United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
Charlene Edwards Honeywell United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Declaratory Judgments (Doc. 12) and Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. 13). Although the summons has been issued,
nothing indicates that Defendants have been served. The
Court, having considered the motion and being fully advised
in the premises, will deny without prejudice Plaintiff's
Motion for Summary Judgment, and will deny Plaintiff's
Motion for Declaratory Judgments. Additionally, because the
Complaint constitutes a shotgun pleading, it will be
dismissed without prejudice.
Rule of Civil Procedure 57 “govern[s] the procedure for
obtaining a declaratory judgment under 28 U.S.C. §
2201” and allows “[t]he court [to] order a speedy
hearing of a declaratory-judgment action.” Section 2201
allows, as is relevant here, “any court of the United
States, upon the filing of an appropriate pleading, may
declare the rights and other legal relations of any
interested party seeking such declaration, whether or not
relief is or could be sought.”
causes of action in this case include various intentional
torts, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, intentional
breach of fiduciary duty, and intentional infliction of
severe emotional distress. Doc. 1 at 9. As relief, Plaintiff
requests discovery, a ruling as to all unconstitutional
actions alleged in the Complaint, judgment on all causes of
action, prejudgment interest, legal fees, money damages, and
punitive damages. Id. at 96-97. At this time, the
Complaint does not include a claim for declaratory judgment
and the Court cannot grant declaratory relief. Additionally,
because Defendants have not yet been served, a request for
judgment is premature. Simpson v. Reverse Logistic
Trends, LLC, No. CV-06-4620-NE, 2006 WL 8437422, at *1
(N.D. Ala. Dec. 1, 2006) (stating that the court could not
rule on a motion for summary judgment filed before the
defendant was served because the court had not yet acquired
jurisdiction over the defendant).
judgment is appropriate when the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, show there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A motion or
other application for an order must include a
“memorandum of legal authority in support of the
request.” M.D. Fla. L.R. 3.01(a).
moving party bears the initial burden of stating the basis
for its motion and identifying those portions of the record
demonstrating the absence of genuine issues of material fact.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; Hickson Corp. v. N.
Crossarm Co., 357 F.3d 1256, 1259-60 (11th Cir. 2004).
That burden can be discharged if the moving party can show
the court that there is “an absence of evidence to
support the nonmoving party's case.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. After a party moves for
summary judgment, the non-movant “bears the burden of
calling to the district court's attention any outstanding
discovery.” Cowan v. J.C. Penney Co., 790 F.2d
1529, 1530 (11th Cir. 1986).
the court is convinced that discovery is inadequate, it
should deny summary judgment. See Blumel v.
Mylander, 919 F.Supp. 423, 428 (M.D. Fla. 1996). As Rule
56 implies, district courts should not grant summary judgment
until the non-movant “has had an adequate opportunity
for discovery.” Snook v. Trust Co. of Ga.
Bank, 859 F.2d 865, 870 (11th Cir. 1988); see also
McCallum v. City of Athens, 976 F.2d 649, 650 (11th Cir.
1992) (noting that a party may move for summary judgment only
after exchanging “appropriate” discovery).
Indeed, “[t]he whole purpose of discovery in a case in
which a motion for summary judgment is filed is to give the
opposing party an opportunity to discover as many facts as
are available and he considers essential to enable him to
determine whether he can honestly file opposing
affidavits.” Blumel, 919 F.Supp. at 428
(quoting Parrish v. Bd. of Comm'r of the Ala. State
Bar, 533 F.2d 942, 948 (5th Cir. 1976)). The Court must
be fair to both parties, which means it must allow for an
adequate record prior to considering a motion for summary
Plaintiff filed the Motion for Summary Judgment before
Defendants have been served, before a scheduling order has
been issued, and before the time for discovery has been set.
Clearly, Defendants have not had sufficient opportunity to
develop the record. Therefore, the motion will be denied as
premature. The parties may move for summary judgment at a
later stage in these proceedings, when discovery has been
from pro se litigants are held to a less stringent
standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys. Tannenbaum
v. U.S., 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998). However,
they still must meet minimal pleading standards. Pugh v.
Farmers Home Admin., 846 F.Supp. 60, 61 (M.D. Fla.
Eleventh Circuit has repeatedly condemned the use of shotgun
pleadings for “imped[ing] the administration of the
district courts' civil docket.” PVC Windoors,
Inc. v. Babbitbay Beach Constr., N.V., 598 F.3d 802, 806
n. 4 (11th Cir. 2010). Shotgun pleadings require the court to
sift through rambling and often incomprehensible allegations
in an attempt to separate the meritorious claims from the
unmeritorious, resulting in a “massive waste of
judicial and private resources.” Id. ...