United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
S. MOODY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE comes before the Court upon Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint (Doc. 26) and
Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition (Doc. 33). Upon
review, the Court concludes that Defendants' motion
should be granted.
Bertuca used to own a property in a development with a
homeowners' association-Fox Wood at Trinity Community
Association, Inc. (“the Association”). Plaintiffs
Oliver and H.O. are former tenants of Bertuca's who
resided at the property. Plaintiffs are suing the Association
and eleven of its past and present officers for failing to
allow reasonable accommodations requested for H.O.'s
disability (Count I), retaliating against them for requesting
the reasonable accommodations (Count II), and refusing to
allow them to inspect records maintained by the Association
(Count III). Plaintiffs filed their initial complaint (Doc.
1) on March 10, 2017 and an amended complaint (Doc. 17) on
March 24, 2017.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a court to dismiss a
complaint when it fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. When reviewing a motion to dismiss, a court
must accept all factual allegations contained in the
complaint as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007) (internal citation omitted). It must also construe
those factual allegations in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Hunt v. Aimco Properties, L.P., 814 F.3d
1213, 1221 (11th Cir. 2016) (internal citation omitted).
withstand a motion to dismiss, the complaint must include
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Pleadings that offer only “labels and conclusions,
” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action, ” will not do. Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555.
argue that the Court should dismiss the First Amended
Complaint because it is a shotgun pleading that (1)
incorporates by reference all facts alleged and (2)
improperly lumps all Defendants together. The Court agrees
with Defendants' second argument.
Eleventh Circuit has instructed that “asserting
multiple claims against multiple defendants without
specifying which of the defendants are responsible for which
acts or omissions” is improper. Weiland v. Palm
Beach Cty. Sheriff's Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1323
(11th Cir. 2015). This kind of shotgun pleading
“fail[s] to one degree or another, and in one way or
another, to give the defendants adequate notice of the claims
against them and the grounds upon which each claim
Plaintiffs have filed three claims against the twelve
Defendants. Throughout the First Amended Complaint,
Plaintiffs refer to Defendants collectively and allege that
“Defendants” engaged in each action that forms
the basis for their claims. Some of these actions related to
Defendants' duties as officers of the Association;
others, like allegedly using neighbors' yards to spy on
Plaintiffs' property and advising Plaintiffs'
neighbors to file complaints against them, did not.
Plaintiffs do not distinguish between Defendants in their
factual allegations, even though it is apparent that not all
Defendants could have participated in every act complained of
(e.g., because the individual Defendants served as officers
of the Association at different times). Plaintiffs must
specify which of the twelve Defendants they believe engaged
in which conduct so that Defendants have fair notice of the
claims against them.
Plaintiffs do not yet know which, if any, of the individual
Defendants engaged in the alleged discriminatory conduct,
they should remove them from their lawsuit. If Plaintiffs
learn during discovery that officers of the Association were
personally involved in discriminatory conduct against them,
Plaintiffs can seek leave to add them as defendants at that
therefore ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that:
1. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs First Amended