Shotgun Tjoflat!

You know how in federal court you always incorporate all your prior counts into your next count, just to be safe?That way if you miss an allegation on page 47, count XVI, you can always refer the judge to earlier allegation in a different count 34 pages back.Works like a charm!(What, you guys don’t do that?)

Neither does Judge Tjoflat:

The amended complaint contains 151 paragraphs and ten counts. Seventy-three paragraphs precede Count I…..

Uh oh.

Count I incorporates paragraphs one through seventy-three, and each of the nine succeeding counts incorporates all preceding counts, such that Count X amounts to an amalgamation of all counts of the complaint.

This is not good. I smell a rant coming on….

The amended complaint is a typical shotgun pleading. This court has condemned such pleadings in a series of cases stretching back at least as far as Pelletier v. Zweifel, 921 F.2d 1465, 1517–18 (11th Cir. 1991) (describing such pleadings as “replete with factual allegations that could not possibly be material to any of the causes of action they assert”), and we do so once more here. Shotgun pleadings impede the administration of the district courts’ civil dockets in countless ways. The district court, faced with a crowded docket and “whose time is constrained by the press of other business, is unable to squeeze the case down to its essentials.” Johnson Enters. of Jacksonville, Inc. v. FPL Group, Inc., 162 F.3d 1290, 1333 (11th Cir. 1998). It is therefore left to this court to sort out on appeal the meritorious issues from the unmeritorious ones, resulting in “a massive waste of judicial and private resources; moreover, ‘the litigants suffer, and society loses confidence in the court[s’] ability to administer justice.’” Id. (quoting Ebrahimi v. City of Huntsville Bd. of Educ., 114 F.3d 162, 165 (11th Cir. 1997)) (alteration in Johnson Enters.).

Hmm, I wonder how the judge is going to rule?

Seriously, since it’s been a while since I’ve seen a complaint in which each count incorporates the last, I wanted to confirm that the amended complaint incorporates all prior paragraphs into each count, and actually it does not.

The complaint is not a work of art by any stretch, but to be fair each count seems to incorporate all the precatory paragraphs 1 through 73 that precede the first count beginning on paragraph 74, but not each successive count.

Thus, count X (which begins on paragraph 150), incorporates paragraphs 1 through 73 but no other paragraphs.

I still agree with the Judge’s basic point, which if I’m not mistaken amounts to:

You can’t make a record if you ain’t got nothin’ to sayYou can’t make a record if you ain’t got nothin’ to say

You can’t play music if you don’t know nothin’ to play