United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR A MORE DEFINITE
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for a
More Definite Statement. Dkt. 11. The Court has considered
the pleadings filed regarding the motion and the remainder of
the record herein.
4, 2018, Plaintiff filed this case, moved to proceed in forma
pauperis (“IFP”), and provided a proposed
complaint. Dkt. 1 and 1-1. Plaintiff's application for
IFP was granted. Dkt. 3. Defendants now move the Court to
order Plaintiff to file an amended complaint that provides a
more definite statement of the facts of the case and his
claims for relief. Dkt. 11.
Complaint is somewhat difficult to follow. In his
“Statement of Facts, ” attached to the Complaint,
Plaintiff does assert, in part, that the Defendants violated
his due process rights when Christie Dotson and Jamie Young,
both social workers, testified in state court that Plaintiff
had a prior child abuse conviction which resulted in his
children being placed in foster care. Dkt. 4, at 7-8.
Plaintiff claims that he had no such conviction, and while
one of his children was in foster care, the child was abused.
Dkt. 4, at 8. Plaintiff's Complaint is fairly hard to
understand, but he also refers to other federal statutes and
state law claims. Dkt. 4. Plaintiff's Complaint states
that he seeks damages for himself and for his children.
ON MOTION FOR A MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT. 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. The motion must be made before filing a responsive
pleading and must point out the defects complained of and the
details desired. If the court orders a more definite
statement and the order is not obeyed within 14 days after
notice of the order or within the time the court sets, the
court may strike the pleading or issue any other appropriate
FOR A MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT. In their motion, Defendants
argue that Plaintiff's Complaint is vague and that they
are left to guess which constitutional amendments are being
alleged as violated. Dkt. 11. They note that the Complaint
“makes reference to 28 U.S.C. Code 4101 as the federal
statute for his jurisdictional basis to bring this
action.” Id. (The portion of the U.S. Code
cited is the definition section of The Securing the
Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional
Heritage Act, which provides that a U.S. “domestic
court ‘shall not recognize or enforce a foreign
[country's] judgment for defamation' unless it
satisfies both First Amendment and due process
considerations.” See Trout Point Lodge, Ltd. v.
Handshoe, 729 F.3d 481, 487 (5th Cir. 2013)(Citing 28 U.S.C.
§ 4102). It does not appear to apply in any way here).
Defendants assert that his declaration of facts Plaintiff
“cites a No. of different cases and different
constitutional amendments, ” but it is unclear upon
which facts those claims are based. Id. They assert
that although he refers to DSHS social worker Christine
Dotson in his declaration of facts, she isn't listed as a
defendant in the caption of the Complaint. Id. The
Defendants note that although Plaintiff seeks damages for his
children, they are not included as Plaintiffs. Id.
ON MOTION FOR A MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT. Defendants'
Motion for a More Definite Statement (Dkt. 11) should be
granted. The Defendants have shown that the Plaintiff's
Complaint is so vague and ambiguous that it is difficult for
them to formulate a response. Further, Plaintiff failed to
respond to the motion. Under Local Rule W.D. Wash. 7(b)(2),
“[e]xcept for motions for summary judgment, if a party
fails to file papers in opposition to a motion, such failure
may be considered by the court as an admission that the
motion has merit.”
on or before August 17, 2018, Plaintiff should be ordered to
file an amended complaint which follows the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, including Fed.R.Civ.P. 10, “Form of
Pleadings, ” which provides:
(a) Caption; Names of Parties. Every pleading must have a
caption with the court's name, a title, a file number,
and a Rule 7 (a) designation. The title of the complaint must
name all the parties; the title of other pleadings, after
naming the first party on each side, may refer generally to
(b) Paragraphs; Separate Statements. A party must state its
claims or defenses in numbered paragraphs, each limited as
far as practicable to a single set of circumstances. A later
pleading may refer by No. to a paragraph in an earlier
pleading. If doing so would promote clarity, each claim
founded on a separate transaction or occurrence--and each
defense other than a denial--must be stated in a separate
count or defense.
(c) Adoption by Reference; Exhibits. A statement in a
pleading may be adopted by reference elsewhere in the same
pleading or in any other pleading or motion. A copy of a
written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is a part
of the pleading for all purposes.
Plaintiff should follow Rule 8, including 8 (a)(2), which
provides that a complaint must contain a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Plaintiff should plainly state
what happened and what claims he is making as a result.
Plaintiff should also refer to the remaining federal rules
and the Local Rules of the Western District of Washington for
guidance. Even though he is acting pro se, he is expected to
follow all the federal and local rules. Plaintiff should be
aware that “an amended complaint supersedes the
original, the latter being treated thereafter as
non-existent.” Ramirez v. Cty. of San Bernardino, 806
F.3d 1002, 1008 (9th Cir. 2015)(internal citation and
quotation marks omitted).
is notified that failure to respond to this order by filing
an amended complaint ...