United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
EARNEST J. FILES, JR., Plaintiff,
JULIAN M. KING, Talladega County Senior Circuit Court Judge, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
Scott Coogler, United States District Judge.
a pro se prisoner action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. The initial complaint and its supporting
exhibits totaled 59 pages, named 30 defendants, and presented
allegations in large part in a narrative form. (Doc. 1).
Additionally, the complaint and exhibits asserted multiple
unrelated claims in violation of Rules 18(a) and 20(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Finding that the complaint
and supporting exhibits constituted a “shotgun”
pleading, on March 10, 2017, the magistrate judge ordered the
plaintiff to re-plead his complaint in a way that complied
with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and which allowed
the court to accurately determine the claims he was
asserting. (Doc. 5). The magistrate judge warned the
plaintiff that the court could dismiss this action if he
failed to comply with the order. (Id. at 3).
April 10, 2017, the plaintiff filed a 66-page “Motion
to Replead Complaint” that included the proposed
complaint and supporting exhibits. (Doc. 7). The proposed
complaint set forth a prolific number of claims spanning a
five-year time period, the majority of which bore no relation
to the 41 different defendants. (Id.). A large number of
the claims consisted of vague and conclusory allegations.
Plaintiff repeated these allegations nearly verbatim against
multiple defendants, with little if any distinguishing facts
from one defendant to the next. The magistrate judge
concluded the proposed complaint also constituted a
“shotgun” pleading, and denied the motion to
re-plead the complaint. (Doc. 8). However, the court afforded
plaintiff a second opportunity to file a re-pleaded complaint
in compliance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and
the magistrate judge's prior order. The magistrate judge
again warned the plaintiff that the court could dismiss this
action if he failed to comply with the order. (Id.
pending before the court is the plaintiff's second
amended complaint (doc. 9) and “Supplemental
Pleading” (doc. 10). Together, the second amended
complaint and supplement thereto consist of 71 pages of
pleadings and exhibits against 36 defendants. The second
amended complaint and supplemental complaint comprise numerous
unrelated claims against different defendants over a
five-year period. Again, plaintiff states these claims in
mostly conclusory fashion and repeats many claims nearly
verbatim against multiple defendants, with little if any
distinguishing facts from one defendant to the next.
Therefore, court deems the second amended complaint and the
supplemental complaint “shotgun” pleadings.
courts [must] undertake the difficult, but essential, task of
attempting to narrow and define the issues from the earliest
stages of the litigation. Absent such efforts, shotgun notice
pleadings of the sort filed by” the plaintiff
“would impede the orderly, efficient, and economic
disposition of disputes.” Ebrahimi v. City of
Huntsville Bd. of Educ., 114 F.3d 162, 165 (11th Cir.
1997). For that reason, the Eleventh Circuit has condemned
shotgun pleadings “for decades.” Nurse v.
Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, 618 Fed.Appx. 987, 990 (11th
Cir. 2015) (citing Davis v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
Consol., 516 F.3d 955, 979, 985 n.54 (11th Cir. 2008)
(“[S]ince 1985 we have explicitly condemned shotgun
pleadings upward of fifty times.”)).
District Court “possesses the inherent power to police
its docket, ” including imposing “formal
sanctions upon dilatory litigants.” Mingo v. Sugar
Cane Growers Co-op of Fla., 864 F.2d 101, 102 (11th Cir.
1989). Such sanctions “can range from a simple
reprimand to an order dismissing the action with or without
prejudice.” Id. Where a court has forewarned a
litigant, “‘dismissal upon disregard of an order,
especially where the litigant has been forewarned, generally
is not an abuse of discretion.'” Sheraton
Atlanta Hotel, 618 Fed.Appx. at 990 (quoting Moon v.
Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1989)).
“[J]udicial resources are far too scarce to be
exploited by litigants who, after being specifically advised
about how to correct their errors and warned that failing to
do so will result in dismissal . . ., continue in their
recalcitrance.” Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, 618
Fed.Appx. at 991.
instance, the court warned the plaintiff on two separate
occasions of the deficiencies in his pleadings in specific
detail, gave him two chances to comply, and warned him of the
consequences of failing to do so. Accordingly, the court
finds that this action is due to be DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE, pursuant to Rule 41(b) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, based upon the plaintiff's
failure to comply with prior orders of the
court. T he court will enter a separate order
court DIRECTS the Clerk to serve the plaintiff with a copy of
 The plaintiff declared authorities
unlawfully detained him in the Talladega County Jail after
his February 2012 false arrest and set forth numerous
constitutional claims against a number of defendants
concerning various stages of the ongoing criminal proceedings
against him. The plaintiff also complained authorities had
housed him in an isolation cell of the jail's special
needs unit that goes “from hot to cold;” the cell
had feces everywhere for three days in April 2013; he had
been “tortured medically and physically;”
defendants Hurst and Adams kicked his legal documents onto
the floor and tased him in August 2014; defendants Hallmark
and Williams forced him to leave his cell and destroyed his
legal documents and personal property in May 2016; defendants
Adams and Hallmark “shook” him “down”
in October 2016; defendants Hallmark, Denham and Garney
“ransacked” his cell in November 2016; he
received a retaliatory disciplinary on January 29, 2017,
which lacked proper due process protections; defendant Liner
deprived him of newspapers, magazines, and religious books;
he tried to “access the courts, ” but defendants
Smith and Brown repeatedly denied him the opportunity to
“buy legal envelopes”; defendants Adams,
Hamilton, Liner, Brown, and Smith read his incoming mail,
including attorney mail; defendant Adams wrote a retaliatory
jail incident report in April 2017; and six medical and four
law enforcement defendants abruptly ended his Tramadol,
UItram, and Ultracet prescriptions.
 The second amended complaint contains
21 pages and names 21 defendants. (Doc. 9). The supplemental
complaint contains 50 pages and names 15 defendants. (Doc.
In the second amended
complaint, the plaintiff declares he has been unlawfully
detained in the Talladega County Jail since his February 2012
false arrest, and sets forth numerous constitutional claims
against a number of defendants concerning various stages of
the ongoing criminal proceedings against him up to October
2013. (Doc. 9 at 6-11). From August to October 2012, the
medical and sheriff's department defendants tortured him
medically by refusing to administer his narcotic
prescription. (Id. at 12). In 2013 he was housed for
short intervals on 6 different occasions in solitary
confinement under “harsh conditions, ” there was
feces everywhere in the ...