v. Gross et al
ORDER granting 154 Defendant Enerfab's motion for judgment on the pleadings. Signed on 7/29/11 by District Judge Greg Kays. (Francis, Alexandra)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JAMES F. NEWPORT,
STEPHEN DONALD GROSS, et. al.,
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
This lawsuit stems from Plaintiff pro se James Newport’s relationships with various
employers, co-workers, fellow union members, and neighbors. Newport has filed a sixty-nine
page Third Amended Complaint that brings seven different causes of action against
approximately twenty-seven different defendants. It is wide-ranging in scope and includes a
RICO conspiracy, claims under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights
Act of 1994, the Energy Reorganization Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil
Rights Acts of 1871 and 1964, and a state law defamation claim against his neighbors arising
from a dispute concerning some cottonwood trees. The common thread to these claims is that
Newport believes the defendants have all harmed him in some way.
Now before the Court is Defendant Enerfab, Inc.’s (“Enerfab”) Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings (doc. 154). Finding that the Third Amended Complaint is factually and legally
insufficient with respect to this defendant, the Motion is GRANTED.
When considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court accepts as true the
facts pled by the nonmoving party and grants all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving
party. See Syverson v. FirePond, Inc., 383 F.3d 745, 749 (8th Cir. 2004). When a 12(c)
judgment on the pleadings motion asserts procedural defects that could also form the basis of a
12(b)(6) motion, the 12(c) motion is reviewed under the same standard that governs 12(b)(6)
motions. Westcott v. Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th Cir. 1990). See also 5c Charles Alan
Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1367 (3d ed. 1998). As such, the
Twombly/Iqbal standard still applies to 8(a) challenges that are raised as a 12(c) judgment on the
pleadings. See Gentilello v. Rege, 627 F.3d 540, 544 (5th Cir. 2010) (applying Iqbal/Twombly
standard to a Rule 12(c) motion); Albrecht v. Treon, 617 F.3d 890, 893 (6th Cir. 2010) (same).
A complaint “must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). To avoid dismissal for an 8(a) deficiency, a
complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).
Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, his complaint is liberally construed. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (“[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held
to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”). That said, a pro se
complaint “still must allege sufficient facts to support the claims advanced.” Stone v. Harry, 374
F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).
Defendant Enerfab moves for Judgment on the Pleadings arguing that the complaint fails
to adhere to Rule 8(a). Defendant references several of this Court’s prior orders granting
Motions to Dismiss for 8(a) deficiencies. (Docs. 137, 138, 139, 142). The Court finds that the
Complaint contains the same deficiencies with respect to Defendant Enerfab.
mentioned only three times in the sixty-nine page Complaint, and the only direct allegations
appear as bald assertions of conspiracy and employment blacklisting. Without additional factual
content, these claims fail under the Iqbal standard. Further, the insurmountable problem with the
Complaint is that the allegations are confusing and difficult to follow, so much so that it would
be an unfair burden on Enerfab to try and interpret and decode the potential claims against it.
When a plaintiff violates Rule 8(a) a court may either grant leave to amend or simply
dismiss the complaint. In this case, after reviewing the proposed Fourth Amended Complaint, the
Court finds that granting Newport leave to amend would be futile. The allegations in the
proposed Fourth Amended Complaint of an enormous conspiracy against the Plaintiff are even
less plausible than the allegations in the Third Amended Complaint. Accordingly, all counts
against Enerfab are dismissed without prejudice.
For the foregoing reasons Defendant’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (doc.154)
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATE: July 29, 2011
/s/ Greg Kays
GREG KAYS, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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