United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
KEITH WATKINS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
he was seriously injured in a workplace accident, Plaintiff
Jerry Hamby filed a “shotgun complaint” against
Defendant Baylor Trucking and others. Baylor Trucking now
moves to dismiss several of Hamby's claims. It also moves
for a more definite statement of his complaint. (Doc. # 3.)
Both motions are due to be granted.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
court has diversity subject-matter jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a). The named parties are completely
diverse (Doc. # 1, at 3), and the court ignores the
citizenship of Defendants sued under fictitious names.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(1). Baylor Trucking has
shown that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. (Doc.
# 1, at 4-6.) See Williams v. Best Buy Co., 269 F.3d
1316, 1319 (11th Cir. 2001). No. one contests personal
jurisdiction or venue.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) “tests the sufficiency of the complaint
against the legal standard set forth in Rule 8: ‘a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.'” Wilborn v.
Jones, 761 Fed.Appx. 908, 910 (11th Cir. 2019) (per
curiam) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). The Supreme Court
wrote the grading rubric for that test in Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570). This standard “is not akin to a
‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556). Offering mere “labels and
conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. In part, that is because
legal conclusions are not entitled to a presumption of truth.
See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678- 81; McCullough v.
Finley, 907 F.3d 1324, 1333 (11th Cir. 2018). The upshot
is that a complaint must “include factual allegations
for each essential element of [each] claim.”
GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc. v. Georgia, 687 F.3d 1244,
1254 (11th Cir. 2012).
9(b) demands even more specificity whenever a complaint
alleges fraud: A party “must state with particularity
the circumstances constituting fraud.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
9(b). “Failure to satisfy Rule 9(b) is a ground for
dismissal of a complaint.” Corsello v. Lincare,
Inc., 428 F.3d 1008, 1012 (11th Cir. 2005) (per curiam).
Rule 12(e), a defendant “may move for a more definite
statement” of a complaint that “is so vague or
ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a
response.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). When faced with a
shotgun complaint, a defendant should move for a more
definite statement under Rule 12(e). Weiland v. Palm
Beach Cty. Sheriff's Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1321
n.10 (11th Cir. 2015).
December 2017, Jerry Hamby was loading a semi-trailer (the
cargo part of an eighteen-wheeler) in Chambers County,
Alabama. The trailer was not hitched to a tractor, and it had
no front axle, so a metal stand supported its front end. But
while Hamby was inside the trailer, the metal stand suddenly
broke. The trailer's front end crashed to the ground, and
the cargo inside it tumbled. As a result, Hamby was badly
hurt. (Doc. # 1-1, at 2-3.)
later filed a personal injury lawsuit in Alabama state court.
He named Baylor Trucking, the company that owned the trailer,
as a Defendant. He also named eight fictitious Defendants: A,
B, C, D, E, F, G, and X. (Doc. # 1-1, at 1-2.) The complaint
raises seven claims against each Defendant: negligence (Count
One); liability under the Alabama Extended Manufacturer's
Liability Doctrine (Count Two); strict products liability
(Count Three); failure to warn (Count Four);
misrepresentation, fraud, suppression, and deceit (Count
Five); breach of implied warranty (Count Six); and breach of
express warranty (Count Seven). (See generally Doc.
# 1-1, at 5-13.)
Trucking properly removed the action to federal court. (Doc.
# 1.) See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441(a), 1446(b);
Murphy Bros. v. Michetti Pipe Stringing, Inc., 526
U.S. 344, 347 (1999). It then moved to dismiss all of Count
Three and Count Five, as well as part of Count One. (Doc. #
3.) It also moved for a more definite statement of the
complaint. (Doc. # 3.) Those motions are now ripe.
(See Docs. # 10, 12.)