Metz v. Matos et al
ORDER granting in part 13 Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Complaint. Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED without prejudice. Plaintiff may FILE an amended complaint on or before October 22, 2019. Signed by Judge Sheri Polster Chappell on 10/8/2019. (LMF)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT MYERS DIVISION
GEORGE D METZ, 2 ,
Case No.: 2:19-cv-424-FtM-38MRM
FNU MATOS and MANDY HINES,
Before the Court is Defendant Mandy Hines’ Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 13).2 Plaintiff
George Metz never responded and the time to do so passed. For the following reasons,
the Court grants the Motion in part.
Metz went to the county administration building in Desoto County, Florida to
investigate a posted “no recording” sign. (Doc. 1 at 4). Inside, someone (presumably a
county employee) approached and told him to leave. (Doc. 1 at 4). So Metz walked into
a hallway, where Hines “informed” him “that she wanted [him] out of the building.” (Doc.
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2 In the Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff misspelled Hines last name. This is the correct
spelling. (Doc. 13 at 1 n.1).
3 These are the Complaint’s facts, which the Court accepts as true at this stage of the
case. Chandler v. Sec’y of Fla. Dep’t of Transp., 695 F.3d 1194, 1198-99 (11th Cir. 2012).
1 at 4). After leaving the building, Metz had an encounter with Defendant Frank Matos,
but those allegations are not relevant to Hines. (Doc. 1 at 4).
Hines is the County Administrator. (Doc. 1 at 2). Metz brings a 42 U.S.C. § 1983
action against Hines in her individual capacity. (Doc. 1 at 2-3). According to Metz, his
First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated. (Doc. 1 at 3). And both Defendants
“used the Florida trespass statute to restrict [his] access and right to record.” (Doc. 1 at
4). Now, Hines moves to dismiss. (Doc. 13).
A complaint must recite “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A facially plausible claim allows a
“court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. Pleadings must contain “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Hines makes several arguments for dismissal. (Doc. 13). But there is no need to
reach the Motion to Dismiss because the copy of the Complaint filed on the docket
appears incomplete. The Complaint is a pro se form, which are available on the United
States Courts’ website. Pro se litigants are encouraged to use those forms. Yet the
Complaint was printed with several fields collapsed. As a result, the Court cannot see all
of Metz’s allegations. This is particularly problematic here because Section II.B. (where
Metz lists his rights violated) and Section II.D. (where Metz alleges how Hines acted under
color of law) are incomplete. Each section ends with an incomplete sentence followed by
a small “plus” icon, which generally indicates a section can be expanded to see additional
writing. Without the full pleadings, neither Hines nor the Court can tell the extent of the
claims and allegations against Hines. So the Court dismisses the Complaint without
prejudice. See Taschner v. Freeman Decorating Servs., No. 6:14-cv-1622-Orl-22DAB,
2014 WL 5472536, at *2-3 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 23, 2014) (dismissing an incomplete pro se
form complaint with leave to refile). Metz can refile a complete amended complaint within
Even though the Court does not address the merits of the Motion to Dismiss (Doc.
13), it raises several arguments of which Metz should be mindful when drafting his
amended complaint. While pro se pleadings are given more leniency than attorney
pleadings, the Court does not have “license to serve as de facto counsel for a party, or to
rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading in order to sustain an action.” Campbell v. Air
Jam. Ltd., 760 F.3d 1165, 1168-69 (11th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). The Court always
encourages litigants to retain counsel. E.g., Jordan v. U.S. Dep’t of Educ., No. 2:17-cv683-FtM-99CM, 2018 WL 7502038, at *7 (M.D. Fla. May 8, 2018). But if Metz decides to
proceed pro se, the Court directs him to the “Litigants without Lawyers” section of the
Middle District’s website: www.flmd.uscourts.gov/litigants-without-lawyers.4
Accordingly, it is now
A great resource is the “Guide for Proceeding Without A Lawyer,” available at
1. Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Complaint (Doc. 13) is GRANTED in part.
2. Plaintiff’s Complaint (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED without prejudice.
3. Plaintiff may FILE an amended complaint on or before October 22, 2019.
DONE and ORDERED in Fort Myers, Florida this 8th day of October, 2019.
Copies: All Parties of Record
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