United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
NAVTECH U.S. SURVEYORS USSA INC. and NAVTECH U.S. CAPTAIN U.S. SURVEYORS LLC, a Florida corporation, as successor to Navtech U.S. Captain U.S. Surveyors, Inc. Plaintiffs,
BOAT/U.S. INC., Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER 
POLSTER CHAPPELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint With Prejudice
(Doc. 30), and Plaintiffs Navtech U.S. Surveyors USSA Inc.
and Navtech U.S. Captain U.S. Surveyors LLC's
(collectively “Navtech”) Response in Opposition
(Doc. 33). Navtech also requests oral argument. For the
reasons below, the Motion to Dismiss is granted to the extent
that Counts I, II, and III of the Amended Complaint (Doc. 29)
are dismissed on shotgun pleading grounds with leave to amend
Count I, and Count IV is dismissed with leave to amend. The
request for oral argument is denied.
facts are based on the Amended Complaint (Doc. 29),
which the Court must accept as true at this stage of
litigation: Navtech provides marine survey education and
licensing and has subscribing members who include marine
surveyors. Virtually all those in need of marine surveys -
and particularly insurance companies such as Defendant -
require that the surveyor hold professional
“accreditation” with one of the accrediting
bodies: Navtech, the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors
(SAMS), or the National Association of Marine Surveyors
(NAMS). Navtech is a competitor of SAMS and NAMS. Pertinent
here, Navtech says that Defendant refers marine survey
opportunities to a preferred list of licensed marine
surveyors who belong not to Navtech but to NAMS and SAMS. In
fact, Defendant flat out rejects Navtech surveys. Plaintiffs
allege that Defendant has entered into an illegal rebate
operation with NAMS and SAMS as its preferred organizations
for marine surveys and receives improper kickbacks for
steering surveyors in their direction.
Court previously dismissed the initial Complaint (filed in
state court prior to removal) without prejudice, in part because
it was a shotgun pleading that incorporated all previous
paragraphs into each count and contained typographical
errors, missing information, and incomplete sentences.
See Doc. 28 at 3-4 (citing Weiland v. Palm Beach
Cnty. Sherriff's Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1321 (11th
Cir. 2015) (stating an impermissible shotgun pleading is when
“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” (footnote omitted); Vibe Micro, Inc. v.
Shabanets, 878 F.3d 1291, 1295 (11th Cir. 2018)
(“Courts in the Eleventh Circuit have little tolerance
for shotgun pleadings.” (citations omitted)). The Court
also assessed the merits and found that the Complaint did not
state plausible claims for tortious interference with
business relations due to conclusory allegations, and for a
FDUTPA violation due to the failure to identify any deceptive
and unfair practices that caused damages. (Doc. 28 at 4-5).
The Court allowed Plaintiffs leave to amend to address these
filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 29) on July 29, 2019,
asserting four causes of action against Boat/U.S., all based
on an alleged agreement between Boat/U.S. and SAMS/NAMS.
I: Violation of Federal Antitrust Statute, 15 U.S.C.
§ 1 through [ ] Violation of Florida Statute
§ 626.730 (Insurance Regulation 4-40)
II: Intentional Interference with Prospective
III: Intentional Interference with Existing Business
IV: Violation of Florida's Unfair and Deceptive
Counts II, III
Amended Complaint remains a shotgun pleading as to Counts II
and III, which incorporate all previous paragraphs before
them (Doc. 29 at ¶¶ 66, 85), and Defendant moves to
dismiss with prejudice on this basis alone (Doc. 30 at
20-21). See Jackson v. Bank of America, 898 F.3d
1348, 1357 (11th Cir. 2018) (stating that district court
retain the authority to dismiss a shotgun pleading on that
basis alone); Weiland, 792 F.3d at 1320 (explaining
that the district court retains “inherent authority to
control its docket and ensure the prompt ...