Ruggiero v. Mobil Crisis Team
A court can dismiss a complaint that does not include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). In March 2012, the pro se plaintiff, Nicholas Ruggiero, filed a 332-page complaint alleging medical malpractice, forced medication and denial of medical care. In April, Ruggiero filed an amended, 219-page complaint that included new legal claims. Because the amended complaint did not amend the original complaint, Ruggiero's complaints were 551 pages. In May, Ruggiero filed another amended complaint, with new legal claims and what the court considered "incoherent ramblings" that included conversations with defendants that were unrelated to health care claims. This amendment brought the page count for his complaints to 678 pages. In July, Ruggiero requested permission to amend, to include the names of previously unnamed defendants. Ruggiero assumed that the court would make changes to his earlier complaints and included directions on the changes. To incorporate the proposed amendments, the court would be required to review 678 pages of complaints and to create a cohesive document. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides, "A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain," among other things, "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." The 2nd Circuit, in a 1988 decision, Salahuddin v. Cuomo, wrote, "The statement should be plain because the principal function of pleadings under the Federal Rules is to give the adverse party fair notice of the claim asserted so as to enable him to answer and prepare for trial." Pursuant to the 2nd Circuit's 2010 decision, Shomo v. State of New York, "[A] court has the power to dismiss a complaint that is `prolix.' " Ruggiero did not comply with Rule 8(a). "Aside from the sheer volume of these documents," wrote the court, "Ruggiero's submissions are rambling, verbose, at times incoherent and . . . include random extraneous material the purpose of which the Court is unable to discern." The court denied Ruggiero's motion to amend and dismissed his complaints, without prejudice.