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Jeffers v. RHA 2, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division

May 7, 2018

RUDYARD JEFFERS and MAURISIA JEFFERS, Plaintiffs,
v.
RHA 2, LLC; HAVENBROOK HOMES LLC; and PATRICK WHELAN, Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE

          FEDERICO A. MORENO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS CAUSE came before the Court upon Defendants' Amended Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint (D.E. 7), filed on March 28, 2018.

         THE COURT has reviewed Plaintiffs' complaint and finds that it is deficient for the reasons set forth in detail below. Addressing each count in turn:

         I. Counts I-IV - "Shotgun" pleading

         In Anderson v. District Board of Trustees of Central Florida Community College, 77 F.3d 364, 366-7 (11th Cir. 1996), the court, concerned about the ramifications of cases proceeding on the basis of "shotgun" pleadings, noted:

Experience teaches that, unless cases are pled clearly and precisely, issues are not joined, discovery is not controlled, the trial court's docket becomes unmanageable, the litigants suffer, and society loses confidence in the court's ability to administer justice.

         See also Magluta v. Samples, 256 F.3d 1282 (11th Cir. 2001); Cesnik v. Edgewood Baptist Church, 88 F.3d 902, 905 (11th Cir. 1996); L.S.T., Inc. v. Crow, 49 F.3d 679, 684 (11th Cir. 1995).

         In Weiland v. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1322-23 (11th Cir. 2015), the Eleventh Circuit explained that complaints that violate either Rule 8(a)(2) or Rule 10(b), or both, are referred to as "shotgun" pleadings and identified four "rough" categories into which they fall:

The 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. The unifying characteristic of all types of shotgun pleadings is that they fail 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 rests.

         Here, Plaintiffs are guilty 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. For example, in Count I Plaintiffs refer to "Defendant, " but Count II refers to both "Defendant" and "Defendants." As written, it is unclear which claim(s) is/are brought against which defendant(s). For this reason, the complaint is dismissed without prejudice.

         II. Count I - Breach of Contract

         Under Florida law, in order to plead a breach of contract claim, a plaintiff must assert the following: (1) the existence of a contract; (2) a breach of such contract; and (3) damages resulting from such breach. Bray & Gillespie Mgmt. LLC v. Lexington Ins. Co., 527 F.Supp.2d 1355 (M.D. Fla. 2007). Here, Plaintiffs have satisfied the first and second requirements by showing the existence of the subject contract and alleging a breach of that contract. However, Plaintiffs have failed to satisfy the third requirement by pleading damages generally, instead of specifying which damages are the result of the breach of contract. For this reason, Count I is dismissed without prejudice.

         III. Count II - Negligence

         Plaintiffs allege that Defendant negligently failed to perform the duties in the rental agreement. However, "under Florida law, even the most flagrant and unjustifiable breach of contract does not warrant tort damages unless that breach is accompanied by behavior that amounts to an independent tort." Interstate Sec. Corp. v. Hayes Corp.,920 F.2d 769, 776 (11th Cir. l99l)(internal citations and quotations omitted). Because Plaintiffs' allegation of negligence relies solely on Defendant's/Defendants' alleged ...


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