Taras v. Hamtramck et al
OPINION and ORDER Denying as Moot Defendants' 4 Motion for More Definite Statement, Designating ECF No. 6 as Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, and Directing Defendants to Answer Amended Complaint. Signed by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (Loury, R)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Civil Case No: 14-11954
Honorable Linda V. Parker
CITY OF HAMTRAMCK,
CITY OF HAMTRAMCK POLICE
DEPARMENT, NEIL EGAN,
JOHN DOE 1, MAXWELL GARBARINO,
And STEVE SHAYA,
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING AS MOOT DEFENDANTS’ MOTION
FOR MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT, DESIGNATING ECF NO. 6 AS
PLAINTIFF’S AMENDED COMPLAINT, AND DIRECTING
DEFENDANTS TO ANSWER AMENDED COMPLAINT
This matter comes before the Court on a motion for more definite statement
filed by Defendants City of Hamtramck, City of Hamtramck Police Department,
Neil Egan, and Maxwell Garbarino on May 19, 2014 pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(e). (ECF No. 4). On the same date, Defendant Steve Shaya
filed a notice indicating that he concurs and joins in the motion. (ECF No. 5).
Plaintiff filed an “answer” to the motion on July 24, 2014, which essentially is an
amended complaint. (ECF. No. 6).
Plaintiff initiated this action in state court on May 7, 2014. In his
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges claims of unlawful arrest, excessive use of force in
making arrest, and/or unlawful detention or imprisonment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
and state law claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy,
malicious prosecution, assault/battery, defamation, negligence, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and extreme and outrageous conduct. (ECF No. 4-2
at Pg ID 28). Defendants removed the Complaint to federal court on May 19, 2014
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1447.
Standard of Review
A motion for a more definite statement pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(e) may be brought “[i]f a pleading to which a responsive pleading is
permitted is so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to
frame a responsive pleading.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e). Courts disfavor such motions
because pleadings are to be construed liberally to do substantial justice. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 8(f). Moreover, pro se plaintiffs, such as Plaintiff here, are held to less
stringent pleading standards than parties who are represented by counsel. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
Nevertheless, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a pleading
which sets forth a claim for relief set forth a short and plain statement of the
grounds upon which the court’s jurisdiction depends, a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and a demand for judgment
for the relief sought. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). The pleading must “give the defendant
fair notice of what the plaintiff’s claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957).
Defendants contend that Plaintiff’s Complaint is so “disorganized” that they
cannot reasonably be expected to prepare a response to each of Plaintiff’s
allegations and causes of action. (ECF No. 4 at Pg ID 21). Specifically,
Defendants complain that Plaintiff lists all eight causes of action under a single
heading and fails to distinguish what facts are relevant to which cause of action.
They request that Plaintiff be required to file an amended complaint which
contains consecutively numbered paragraphs and separate causes of action, each
with its own heading and specifying the specific facts and circumstances on which
the claim is based.
Plaintiff’s July 24, 2014 “answer” to Defendants’ motion satisfies their
requests. (ECF No. 6). It contains short concise statements of his claims, lists each
claim separately, and identifies the facts relevant to each claim. The Court finds
this pleading to be consistent with Rule 8’s requirements. It certainly is not “so
vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to frame a
responsive pleading.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e).
For these reasons, the Court is treating Plaintiff’s response (ECF No. 6) as
his first amended complaint. Defendants shall respond to this amended complaint
within twenty-one (21) days of this Opinion and Order. Defendants’ motion (ECF
No. 4) therefore is DENIED AS MOOT.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/ Linda V. Parker
LINDA V. PARKER
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: October 8, 2014
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of
record and/or pro se parties on this date, October 8, 2014, by electronic and/or U.S.
First Class mail.
s/ Richard Loury
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