Rice v. Fitness International, LLC
ORDER striking 1 Complaint. Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint consistent with the directives of this Order on or before January 19, 2018. See Order for details. Signed by Judge Marcia Morales Howard on 1/5/2018. (MHM)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Case No. 3:18-cv-7-J-34MCR
FITNESS INTERNATIONAL, LLC d/b/a
THIS CAUSE is before the Court sua sponte. Plaintiff initiated the instant action on
January 2, 2018, by filing a two-count Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial (Doc. 1;
Complaint). Upon review, the Court finds that the 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, Count
II of the Complaint incorporates by reference all allegations of the preceding count. See
Complaint at 9.
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
The Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial (Doc. 1) is STRICKEN.
Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint consistent with the directives of this
Order on or before January 19, 2018. Failure to do so may result in a
dismissal of this action.
Defendant shall respond to the amended complaint in accordance with the
requirements of Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
DONE AND ORDERED at Jacksonville, Florida on January 5, 2018.
Counsel of Record
Pro Se Parties
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