United States District Court, E.D. New York
February 3, 2004.
JEROME WASHINGTON, Plaintiff; -against- SHERIFF EDWARD REILLY, UNDERSHERIFF MCGUIRE, UNDERSHERIFF ZUARO, UNDERSHERIFF HEAD, CAPT. MURPHY, CAPT. SANTINI, LT. BONIFACE, LT. KELLY, LT. DOLAN, LT. LETSCHER, LT. FORD, SGT. BARON, SGT. CHRISTIANSEN, SGT. SCHWAMM, SGT. NEWMAN, SGT. DAMM, SGT. CAMMARTO, SGT. JORGENSEN, C.O. BAVARO, C.O. STASTWOSKI, C.O. HARVEY, C.O. HUTCH, C.O. LITTLE, C.O. HARRISON, C.O. RODRIGUEZ, CORPORAL BARON, C.O. EVANS, LT. YANNOTA, C.O. MALLIE, CORPORAL MITCHELL, UNDERSHERIFF KOVAIS, Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOANNA SEYBERT, District Judge
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
This action was commenced by the Plaintiff Jerome Washington
("Plaintiff") on December 16, 2002. Plaintiff asserts claims, apparently
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against numerous Nassau County
employees (collectively the "Defendants"). Currently pending before the
Court is the Defendants' motion,
pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 10, to dismiss
the Amended Complaint.
It is axiomatic that the Court is required to read the Plaintiff's
pro se Complaint liberally. See Hughes v. Rowe,
449 U.S. 5, 9-10, 101 S.Ct. 173, 66 L.Ed.2d 163 (1980) (citing Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652
(1972). Moreover, at this stage of the proceedings, the Court assumes the
truth of the allegations in the Complaint. See H.J. Inc. v.
Northwestern Bell Tel. Co., 492 U.S. 229, 249-50, 109 S.Ct. 2893,
106 L.Ed.2d 195 (1989); Koppel v. 4987 Corp., 167 F.3d 125,
128 (2d Cir. 1999). The Court is further required to liberally construe
the pro se Plaintiff's papers "`to raise the strongest
arguments that they suggest.'" Soto v. Walker, 44 F.3d 169, 173
(2d Cir. 1995) (quoting Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in relevant
part, that a complaint "shall contain . . . a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,"
and "[e]ach averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise, and direct."
FED. R. CIV. P. 8. The Second Circuit has held that the purpose of this
Rule is to provide an adverse party with notice of the claims asserted
and to limit the burden imposed on both courts and litigants by
unnecessarily verbose and incoherent pleadings. See Salahuddin v.
Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42
(2d Cir. 1988). "Complaints containing only vague or conclusory
accusations and no specific facts regarding the alleged wrongdoing do not
allow defendants to frame an intelligent defense and, therefore, are
subject to dismissal." Evans v. Nassau County. 184 F. Supp.2d 238,
244 (E.D.N.Y. 2002) (collecting cases).
Rule 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth the form
that parties in a federal civil action are required to follow in
constructing their pleadings. The Rule provides that: "All averments of
claim or defense shall be made in numbered paragraphs, the contents of
each of which shall be limited as far as practicable to a statement of a
single set of circumstances; and a paragraph may be referred to by number
in all succeeding pleadings. Each claim founded upon a separate
transaction or occurrence and each defense other than denials shall be
stated in a separate count or defense whenever a separation facilitates
the clear presentation of the matters set forth." FED. R. CIV. P. 10(b).
Having reviewed the Amended Complaint, the Court finds that it runs
afoul of both Rule 8 and Rule 10. Despite the relaxed pleading
requirements for pro se litigants, and even drawing all
inferences in favor of the Plaintiff, the Amended Complaint is far too
broad and disorganized to satisfy the pleading requirements of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. First, the Court notes that although
numerous names appear in the caption of the Amended Complaint, not all of
the names appear in the body of the pleading
in connection with the factual allegations. Second, the Court notes
that the Plaintiff has filed both an "Amended Complaint" and an
affidavit. The two documents contain numerous factual allegations, some
overlapping and some unique to the individual documents. It is unclear
whether the "affidavit" is meant to supplement the pleading, however, the
Plaintiff should be aware that separate causes of action upon which he
seeks relief must be included within the pleading and cannot be annexed
in an affidavit. Third, the Court notes that the Amended Complaint does
not contain numbered paragraphs or even any form of spacing or
organization which would allow the Defendants or the Court to navigate
the narrative and discern what, if any, claims the Plaintiff properly
asserts. Finally, as a general matter, the Court finds that the factual
allegations are vague and disorganized, and as such, are far too
incomprehensible to require a party to respond to them. Forcing the
Defendants to respond to the Amended Complaint, in its current form,
would needlessly burden the Defendants.
As such, the Court finds that the Amended Complaint does not satisfy
the pleading requirements of either Rule 8 or Rule 10. However, the Court
will not dismiss the claims of the Plaintiff on their merits and this
dismissal is without prejudice. The Plaintiff is hereby GRANTED leave to
file a second amended complaint. If the Plaintiff chooses to so file, he
shall do so in accordance with the following directives:
1. The pleading shall be set forth in numbered
Each paragraph shall contain only one factual
2. The factual allegations, set forth in the
numbered paragraphs, shall, where possible, be
organized in chronological fashion.
3. Each paragraph shall be short and concise and
shall state (1) what is alleged to have
occurred; (2) where possible, the date and
location that the action is alleged to have
occurred; (3) which of the Defendants is
responsible for the alleged action; and (4) how
the alleged action is related to a deprivation
of the Plaintiff's rights.
4. If possible, the pleading shall be typewritten.
If the pleading must be handwritten, the
Plaintiff shall take care to use neat and
legible handwriting. Further, the Plaintiff
shall write only on one side of each page and
shall double space the document by skipping
lines on the page.
5. The second amended complaint must be filed with
the Court and served on the Defendants, by
mailing a copy to their attorney, on or before
April 2, 2004. Failure to file the pleading by
that date will result in dismissal of the case
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