Webb v. Warden
A court can dismiss a prison inmate's complaint, if the prisoner does not comply with requirements that plaintiffs provide 'a short and plain statement of the claim.' Daniel Webb, a death row inmate at Northern Correctional Institution, filed a civil-rights complaint against 13 employees of the Department of Correction. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 requires that the complaint contain 'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.' In Infanti v. Sharpf, a 2008 decision from the Eastern District of New York, the court wrote, 'Complaints which ramble, which needlessly speculate, accuse and condemn, and which contain circuitous diatribes far removed from the heart of the claim . . . must be dismissed.' Webb's complaint was 44 single-spaced, handwritten pages. A supplement that was 132 pages accompanied the complaint. The subject matter of the complaint alleged that the defendants violated the plaintiff's rights under the First Amendment and that he was subjected to excessive force, inhumane conditions of confinement, threats and harassment, and false disciplinary reports. Webb's complaint did not comply with F.R.C.P. 8. It also did not comply with joinder rules in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20 that restrict permissive joinder of claims against multiple defendants, unless the claims arise out of the same transaction and involve common issues of law and fact. Webb's allegations of excessive force are not connected to his First Amendment claims. The court dismissed the complaint without prejudice. Webb can file an amended complaint, on or before July 26, provided that he furnishes a short and concise statement of claims and does not attempt to join unrelated claims against multiple defendants.