United States District Court, S.D. Florida
WALLACE C. JONES, JR., Plaintiff,
SABRENA PAYNE, DINA KOONCE, and KARELL LAW, Defendants.
P. GAYLES, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE comes before the Court on Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended 42 U.S.C. §
1983 Civil Rights Complaint (“Amended Complaint”)
[ECF No. 39]. The Court previously dismissed Plaintiff's
Complaint because it was a shotgun pleading and granted
Plaintiff leave to replead. [ECF No. 36]. Plaintiff filed his
Amended Complaint on April 4, 2019. [ECF No. 37]. Defendants
now move for dismissal on the same grounds.
state a claim for relief, a pleading must contain “(1)
a short and plain statement of the grounds for the
court's jurisdiction . . .; (2) a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief; and (3) a demand for the relief sought.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. To survive a motion to dismiss, a claim
“must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “[T]he pleadings are
construed broadly, ” Levine v. World Fin. Network
Nat'l Bank, 437 F.3d 1118, 1120 (11th Cir. 2006),
and the allegations in the complaint are viewed in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff, Hawthorne v. Mac
Adjustment, Inc., 140 F.3d 1367, 1370 (11th Cir. 1998).
The Court must also apply the “liberal construction to
which pro se pleadings are entitled.” Holsomback v.
White, 133 F.3d 1382, 1386 (11th Cir. 1998). At bottom,
the question is not whether the claimant “will
ultimately prevail . . . but whether his complaint [is]
sufficient to cross the federal court's threshold.”
Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 530 (2011).
Amended Complaint fails to comply with the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, to which all litigants-including those who
are pro se-are bound. See Alban v. Advan, Inc., 490
F.3d 826, 829 (11th Cir. 2007) (“[A]lthough we are to
give liberal construction to the pleadings of pro se
litigants, we nevertheless have required them to conform to
procedural rules.”) (internal citation and quotation
omitted). Specifically, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
does not provide “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ”
which would give the Court and Defendants notice of
Plaintiff's claims. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It also fails
to limit each numbered paragraph “to a single set of
circumstances” or tie the alleged facts to the specific
legal theories. Id. 10(b).
Amended Complaint is also a shotgun pleading. A district
court has the obligation to identify and dismiss a
“shotgun” pleading. See Paylor v. Hartford
Fire Ins. Co., 748 F.3d 1117, 1126-27 (11th Cir. 2014).
One type of shotgun pleading “is a complaint . . .
replete with conclusory, vague, and immaterial facts not
obviously connected to any particular cause of action.”
Weiland v. Palm Beach Cnty. Sheriff's Office,
792 F.3d 1313, 1321-22 (11th Cir. 2015). Another type
“commits the sin of not separating into a different
count each cause of action or claim for relief.”
Id. at 1322-23. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
does both. First, it includes conclusory and vague facts and
fails to specify the causes of action to which they attach.
See, e.g., [ECF No. 37 ¶ 21 (noting that it was
a “deprivation” of Plaintiff's rights when
“Sabrena Payne . . . subject[ed] plaintiff to rebutting
argument”); ¶ 22 (noting that Sabrena Payne was
“unprofessional and argumentive [sic] with plaintiff
[and] refused to address his concerns of the unjustified
physical act [upon his daughter] . . .”)]. Second, it
does not allege distinct causes of action; instead, it
improperly lumps together factual allegations and legal
conclusions. See, e.g., [Id. ¶ 4
(“It was a[n] absolute deprivation of minor Amend. 4-th
[sic] right to be free from unreasonable seizure when Karell
Law, at the end of [the] school day subject[ed] her to [a]
physical manual hold for her whispering with a boy student in
[an] earlier class.”); ¶ 14 (“Karell Law,
inflicted some hellava [sic] mental anguish and emotional
stress on plaintiff, when he after the school day approached
plaintiff[‘s] vehicle driver side window, and state[d]
that he had to put plaintiff[‘s] 10 year old daughter,
. . ., in a manual hold. That he told Ms. Payne, he was going
to tell plaintiff about the matter, violative [sic] Amend.
1st Rights to be peaceful; and Amend. 4-th [sic] rights to a
just reason for physical harm to his child. Florida Cost.
Art. 1 Sec. 3 & 12.”)].
Rules seek to avoid this level of inartful pleading to ensure
orderly progression of cases. See, e.g., Gates
v. Lee Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, No. 13-0445, 2013
WL 3353317, at *2 (M.D. Fla. July 2, 2013) (noting that the
Rules require a plaintiff to “provide support in a
statement of facts for the claimed violations and then state
in separate numbered counts how [a defendant] violates [any]
rights or laws”). Without facts tied to specific causes
of action, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint cannot give
Defendants “adequate notice of the claims against them
and the grounds upon which each claim rests.”
Weiland, 792 F.3d at 1323. And though Defendants
have attempted to match Plaintiff's allegations with his
legal theories, “[w]ith these deficiencies, there is no
doubt that no [Defendants] to this action (let alone the
Court) can reasonably know what the Plaintiff intends to
allege.” Yakoub v. Tradewinds Airlines, Inc.,
No. 16-22244, 2016 WL 4264053, at *3 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 12,
2016) (citation omitted).
it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED, that this action
is DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE. Plaintiff may file a Second Amended
Complaint within twenty (20) days. If Plaintiff s Second
Amended Complaint fails to meet the appropriate standards
under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court shall
dismiss this action with prejudice.