Strong v. BP Whiting Refinery
OPINION AND ORDER: The court GRANTS the defendants motion to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) re 5 . Because the court cant determine the claims that Mr. Strong asserts, at this time, the court declines to addres s the defendants argument that dismissal is appropriate for failure to state a claim. Mr. Strong is AFFORDED to/including April 25, 2014 to file an amended complaint. If no amended complaint is filed by that date, judgment will be entered against him. Signed by Judge Robert L Miller, Jr on 3/24/2014. (rmn)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
LYNN M. STRONG,
BP WHITING REFINERY,
CAUSE NO. 2:13-CV-384-RLM-JEM
OPINION and ORDER
BP Products North America Inc., referred to as BP Whiting Refinery in
the complaint, has moved to dismiss Lynn M. Strong’s pro se complaint
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2). BP maintains that Mr.
Strong’s complaint is unintelligible and leaves BP without the ability to craft an
answer. Mr. Strong hasn’t responded to BP’s motion, and the time for doing so
has passed. See N.D. Ind. L.R. 7-1(d).
The minimum requirements for pleading a claim for relief are found in
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, which requires “a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” and each allegation to
be “simple, concise, and direct.” FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2), (d)(1). “The primary
purpose of [Rule 8] is rooted in fair notice: Under Rule 8, a complaint must be
presented with intelligibility sufficient for a court or opposing party to
understand whether a valid claim is alleged and if so what it is.” Vicom, Inc. v.
Harbridge Merchant Servs., Inc., 20 F.3d 771, 775 (7th Cir. 1994).
Mr. Strong’s complaint can’t be said to comply with Rule 8(a)(2). The
complaint contains a form employment discrimination complaint that refers to
the attachments for the legal claim and factual basis. The attachments include
an eleven-page summary of Mr. Strong’s employment history with BP, a letter
from the EEOC, an EEOC charge, an article, and a job description. The
complaint doesn’t contain a “short and plain statement” of his claims or
“simple, concise, and direct” allegations and other than the general reference to
three rights guaranteed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the
complaint contains no citation to the law governing his claims. The complaint
might include claims of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation.
Rule 8 requires something “more than an unadorned, the-defendantunlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). Pro se litigants’ pleadings are held to a less stringent standard and are
construed especially generously in the pro se litigant’s favor. Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). But a minimal coherence is needed for any
construction, generous or otherwise. The court can’t ascertain whether Mr.
Strong alleges a valid claim, and BP can’t appropriately respond to the
For the forgoing reasons, the court GRANTS the defendant’s motion to
dismiss the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) (Doc. No.
5). Because the court can’t determine the claims that Mr. Strong asserts, at
this time, the court declines to address the defendant’s argument that
dismissal is appropriate for failure to state a claim. Mr. Strong is AFFORDED
to and including April 25, 2014 to file an amended complaint. If no amended
complaint is filed by that date, judgment will be entered against him.
ENTERED: March 24, 2014
/s/ Robert L. Miller, Jr.
United States District Court
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