Wilkins et al v. Stapleton et al
ORDER denying as moot 20 motion to dismiss. The Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 18) is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as a shotgun pleading. On or before December 15, 2017, Plaintiffs may file a Third Amended Complaint. Signed by Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr. on 11/29/2017. (VMF)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
VANESSA WILKINS; VICTORIA
POUNCY; and SHANNON
Case No. 6:17-cv-1342-Orl-37GJK
This matter is before the Court on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Second
Amended Complaint (Doc. 20 (“MTD”)). Although Plaintiffs have not yet responded to
the MTD, the Court finds that the Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 18) is due to be
dismissed as an impermissible shotgun pleading.
Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure set forth minimum
requirements for complaints filed in this Court. At a minimum, complaints must:
(1) include “short and plain” statements of the pleader’s claims set forth in “numbered
paragraphs each limited as far as practicable to a single set of circumstances;” and
(2) provide more than mere labels, legal conclusions, or formulaic recitation of the
elements of a claim. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a), 8(d), 10(b); Local Rules 1.05, 1.06. Shotgun
pleadings result when a plaintiff “fails to follow Rules 8 and 10.” See Hickman v. Hickman,
563 F. App’x 742, 744 (11th Cir. 2014); Weiland v. Palm Beach Cty. Sheriff’s Office,
792 F.3d 1313, 1320 (11th Cir. 2015) (“Complaints that violate either Rule 8(a)(2) or Rule
10(b), or both, are often disparagingly referred to as ‘shotgun pleadings.’”); Magluta v.
Samples, 256 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2001) (noting that a “shotgun” pleading “is in no
sense the ‘short and plain statement of the claim’ required by Rule 8” and it “completely
disregards Rule 10(b)’s requirement that discrete claims should be plead in separate
The “most common type” of shotgun pleading “is a complaint containing multiple
counts where each count adopts the allegation 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.” Weiland, 792 F.3d at 1321. Shotgun pleadings also may “begin with
a long list of general allegations” that are “incorporated by reference into each count of
the complaint.” See Johnson Enters. of Jacksonville, Inc. v. FPL Group, Inc., 162 F.3d 1290,
1333 (11th Cir. 1998); Chudasama v. Mazda Motor Corp., 123 F.3d 1353, 1359 n.9
(11th Cir. 1997) (noting the “all-too-typical shotgun pleading” where the first paragraph
of each count “incorporates by reference” all of the factual allegations).
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit warns that actions founded on
shotgun pleadings should not be permitted because “issues are not joined, discovery is
not controlled, the trial court’s docket becomes unmanageable, the litigants suffer, and
society loses confidence in the court’s ability to administer justice.” See Anderson v. Dist.
Bd. of Trs. of Cent. Fla. Cmty. College, 77 F.3d 364, 367 (11th Cir. 1996); see also Chapman AI
Trans., 229 F.3d 1012, 1027 (11th Cir. 2000). Heeding this warning, when confronted with
a deficient pleading—especially a shotgun complaint—district courts must require the
party to replead. See Paylor v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., 748 F.3d 1117, 1127–28 (11th Cir. 2014)
(criticizing district court for failing to police shotgun pleadings); Starship Enters. of Atlanta,
Inc. v. Coweta Cty. Ga., 708 F.3d 1243, 1250 n.7 (11th Cir. 2013) (explaining that shotgun
pleadings may constitute “an abusive tactic” of litigation that district courts must address
on their “own initiative”).
The Second Amended Complaint reflects the most common type of shotgun
pleading. In five succeeding counts, which are founded on diverse legal theories, all
preceding allegations are incorporated by reference. (See Doc. 18, ¶¶57, 80, 96, 110, 116.)
As such, repleader is required. See, e.g., Weiland, 792 F.3d at 1321.
Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that:
The Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 18) is DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE as a shotgun pleading.
On or before December 15, 2017, Plaintiffs may file a Third Amended
Complaint in accordance with this Order.
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 20) is
DENIED AS MOOT.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers in Orlando, Florida, on November 29, 2017.
Counsel of Record
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?