Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quick Question -- Can I Incorporate All Prior Allegations Into Each Subsequent Claim for Relief?

Beetle Shotgun

Let's discuss the acceptable level of crushed "common warehouse beetle" in your average serving of Similac baby formula.

I say 14 beetles per serving is acceptable, you say 10 is just right for our little tyke.

Ain't the free market grand?

But poor plaintiff's counsel had some trouble getting his beetles out of the box, so to speak, and Judge Cohn had to explain a few things:
Here, the eight-count Amended Complaint incorporates all of the “foregoing allegations” by reference into each subsequent claim for relief. See, e.g., Amended Complaint at 13. In other words, Plaintiff has filed a shotgun complaint. See Ferrell v. Durbin, 311 Fed. App’x 253, 259 (11th Cir. 2009) (“In shotgun style pleading, the complaint incorporates all of the general factual allegations by reference into each subsequent claim for relief.”). The Eleventh Circuit “has had much to say about shotgun pleadings, none of which is favorable.” Davis v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 516 F.3d 955, 979 n. 54 (11th Cir. 2008) (“[S]ince 1985 we have explicitly condemned shotgun pleadings upward of fifty times.”); Strategic Income Fund, LLC v. Spear, Leeds & Kellogg Corp., 305 F.3d 1293, 1295 n.9 (11th Cir. 2002) (“This court has addressed the topic of shotgun pleadings on numerous occasions in the past, often at great length and always with great dismay.”); Byrne v. Nezhat, 261 F.3d 1075, 1131 (11th Cir. 2001) (“Shotgun pleadings, if tolerated, harm the court by impeding its ability to administer justice.”); Anderson v. D. Bd. of Trs. of Central Fla. Cmty. Coll., 77 F.3d 364, 367 (11th Cir. 1996) (“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.”). Consequently, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint, in its entirety, for this reason.
This drives me insane.

I mean Brian Tannebaum-with-crappy-internet-lawyer-marketers level insane.

Is there any reason -- ever -- to do this?  Even by accident?

Personally to me it's worse than a typo, it's sort of an intentional effort to purposely look foolish.

Congrats, you've succeeded!


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, despite all those federal cases (and there are plenty of state cases frowning on the practice of incorporating all prior allegations), attorneys still do that in their complaint. These same attorneys are usually the ones who also ask for punitives and attorneys' fees (without contract or stat.) basis in their ad damnum clauses, just asking for a dismissal. Some ask for 57.105s in their complaint, too. Douches.

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