Batson v. Hoover et al
ORDER granting 5 Motion for More Definite Statement; Plaintiff's Amended Complaint due 12/18/2017, Signed by District Judge John Corbett O'Meara. (WBar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 17-12214
Hon. John Corbett O’Meara
GENESEE COUNTY SHERIFF’S
DEPUTY HOOVER, et al.,
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’
MOTION FOR A MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT
Before the court is Defendants’ motion for a more definite statement, which
has been fully briefed. Plaintiff filed a civil rights complaint against Genesee
County and eighty-four individual employees of the county jail. Plaintiff alleges
that jail employees denied him epilepsy medication and medical treatment while he
was incarcerated. Plaintiff also alleges that he was beaten and abused by Genesee
County sheriff’s deputies. Other than Defendant Deputy Hoover, however,
Plaintiff does not identify which defendants are responsible for the alleged
violations of his rights.
Defendants seek a more definite statement pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e).
Plaintiff contends that he has thus far been unsuccessful in obtaining information
from Defendants regarding the parties responsible.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e), a “party may move for a
more definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive pleading is allowed but
which is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a
response.” In light of federal notice pleading standards and the opportunity for
extensive pretrial discovery, motions for a more definite statement are generally
disfavored. See Flagstar Bank, FSB v. Gulfstream Business Bank, Inc., 2013 WL
6017977 at *8 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 13, 2013); E.E.O.C. v. FPM Group, Ltd., 657
F.Supp. 2d 957, 966 (E.D. Tenn. 2009). “A motion under Rule 12(e) should not be
granted unless the complaint is ‘so excessively vague and ambiguous as to be
unintelligible and as to prejudice the defendant seriously in attempting to answer
it.’” Id. (citation omitted). In other words, if the complaint meets the notice
pleading requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, the court should deny
the motion for a more definite statement.1 Id.
To the extent Plaintiff’s complaint does not identify the Defendants
Contrary to Defendants’ argument, a civil rights complaint is not subjected to a
heightened pleading standard. See Leatherman v. Tarrant Cty. Narcotics Intelligence &
Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 168 (1993) (“We think that is impossible to square the
‘heightened pleading standard’ applied by the Fifth Circuit in this case with the liberal
system of ‘notice pleading’ set up by the Federal Rules.”); Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A.,
534 U.S. 506, 513 (2002) (“Rule 8(a)’s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil
actions, with limited exceptions.”).
responsible for violating his rights, it does not comply with the requirements of
Rule 8. The court will permit Plaintiff to engage in discovery in order to
determine the identities of the appropriate Defendants, however. Plaintiff may
then file an amended complaint.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants’ motion for a more definite
statement is GRANTED. Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint by December
s/John Corbett O’Meara
United States District Judge
Date: October 19, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon
counsel of record on this date, October 19, 2017, using the ECF system.
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