Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Guillotte v. City of Pineville

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

November 8, 2017

RODNEY GUILLOTTE, SR. Plaintiff
v.
CITY OF PINEVILLE, ET AL. Defendants RODNEY GUILLOTTE, JR. Plaintiff
v.
CITY OF PINEVILLE, ET AL. Defendants

          DRELL, JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          JOSEPH H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is a Motion for More Definite Statement filed in each of the consolidated lawsuits captioned above. (Docs. 7). Plaintiffs have not filed oppositions.

         The motions are substantially identical. Both reference and adopt Exceptions of Vagueness filed by Defendants in state court before removal. And both seek amendments to clarify Plaintiffs' allegations in several respects.

         The allegations in Plaintiffs' Petitions do not provide Defendants with enough information about the nature of their claims to adequately respond. Therefore, Defendants' motions are granted, and Plaintiffs are ordered to amend their Petitions as set forth more specifically below.

         I. Background

         In April 2017, Plaintiffs filed two separate lawsuits in the Ninth Judicial District Court in Rapides Parish. Plaintiffs claim they were “unlawfully arrested” and “beaten” by Defendant Paul Riccardi, an officer employed by the Pineville Police Department, along with other officers. Among other claims, Plaintiffs seek damages for violations of their “Constitutional rights” and violations of “Louisiana law.” Defendants removed, asserting jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Defendants then filed the instant Motions for More Definite Statement, seeking clarification of Plaintiffs' claims.

         II. Law and Analysis

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e), “[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.” It is well settled that, “[g]iven the liberal pleading standard set forth in Rule 8(a), Rule 12(e) motions are disfavored” and should be granted sparingly. Murungi v. Texas Guaranteed, 646 F.Supp.2d 804, 811 (E.D. La. 2009). Rule 8 requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim to give the defendant fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests.” See Verret v. N. Star Marine, LLC, CIV.A. 09-3442, 2009 WL 3614502, at *1 (E.D. La. Oct. 28, 2009).

         A Rule 12(e) motion may not be used as a substitute for discovery. See Babcock & Wilcox Co. v. McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc., 235 F.R.D. 632, 633 (E.D. La. 2006). Nonetheless, a Rule 12(e) motion should be granted “[i]f a complaint is ambiguous or does not contain sufficient information to allow a responsive pleading to be framed.” Beanal v. Freeport-McMoran, Inc., 197 F.3d 161, 164 (5th Cir. 1999).

         Under Rule 12(e), a court may require a plaintiff to clarify excessive force (or similar) claims against police officers. In Ekberg v. Pennington, for instance, the plaintiff filed suit against the City of New Orleans, its police superintendent, and three police officers, alleging he was “physically abused and injured by the police officers” during a traffic stop. No. CIV.A.02-845, 2002 WL 1611641, at *1 (E.D. La. July 19, 2002). Plaintiff also alleged the city failed to adequately train its police officers. Id. The defendants removed and filed a motion to dismiss, or alternatively, a motion for a more definite statement. Id.

         The court granted the defendants' Rule 12(e) motion, reasoning as follows:

Plaintiff alleges only that he is entitled to relief under § 1983 because he was physically abused and injured by defendants Vincent George, Chris McGarity and Saunders Craine while they arrested him for a traffic violation. Plaintiff's complaint pleads nothing but conclusions and provides no guidance to defendants as to how to respond. Plaintiff fails, for example, to identify any constitutional right that was violated. He does not state whether he is suing these defendants in their individual or official capacities. He does not identify specific actions taken by any defendant that violate his rights.

Id. at *2. The court then ordered the plaintiff to identify the constitutional rights violated, the capacity in which he sued the police officers, and the ways in which each ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.