United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. BODENHAUSEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for
Leave to Amend Summons (ECF No. 6) and a review of the
Original Verified Complaint for Declaratory Judgment,
Injunctive and Other Appropriate Relief in This Petition for
Quintessential Rights of the First Amendment
(“Complaint”) (ECF No. 1).
Complaint, pro se Plaintiff seeks monetary damages,
declaratory relief, equitable relief, and injunctive relief,
naming as Defendant the United States Government. Plaintiff
purports to allege numerous constitutional violations in the
547-page Complaint with 4, 451 paragraphs. A review of the
Complaint shows that it fails to comply with the strictures
of Rule 8(a).
Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to file the Complaint
in accordance with Rule 8(a) and (e) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, which require a “short and plain
statement of the claim(s)” and “[e]ach averment
of a pleading shall be simple, concise, and direct.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) and (e). “Taken together, Rules 8(a)
and 8(e)(1) underscore the emphasis placed on clarity and
brevity by the federal pleading rules.” Ciralsky v.
Central Intelligence Agency, 355 F.3d 661, 669 (D.C.Cir.
2004). “Extreme length alone, of course, will not
always constitute a violation of Rule 8.”
Reinholdson v. Minnesota, 2002 WL 32658480 *2 (D.
Minn. 2002) (“Judges are not like pigs, hunting for
truffles buried in briefs [or Complaints].”) (quoting
United States v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d 955, 956 (7th Cir.
Complaint alleges numerous constitutional violations and
claims for relief. Violations of the short and plain
statement rule have included complaints that were too long.
See United States ex rel. Garst v. Lockheed-Martin
Corp., 328 F.3d 374, 379 (7th Cir. 2003) (finding 400
paragraphs covering 155 pages asserting numerous variations
of fraud instead of a concise statement illustrated by 400
concrete examples of fraud in violation of Rule 8); In re
Westinghouse Secs. Litigation, 90 F.3d 696, 703 (3d Cir.
1996) (finding a complaint more than 600 paragraphs and 240
pages was too long); Kuehl v. FDIC, 8 F.3d 905,
908-09 (1st Cir. 1993) (358 paragraphs in only 43 pages);
Michaelis v. Nebraska State Bar Assoc., 717 F.2d
437, 439 (8th Cir. 1983) (144 paragraphs in 98 pages);
Nevijel v. North Coast Life Ins. Co., 651 F.2d 671,
674 (9th Cir. 1981) (dismissing 98-page complaint containing
144 paragraphs). Indeed, the Supreme Court has noted the
practical importance of “sharpening and limiting the
issues” in the pleading stages, to facilitate
resolution at the final stage. O'Donnell v. Elgin,
Joliet & Eastern Ry. Co., 338 U.S. 384, 392 (1949).
547-page Complaint is by virtue of its length alone
problematic. Courts are empowered to dismiss excessively
wordy complaints because such complaints “make it
difficult for the defendant to file a responsive pleading and
make it difficult for the trial court to conduct orderly
litigation.” Vicom, Inc. v. Harbridge Merchant
Servs., Inc., 20 F.3d 771, 775-76 (7th Cir.
1994)(199-page, 385 paragraph complaint “violated the
letter and spirit of Rule 8(a)). Further, courts faced with
hopelessly verbose complaints must consider “the right
of ... defendants to be free from ... costly and harassing
litigation.” Id. at 776. An unnecessarily long
complaint makes it difficult for the Court to conduct an
orderly litigation and the Defendants to file a responsive
pleading. Id. at 775-76.
Court finds prejudice on the part of Defendant inasmuch as
the Complaint's unnecessary prolixity of the pleading
places an undue burden on the responding party.
Roberto's Fruit Mkt., Inc. v. Schaffer, 13
F.Supp.2d 390, 395 (E.D. N.Y. 1998) (quoting Salahuddin
v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42 (2d Cir. 1988))
(“[U]nnecessary prolixity in a pleading places an
unjustified burden on the court and the party who must
respond to it because they are forced to select the relevant
material from a mass of verbiage.”). The Court finds
that filing a responsive pleading to the instant Complaint
would not only be difficult but costly in terms of time and
money especially in light of the numerous legal theories
advanced in the case. Accordingly, finding the Complaint
violates Rule 8(a) and (e) to the extent that a great deal of
judicial energy and resources would have to be devoted to
restructuring the pleading and streamlining the unnecessary
matter, the Court will strike the Complaint. As a matter of
prudent case management, the Court directs Plaintiff to file
a streamlined and reorganized Amended Complaint removing
unnecessary and redundant allegations as required by Rule 8
thereby clarifying and expediting all further proceedings in
the case to the advantage of the litigants, counsel, and the
Court. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
that Plaintiff shall file an Amended Complaint in conformity
with the requirements of Rule 8 no later than March 20, 2017.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's Request for
Leave to Amend Summons as to Listing Plaintiff's Name and