United States of America vs. James M. Crumb, M.D., et al.
Order finding as moot 25 MOTION to Dismiss filed by James M. Crumb, Mobility Metabolism and Wellness, P.C.; Finding as moot 27 MOTION to Dismiss filed by Coastal Neurological Institute, P.C.., Defendants must file their answers or Rule 12(b) motions in response to the Amended Complaint by 6/6/2016. Signed by Chief Judge William H. Steele on 5/18/2016. copies to parties. (sdb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
JAMES M. CRUMB, M.D., et al.,
CIVIL ACTION 15-0655-WS-N
This matter comes before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss (doc. 25) filed by
defendants James Crumb, M.D., and Mobility Metabolism & Wellness PC; and on the Motion to
Dismiss (doc. 27) filed by defendant Coastal Neurological Institute, P.C. Both Motions
challenge the sufficiency of the Government’s 63-page, 293-paragraph Complaint (doc. 1), via a
variety of arguments, including principally that the Complaint lacks the particularity required
under Rule 9(b), Fed.R.Civ.P., and is an impermissible shotgun pleading. The Court entered and
amended a briefing schedule for the Motions to Dismiss, pursuant to which the Government’s
responses are presently due on or before May 27, 2016, with movants’ replies to be filed on or
before June 13, 2016. (Docs. 29, 33.)
On May 17, 2016, the Government filed a 69-page, 307-paragraph Amended Complaint
(doc. 34) as a matter of course pursuant to Rule 15(a)(1), Fed.R.Civ.P. The Amended Complaint
appears to make substantial additions and modifications to the Government’s pleading;
moreover, preliminary review of the document suggests that at least some of the edits were made
to rebut directly the sufficiency objections interposed by defendants’ Motions to Dismiss.
The Government’s amendment of the Complaint necessarily alters the status quo with
respect to the pending Motions to Dismiss, as to which briefing is in midstream. Fundamentally,
those Rule 12(b) Motions relate to a now-superseded iteration of the complaint. In light of this
development, it is unclear whether defendants wish to continue to assert all of their previously
stated grounds for dismissal vis a vis the new Amended Complaint, whether they wish to revise
or supplement those arguments, whether they wish to abandon some or all of those arguments,
and the like. At best, it would be both unwieldy and inefficient for this Court to endeavor to
synchronize partially briefed Rule 12(b) motions with a voluminous complaint that may have
changed in material respects during the course of that briefing. Without hearing anew from the
parties, the undersigned would be unable to discern with clarity which contentions the movants
might still wish to advance, how the arguments for or against dismissal might have been
modified by virtue of the intervening filing of the Amended Complaint, or what new contentions
the parties might wish to raise in relation to the Amended Complaint.
Based on the foregoing considerations (and without expressing any opinion as to the
merits of the Motions to Dismiss or the continued viability of the grounds for relief asserted
therein in the aftermath of the Amended Complaint), the only sensible, efficient course of action
is to start over from the beginning. Accordingly, the Court deems the pending Motions to
Dismiss (docs. 25 & 27) moot because they relate to a superseded pleading that is now devoid of
any legal force or effect. Defendants must file their answers or Rule 12(b) motions in response
to the Amended Complaint on or before June 6, 2016. Should these defendants renew their
Motions to Dismiss, they should reproduce in full any arguments they wish to carry over from
their prior Rule 12(b) Motions. In this manner, briefing on any renewed Motions to Dismiss will
be self-contained, without obliging the Court or opposing counsel to refer back to previous briefs
relating to the now-moot original Motions to Dismiss. Finally, all parties are reminded of the
admonition / encouragement in the Order (doc. 29) entered on April 27, 2016, that they work
proactively to minimize redundancy in their filings whenever possible. Defendants’ counsel are
expected to coordinate their efforts to the extent reasonably practicable to cut down on the
quantum of repetition, and to incorporate by reference passages from co-defendants’ filings as
appropriate. Likewise, the Government should frame any briefs it files in response to multiple
Motions to Dismiss in a manner that keeps duplication to a minimum.
DONE and ORDERED this 18th day of May, 2016.
s/ WILLIAM H. STEELE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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