Prosperous v. Pinellas County Sheriff et al
ORDER: Defendants Bob Gualtieri's and Department of Children and Families' Motions to Dismiss (Docs. # 36 and 39) are GRANTED. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. # 32) is hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Plaintiff's & quot;Motion Clerk of Court Correct Defendants Name on Public and Court Records" (Doc. # 40) and "Motion to Change and Seal Plaintiffs Mailing Address" (Doc. # 41) are DENIED AS MOOT. See Order for details. The Clerk of Court is directed to close this case. Signed by Judge Thomas P. Barber on 10/8/2019. (ANL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
ALEXANDRA LOVE PROSPEROUS,
Case No. 8:17-cv-860-T-60AAS
PINELLAS COUNTY SHERIFF’S
DEPARTMENT and DEPARTMENT
OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
ORDER GRANTING “DEFENDANT’S, BOB GUALTIERI AS
SHERIFF OF PINELLAS COUNTY FLORIDA, MOTION TO
DISMISS AND ACCOMPANYING MEMORANDUM OF LAW”AND
“DEFENDANT, DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES’,
MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF’S AMENDED COMPLAINT;”
ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF’S
AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE;
AND ORDER DENYING AS MOOT PLAINTIFF’S “MOTION
CLERK OF COURT CORRECT DEFENDANTS NAME ON
PUBLIC AND COURT RECORDS” AND “MOTION TO
CHANGE AND SEAL PLAINTIFFS MAILING ADDRESS”
This matter is before the Court on “Defendant’s, Bob Gualtieri as Sheriff of
Pinellas County Florida, Motion to Dismiss and Accompanying Memorandum of
Law,” filed on August 21, 2019, and “Defendant, Department of Children and
Families’, Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint,” filed on September 9,
2019. (Doc. ## 36 and 39). On August 26, 2019, Plaintiff filed a response in
opposition to the Sheriff’s motion to dismiss. (Doc. # 37). She did not file a response
in opposition to Department of Children and Families’ motion to dismiss. On
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September 9, 2019, Plaintiff filed her “Motion Clerk of Court Correct Defendants
Name on Public and Court Records” and “Motion to Change and Seal Plaintiffs
Mailing Address.” After reviewing the motions, response, court file, and the record,
the Court finds as follows:
The form amended complaint purports to invoke the Court’s federal question
jurisdiction under Amendments I-X of the United States Constitution. (Doc. # 32).
Plaintiff claims that there were “numerous violations of civil rights . . . in order to
cover up child abuse and sexual battery on an infant/toddler.” Plaintiff requests
damages in excess of $500,000,000, as well as additional per diem damages.
A shotgun pleading is one where “it is virtually impossible to know which
allegations of fact are intended to support which claim(s) for relief” and the
defendant therefore cannot be “expected to frame a responsive pleading.” See
Anderson v. Dist. Bd. Of Trustees of Cent. Fla. Cmty. College, 77 F.3d 364, 366 (11th
Cir. 1996). The Eleventh Circuit has identified four primary types of shotgun
Complaints containing 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;
Complaints that do not commit the mortal sin of re-alleging all
preceding counts but are guilty of the venial sin of being replete
with conclusory, vague, and immaterial facts not obviously
connected to any particular cause of action;
Complaints that commit the sin of not separating into a different
count each cause of action or claim for relief; and
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Complaints that assert multiple claims against multiple
defendants without specifying which of the defendants are
responsible for which actions or omissions, or which of the
defendants the claim is brought against.
Weiland v. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1322–23 (11th Cir.
2015). More important than fitting neatly into these four roughly defined categories
is the reason these types of pleadings are so problematic: they all fail “to give the
defendants adequate notice of the claims against them and the grounds upon which
each claim rests.” 1 Id. at 1323.
A district court must generally permit a plaintiff at least one opportunity to
amend a shotgun complaint’s deficiencies before dismissing the complaint with
prejudice. Vibe Micro, Inc. v. Shabanets, 878 F.3d 1291, 1295 (11th Cir. 2018).
“Implicit in such a repleading order is the notion that if the plaintiff fails to comply
with the court’s order – by filing a repleader with the same deficiency – the court
should strike his pleading or, depending on the circumstances, dismiss his case and
consider the imposition of monetary sanctions.” Jackson, 898 F.3d at 1358 (11th
Cir. 2018) (internal quotations and citation omitted).
The Eleventh Circuit has repeatedly condemned the filing of shotgun pleadings, stating that they
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. Moreover, justice is delayed for the litigants who are
“standing in line,” waiting for their case to be heard. The court of
appeals and the litigants appearing before them suffer as well.
Jackson v. Bank of Am., N.A., 898 F.3d 1348, 1356-57 (11th Cir. 2018) (quoting Cramer v. Florida,
117 F.3d 1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 1997)).
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As Plaintiff in this case is proceeding pro se, the Court more liberally
construes the pleadings. Alba v. Montford, 517 F.3d 1249, 1252 (11th Cir. 2018).
However, a pro se plaintiff must still conform with procedural rules and the Court
does not have “license to act as de facto counsel” on behalf of a pro se plaintiff.
United States v. Padgett, 917 F.3d 1312, 1317 (11th Cir. 2019).
Judge Kovachevich previously entered an Order dismissing Plaintiff’s initial
complaint as “woefully inadequate,” finding that it could not support a cause of
action against either Defendant. (Doc. # 20). Judge Kovachevich specifically found
that the complaint did not place Defendants on notice of the actual claims lodged
against them, and that the factual allegations of the complaint were likewise
Pursuant to Judge Kovachevich’s Order, Plaintiff was directed to file an
amended complaint that (1) identified the cause of action brought against each
Defendant; (2) set forth a short and plain statement for each count against each
Defendant, clearly indicating what each Defendant did to allegedly violate
Plaintiff’s constitutional rights; (3) state a short and plain statement of the Court’s
subject matter jurisdiction; (4) set forth a short and plain statement of facts for each
and every count that Plaintiff seeks to pursue; and (5) identify whether Plaintiff is
bringing suit against the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department, individual officers,
or the Sheriff.
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On August 17, 2019, Plaintiff filed her amended complaint. (Doc. # 32).
However, Plaintiff has failed to cure nearly all of the defects identified by Judge
Kovachevich in her March 15, 2019, Order. Plaintiff has clarified that she is filing
suit against the Pinellas County Sheriff rather than the Sheriff’s Department.
However, Plaintiff has not put forth a short and plain statement of the Court’s
subject matter jurisdiction. Moreover, instead of identifying the causes of action
against each Defendant and setting forth a short and plain statement of facts for
each and every count, Plaintiff has instead refiled the allegations of her original
complaint, only handwriting in a few additional notes. These additional notes are
largely incomprehensible and fail to cure the defects of the initial complaint.
Because Plaintiff has already been granted an opportunity to amend her
claims and has failed to cure their deficiencies, the Court dismisses the amended
complaint with prejudice. See Bank v. Pitt, 928 F.2d 1108, 1112 (11th Cir. 1991),
overruled in part by Wagner v. Daewoo Heavy Indus. Am Corp., 314 F.3d 541, 542
(11th Cir. 2002).
Plaintiff’s “Motion Clerk of Court Correct Defendants Name on Public and
Court Records” and “Motion to Change and Seal Plaintiffs Mailing
Because the Court has dismissed Plaintiff’s amended complaint with
prejudice, it denies as moot Plaintiff’s request to correct Defendant’s name. 2 The
The Court notes that a prior motion requesting the same relief was granted by the Court. See (Doc.
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Court also denies as moot Plaintiff’s “Motion to Change and Seal Plaintiff’s Mailing
It is therefore ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED:
1. “Defendant’s, Bob Gualtieri as Sheriff of Pinellas County Florida, Motion to
Dismiss and Accompanying Memorandum of Law” (Doc. # 36) is hereby
2. “Defendant, Department of Children and Families’, Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint” (Doc. # 39) is hereby GRANTED.
3. Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint (Doc. # 32) is hereby DISMISSED WITH
4. Plaintiff’s “Motion Clerk of Court Correct Defendants Name on Public and
Court Records” (Doc. # 40) is hereby DENIED AS MOOT.
5. Plaintiff’s “Motion to Change and Seal Plaintiffs Mailing Address” (Doc. # 41)
is hereby DENIED AS MOOT.
6. The Clerk of Court is directed to close this case.
DONE and ORDERED in Chambers, in Tampa, Florida this 8th day of
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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