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Marfut v. Gardens of Gulf Cove POA, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division

February 5, 2018

CHRISTINE E. MARFUT, Plaintiff,
v.
THE GARDENS OF GULF COVE POA, INC, JOHN ANDERSON, BREEN LUCILLE, JACK ARLINGHAUS, DAHL HERMAN, FRED STREIF, NAJMY THOMPSON PL, STEPHEN W. THOMPSON, JOSEPH NAJMY, LOUIS NAJMY, RICHARD WELLER, RANDOLF L. SMITH and MICHAEL J. SMITH, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER [1]

          SHERI POLSTER CHAPPELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Najmy Thompson, P.L., Stephen W. Thompson, Joseph Najmy, Louis Najmy, Richard Weller, Randolph L. Smith, and Michael J. Smith's (collectively “Najmy Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 25) filed on November 27, 2017. Pro se Plaintiff Christine E. Marfut (“Marfut”) filed an objection to the Najmy Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 31) on December 8, 2017. Defendants Gardens of Gulf Coast POA, Inc., Lucille Breen, Herman Dahl, Jack Arlinghaus, Fred Streif, and John Anderson (collectively “Association Defendants”) filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 30) on December 5, 2017, and a Second Motion to Dismiss[2] (Doc. 38) on January 4, 2018.

         In addition, this Court will consider Marfut's Motion to Strike (Doc. 33) Najmy Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, and her Motion to Strike (Doc. 39) Association Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. The Najmy Defendants filed a Response to Marfut's Motion to Strike (Doc. 45) on January 11, 2018. The Association Defendants filed a Response to Marfut's Motion to Strike (Doc. 48) on January 22, 2018. These matters are ripe for review.

         BACKGROUND

         As best the Court can discern, the pertinent facts are as follows. This matter stems from fraudulent actions associated with an ongoing state foreclosure case. (Doc. 1). Marfut owns a home in Port Charlotte, Florida, and is a member of a homeowner's association, Gardens of Gulf Cove, POA. (Doc. 1 at 2). Defendants John Anderson, Breen Lucille, Jack Arlinghaus, Herman Dahl, and Fred Streif are officers or directors at Gardens of Gulf Cove, POA. (Doc. 1 at 2). Defendant Najmy Thompson, PL is the law firm responsible for collections for Gardens of Gulf Cove, POA, and Stephen W. Thompson, Joseph Najmy, Louis Najmy, Richard Weller, Randolph L. Smith, and Michael J. Smith are principal members or associates at that law firm. (Doc. 1 at 2).

         According to Marfut, Defendants engaged in calculated fraudulent actions in an attempt to obtain title to her home through an ongoing foreclosure case. (Doc. 1) In particular, Defendants fabricated debt, fined Marfut illegally, and falsified amounts owed by Marfut. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 8, 12, 52). Defendants then created fraudulent liens on Marfut's home that serve as the basis for the foreclosure action. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 8, 12, 52). In response, Marfut brought this action and seeks injunctive relief stopping the foreclosure action and monetary damages. (Doc. 1).

         Now, Defendants move to dismiss Marfut's Complaint under various legal theories. And Marfut seeks to strike Defendants' Motions under Rule 12(f). After review, the Court denies Marfut's Motions to Strike and dismisses the Complaint.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Motion to Strike

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f), a “court may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Rule 12(f) motions are limited to striking pleadings, which include complaints, answers, and a reply to an answer. SeeFed. R. Civ. P. 12(f); see alsoFed. R. Civ. P. 7 (limiting pleadings to complaints, answers, and certain replies). So these type of motions cannot be used to strike other motions. See Feingold v. Budner, 08-80539-CIV, 2008 WL 4610031, at *3 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 10, 2008). Further, motions to strike are considered dramatic remedies and are disfavored by courts. See Blake v. Batmasian, 318 F.R.D. 698, 700 (S.D. Fla. 2017); Gilbert v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 95 F.Supp.3d 1358, 1361 (M.D. Fla. 2015).

         B. Motion to Dismiss

         A pleading must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1). Rule 8 also requires that defendants have sufficient notice of the claims against them. See Carvel v. Godley, 404 Fed.Appx. 359, 361 (11th Cir. 2010). Shotgun pleadings, which have been consistently condemned by the Eleventh Circuit, are the antithesis of a short and plain statement under Rule 8. See Magluta v. Samples, 256 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2001). These type of pleadings fall into four categories:

[t]he most common type-by a long shot-is 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. The next most common type, at least as far as our published opinions on the subject reflect, is a complaint that does not commit the mortal sin of re-alleging all preceding counts but is guilty of the venial sin of being replete with conclusory, vague, and immaterial facts not obviously connected to any particular cause of action. The third type of shotgun pleading is one that commits the sin of not separating into a different count each cause of action or claim for relief. Fourth, and finally, there is the relatively rare sin of 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 County Sheriff's Off., 792 F.3d 1313, 1321-23 (11th Cir. 2015). The tether that ties these pleadings together is the failure to give defendant's notice of the claims against them. Id. Against that ...


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