2010)
(citing Republic Health Corp. v. Lifemark
Hosps. of Fla., 755 F.2d 1453, 1455 (11th
Cir. 1985)). “Under this test, a logical
relationship exists if the claims rest on
the same set of facts or the facts, on which
one claim rests, activate additional legal
rights supporting the other claim.” Id.
(citing Republic Health, 755 F.2d at 1455).
relationship when ‘the same operative facts
serve as the basis of both claims.’ “
Republic Health, 755 F.2d at 1455 (quoting
Plant v. Blazer Fin. Servs., Inc., 598 F.2d
1357, 1361 (5th Cir. 1979)). “[O]nly claims
that do not arise from common operative
facts are not logically related.” Montgomery
Ward Dev. Corp. v. Juster, 932 F.2d 1378,
1381 n. 1 (11th Cir. 1991). The logical
relationship standard is a “loose” one that
“permits a broad realistic interpretation in
the interest of avoiding a multiplicity of
suits.” Plant, 598 F.2d at 1361 (internal
broadest possible scope of action consistent
with fairness of the parties.” United Mine
Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 724, 86 S.
Ct. 1130, 16 L. Ed. 2d 218 (1966).
Id. (quoting Bollea v. Clem, 937 F. Supp. 2d 1344, 1350-51 (M.D.
Fla. 2013)); see Skillern v. Georgia Dept. of Corrs. Comm’r, 379
defendants’ overall indifference to his medical conditions, did
not comply with the court’s order directing him to show that his
claims arose out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series
Dist. LEXIS 110215, 2013 WL 4011051, at *3 (M.D. Ga. Aug. 6,
2013) (dismissing claims for slander and discrimination as they
did not arise out the same transaction of occurrence as the
claims in plaintiff’s complaint); Union v. Montenegro, 2012 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 87666, 2012 WL 2401784, at *5 (M.D. Fla. June 25,
2012)(finding that the plaintiff’s claims were unrelated as the
incidents allegedly occurred at two different prisons, with one
claim being based on plaintiff’s close management status at one
Additionally, Gardner is advised that in drafting the short
and plain statement in his amended complaint, he shall include:
a statement of the date and the place that each alleged event
occurred, the participants in each event, and a description of
each event on which he relies to state each claim against each
Gardner shall avoid repeating himself, which he did
attempting to provide every detail of the story surrounding his
claim. See Muhammad, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8605 at *1 (“It is
allegations ... to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level. . . . But a complaint does not need detailed factual
allegations to survive an initial attack on its sufficiency,
only enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible
Additionally, Gardner shall avoid including legal argument or
citation to cases or other authority in his amended complaint.
In a § 1983 action such as this one, a plaintiff must
policies, or breaches of statutory duty to a deprivation of the
plaintiff’s constitutional or federal rights in order to state a
claim. See Zatler v. Wainwright, 802 F.2d 397, 401 (11th Cir.
1982), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 932 (1983); see also Douglas v.
Yates, 535 F.3d 1316, 1322 (11th Cir. 2008) (“[A] complaint will
be held defective . . . if [it] fails to connect the defendant
with the alleged wrong.”).
Finally, Gardner is cautioned that the failure to comply
with this order within the prescribed time by filing an amended
complaint that complies with Rule 8 or by simply not filing an
amended complaint will result in the dismissal without prejudice
of this action. See Pelletier, 921 F.2d at 1522 n.103 (advising
the court to dismiss the action if the plaintiff did not file a
complaint under § 1983.
DONE this the 3rd day of December, 2013.
/s/ SONJA F. BIVINS
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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