United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
DALTON M. PRAWL, Plaintiff,
CITY OF CLEARWATER, ET AL., Defendants.
VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEz COVINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court sua sponte. On August 16, 2017,
Dalton M. Prawl, who is proceeding pro se, filed his
Complaint in this Court. (Doc. # 1). For the reasons that
follow, the Complaint is dismissed without prejudice and with
leave to amend. If Prawl wishes to proceed with this action,
he should file an amended complaint by September 20, 2017.
handwritten Complaint is a rambling mass of almost
indecipherable allegations of misconduct by Defendants City
of Clearwater, the Clearwater Police Department, and the
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. (Doc. # 1).
Specifically, the Complaint, which is a filled-in form
provided by the Clerk's Office with additional pages of
allegations attached, lists the First, Fourth, Thirteenth,
and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as 18 U.S.C. §§
241, 242, and 245, and 42 U.S.C. § 14141, as the basis
for Prawl's claims. (Id. at 3).
Prawl frequently asserts that Defendants
“terrorized” and “intimidated” him
and his family over a period of three years, the facts
surrounding this harassment are unclear. For example, Prawl
flatly states that his rights were violated because
Defendants, among other things, “searched [his] home
without a warrant, ” denied him “religious
liberty through daily intimidation and segregation, ”
and “den[ied] [his] boys a place back into [an] after
school program.” (Id. at 5-7). But Prawl does
not always identify which Defendant was responsible for which
acts, beyond vaguely alleging that all Defendants have
conspired against him. And Prawl does not separate his
allegations of different types of misconduct into separate
counts, nor provide further details or dates for these
instances of misconduct.
the number of claims and defendants, the Court advises Prawl
of the pleading requirements under the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and Eleventh Circuit precedent. A complaint must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the [plaintiff] is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In addition, “[e]ach allegation
must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(d). And, “[a] party must state its claims . . . in
numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a
single set of circumstances . . . . If doing so would promote
clarity, each claim founded on a separate transaction or
occurrence . . . must be stated in a separate count . . .
.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b). “These rules work together
to require the [plaintiff] to present his claims discretely
and succinctly, so that his adversar[ies] can discern what he
is claiming and frame a responsive pleading.” Fikes v.
City of Daphne, 79 F.3d 1079, 1082 (11th Cir. 1996)(citation
shotgun pleadings are not permitted within the Eleventh
Circuit. There are four types of shotgun pleadings: (1)
“a complaint containing multiple counts where each
count adopts the allegations of all preceding counts, causing
each successive count to carry all that came before and the
last count to be a combination of the entire
complaint”; (2) a complaint . . . replete with
conclusory, vague, and immaterial facts not obviously
connected to any particular cause of action”; (3) a
“pleading . . . that [does] . . . not separat[e] into a
different count each cause of action or claim for
relief”; and (4) a complaint . . . asserting multiple
claims against multiple defendants without specifying which
of the defendants are responsible for which acts or
omissions, or which of the defendants the claim is brought
against.” Weiland v. Palm Beach Cty. Sheriff's
Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1322-23 (11th Cir. 2015). Each
“type[ ] of shotgun pleading[ ] . . . fail[s] . . . to
give the defendants adequate notice of the claims against
them and the grounds upon which each claim rests.”
Id. at 1323.
Prawl's Complaint fails to comply with these pleading
requirements, the Court dismisses the Complaint. But the
Court grants Prawl leave to file an amended complaint that
complies with the pleading requirements by September 20,
2017. If Prawl decides to file an amended complaint, he
should review the “Proceeding Without a Lawyer”
section of the Court's website. Of particular note is the
Handbook designed to help guide pro se litigants.
is also highly encouraged, though not required, to seek aid
through the legal assistance program on Tuesdays from 11:00
a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the second floor of the Sam A. Gibbons
United States Courthouse. This legal assistance program is
where pro se litigants may consult with a lawyer on a limited
basis for free. A description of this program may be found on
the Court's website under the “Proceeding Without a
ADJUDGED, and DECREED:
(1) Plaintiff Dalton Prawl's Complaint (Doc. # 1) is
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
(2) Prawl may file an amended complaint by September
20, 2017. If he elects to file an
amended complaint, Prawl must comply with the pleading
requirements as outlined in this Order.
(3) Failure to file an amended complaint by September
20, 2017, will result in dismissal and closure of