Bing v. Landreville et al

Filing 23

ORDER striking 22 Amended Complaint. Plaintiff shall file a second amended complaint consistent with the directives of this Order on or before April 5, 2017. See Order for details. Signed by Judge Marcia Morales Howard on 3/22/2017. (MHM)

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    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA JACKSONVILLE DIVISION VERNELL CHARLES BING, SR., as father and personal representative of the estate of his son, Vernell Charles Bing, Jr., deceased, Plaintiff, Case No. 3:16-cv-1140-J-34JRK vs. TYLER L. LANDREVILLE, Deputy Sheriff Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, in his individual capacity, et al., Defendants. / ORDER THIS CAUSE is before the Court sua sponte. Plaintiff initiated the instant action on September 8, 2016, by filing a five-count Complaint (Doc. 1). On March 20, 2017, with leave of Court, see Order (Doc. 21), Plaintiff filed a five-count amended complaint. See Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial (Doc. 22; Amended Complaint). Upon review, the Court finds that the Amended Complaint constitutes an impermissible “shotgun pleading.” A shotgun complaint contains “multiple counts where each count adopts the allegations of all preceding counts, causing each successive count to carry all that came before and the last count to be a combination of the entire complaint.” See Weiland v. Palm Beach Cnty. Sheriff’s Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1321 & n.11 (11th Cir. 2015) (collecting cases). As a result, “most of the counts . . . contain irrelevant factual allegations and legal conclusions.” Strategic Income Fund, L.L.C. v. Spear, Leeds & Kellogg Corp., 305 F.3d 1293, 1295 (11th Cir. 2002). Consequently, in ruling on the sufficiency of a claim, the Court is faced with the     onerous task of sifting out irrelevancies in order to decide for itself which facts are relevant to a particular cause of action asserted. See id. Here, Counts II-IV of the Amended Complaint incorporate by reference all allegations of all the preceding counts. See Amended Complaint at 13-15. In the Eleventh Circuit, shotgun pleadings of this sort are “altogether unacceptable.” Cramer v. State of Fla., 117 F.3d 1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 1997); see also Cook v. Randolph County, 573 F.3d 1143, 1151 (11th Cir. 2009) (“We have had much to say about shotgun pleadings, none of which is favorable.”) (collecting cases). Indeed, the Eleventh Circuit has engaged in a “thirty-year salvo of criticism aimed at shotgun pleadings, and there is no ceasefire in sight.” See Weiland, 792 F.3d at 1321 & n.9 (collecting cases). As the Court in Cramer recognized, “[s]hotgun pleadings, whether filed by plaintiff or defendant, exact an intolerable toll on the trial court’s docket, lead to unnecessary and unchanneled discovery, and impose unwarranted expense on the litigants, the court and the court’s parajudicial personnel and resources.” Cramer, 117 F.3d at 1263. When faced with the burden of deciphering a shotgun pleading, it is the trial court’s obligation to strike the pleading on its own initiative, and force the plaintiff to replead to the extent possible under Rule 11, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See id. (admonishing district court for not striking shotgun complaint on its own initiative); see also Weiland, 792 F.3d at 1321 n.10 (“[W]e have also advised that when a defendant fails to [move for a more definite statement], the district court ought to take the initiative to dismiss or strike the shotgun pleading and give the plaintiff an opportunity to replead.”). Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED:     1. Plaintiff’s Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial (Doc. 22) is STRICKEN. 2. Plaintiff shall file a second amended complaint consistent with the directives of this Order on or before April 5, 2017. Failure to do so may result in a dismissal of this action. 3. Defendants shall respond to the second amended complaint in accordance with the requirements of Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. DONE AND ORDERED at Jacksonville, Florida on March 22, 2017. lc11 Copies to: Counsel of Record Pro Se Parties

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