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Stone v. URS Energy & Construction, Inc.

United States District Court, Northern District of Alabama, Eastern Division

February 24, 2015

EDWARD STONE, Plaintiff,
v.
URS ENERGY & CONSTRUCTION, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Edward Stone (“Mr. Stone”) initiated this action against Defendant URS Energy & Construction, Inc. (“URS”), [1] in the Circuit Court of Calhoun County, Alabama, on November 12, 2014. (Doc. 1-1 at 4).[2] Mr. Stone filed a second complaint in state court on December 11, 2014. (Id. at 17-21). URS removed the lawsuit to federal court on January 21, 2015, on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. (Doc. 1 at 1; id. at 3 ¶ 6).

Pending before the court is URS Motion for More Definite Statement (Doc. 4) (the “Motion”) filed on January 28, 2015. Mr. Stone never has filed any opposition to the Motion, which under Appendix III to the court’s uniform initial order (Doc. 2) was due on February 11, 2015. (See Doc. 2 at 23 ¶ B.2 (“The opponent’s responsive brief shall be filed no later than fourteen (14) calendar days thereafter.”)). Moreover, although Mr. Stone filed an amendment to his complaint (Doc. 7) on February 20, 2015, he limited the scope of that modification to simply substituting for the correct name of the defendant. (See Doc. 7 at 1 (“amend[ing] his complaint to more properly identify the defendant [only] . . .”)). Against this backdrop, the Motion is now ready for disposition, and, for the reasons explained below, is GRANTED.

II. Standards

A. Rule 12(e)

Rule 12(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides:

(e) Motion for a More Definite Statement. A party may move for a more definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive pleading is allowed but which is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a response. The motion must be made before filing a responsive pleading and must point out the defects complained of and the details desired. If the court orders a more definite statement and the order is not obeyed within 14 days after notice of the order or within the time the court sets, the court may strike the pleading or issue any other appropriate order.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e).

As the former Fifth Circuit has explained the standard on motions for a more definite statement:

The motion for more definite statement, on the other hand, involves, within the applicable standards of that rule, the exercise of that sound and considered discretion committed unavoidably and properly to the Trial Judge as he presides over the continuous process of adjudication from commencement of the litigation through pleadings, pretrial discovery, trial, submission and decision.
Under 12(e) the Court must determine whether the complaint is such that ‘a party cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive pleading.’ But the fact that a careful Judge, in the exercise of that wise discretion controlled by the prescribed principles of that rule, might so conclude does not permit him to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. ‘It may well be that petitioner’s complaint as now drawn is too vague, but that is no ground for dismissing his action. * * *.’ Glus v. Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal, 1959, 359 U.S. 231, 79 S.Ct. 760, 763, 3 L.Ed.2d 770, 774.

Mitchell v. E-Z Way Towers, Inc., 269 F.2d 126, 130 (5th ...


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