United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
MORALES HOWARD UNITED SLATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court sua sponte.
Plaintiff initiated the instant action on February 20, 2018,
by filing a two-count Complaint (Doc. 1). Upon review, the
Court finds that the Complaint constitutes an impermissible
“shotgun pleading.” A shotgun complaint contains
“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.” See Weiland
v. Palm Beach Cnty. Sheriff's Office, 792 F.3d 1313,
1321 & n.11 (11th Cir. 2015) (collecting cases). As a
result, “most of the counts . . . contain irrelevant
factual allegations and legal conclusions.”
Strategic Income Fund, L.L.C. v. Spear, Leeds &
Kellogg Corp., 305 F.3d 1293, 1295 (11th Cir. 2002).
Consequently, in ruling on the sufficiency of a claim, the
Court is faced with the onerous task of sifting out
irrelevancies in order to decide for itself which facts are
relevant to a particular cause of action asserted. See
id. Here, Count II of the Complaint incorporates by
reference all allegations of all the preceding count.
See Complaint at 4.
Eleventh Circuit, shotgun pleadings of this sort are
“altogether unacceptable.” Cramer v. State of
Fla., 117 F.3d 1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 1997); see also
Cook v. Randolph County, 573 F.3d 1143, 1151 (11th Cir.
2009) (“We have had much to say about shotgun
pleadings, none of which is favorable.”) (collecting
cases). Indeed, the Eleventh Circuit has engaged in a
“thirty-year salvo of criticism aimed at shotgun
pleadings, and there is no ceasefire in sight.” See
Weiland, 792 F.3d at 1321 & n.9 (collecting cases).
As the Court in Cramer recognized, “[s]hotgun
pleadings, whether filed by plaintiff or defendant, exact an
intolerable toll on the trial court's docket, lead to
unnecessary and unchanneled discovery, and impose unwarranted
expense on the litigants, the court and the court's
parajudicial personnel and resources.” Cramer,
117 F.3d at 1263. When faced with the burden of deciphering a
shotgun pleading, it is the trial court's obligation to
strike the pleading on its own initiative, and force the
plaintiff to replead to the extent possible under Rule 11,
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See id.
(admonishing district court for not striking shotgun
complaint on its own initiative); see also Weiland,
792 F.3d at 1321 n.10 (“[W]e have also advised that
when a defendant fails to [move for a more definite
statement], the district court ought to take the initiative
to dismiss or strike the shotgun pleading and give the
plaintiff an opportunity to replead.”). Accordingly, it
Complaint (Doc. 1) is STRICKEN.
Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint consistent with the
directives of this Order on or before March 9,
2018. Failure to do so may result in a dismissal of
Defendants shall respond to the amended complaint in
accordance with the requirements of Rule 15 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure.
 The Court also notes that Plaintiff
names fictitious parties, “Does 1-10, ” as
defendants to this action. See Complaint at 1.
Plaintiff identifies these Doe Defendants as
“individual collectors employed by MediCredit.”
Id. at 2. “As a general matter,
fictitious-party pleading is not permitted in federal
court.” See Richardson v. Johnson, 598 F.3d
734, 738 (11th Cir. 2010). However, the Eleventh Circuit
Court of Appeals does recognize a “limited exception to
this rule” where “the plaintiff's description
of the defendant is so specific” that the use of the
name Doe is “‘at the very worst,
surplusage.'” Id. (quoting Dean v.
Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1215-16 (11th Cir. 1992)). Thus,
in Dean, the Eleventh Circuit found that the
exception applied where the pro se plaintiff provided a
description of the John Doe defendant that “was
sufficiently clear to allow service of process” on the
correct individual. See Dean, 951 F.2d at 1216. As
such, in his amended complaint, Plaintiff should either omit
the Doe Defendants or provide additional allegations
specifically describing who they are such ...