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Smothers v. State

United States District Court, D. Colorado

January 4, 2015

HEATHER IRENE SMOTHERS, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF COLORADO, DENVER POLICE DEPARTMENT, CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER, BIRTH FAMILY (If involved, were disalected [sic] 30 Yrs Ago), SHEILA CATHERINE SMOTHERS & FAMILY, All Parties and Individuals Who Became Involved in this Case as Their [sic] are Many, Too Many to List, Too Many Responsible Parties Too [sic] List, Defendants.

ORDER DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT

GORDON P. GALLAGHER, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Heather Irene Smothers currently resides in Denver, Colorado. Plaintiff initiated this action by filing pro se a Complaint and an Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepayment of Fees or Costs. Plaintiff's Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of fees or costs has been granted. The Application to Proceed Without Prepayment has been granted.

The Court must construe the Complaint liberally because Plaintiff is not represented by an attorney. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). The Court, however, should not act as a pro se litigant's advocate. See Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110. For the following reasons, the Court will direct Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint.

The Court finds that the Complaint does not comply with the pleading requirements of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The twin purposes of a complaint are to give the opposing parties fair notice of the basis for the claims against them so that they may respond and to allow the court to conclude that the allegations, if proven, show that the is entitled to relief. See Monument Builders of Greater Kansas City, Inc. v. American Cemetery Ass'n of Kansas, 891 F.2d 1473, 1480 (10th Cir. 1989). The requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 are designed to meet these purposes. See TV Communications Network, Inc. v. ESPN, Inc., 767 F.Supp. 1062, 1069 (D. Colo. 1991), aff'd, 964 F.2d 1022 (10th Cir. 1992).

Specifically, Rule 8(a) provides that a complaint "must contain: (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, ... (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and (3) a demand for the relief sought...." The philosophy of Rule 8(a) is reinforced by Rule 8(d)(1), which provides that "[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise, and direct." Taken together, Rules 8(a) and (d)(1) underscore the emphasis placed on clarity and brevity by the federal pleading rules. Prolix pleadings violate the requirements of Rule 8.

Plaintiff fails to set forth a short and plain statement of her claims showing that she is entitled to relief. The allegations are prolix and unintelligible. Plaintiff fails to complete the Jurisdiction section of the Complaint form and state the basis for jurisdiction in this Court.

A decision to dismiss a complaint pursuant to Rule 8 is within the trial court's sound discretion. See Atkins v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., 967 F.2d 1197, 1203 (8th Cir. 1992); Gillibeau v. City of Richmond, 417 F.2d 426, 431 (9th Cir. 1969). The Court, however, will give Plaintiff an opportunity to cure the deficiencies in the Complaint by submitting an Amended Complaint that meets the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8.

To state a claim in federal court Plaintiff must explain (1) what a defendant did to him; (2) when the defendant did it; (3) how the defendant's action harmed him; and (4) what specific legal right the defendant violated. Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents, 492 F.3d 1158, 1163 (10th Cir. 2007). Accordingly, it is

ORDERED that Plaintiff file an Amended Complaint that complies with the above directives, within thirty days from the date of this Order. It is

FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall obtain the Court-approved Complaint form, along with the applicable instructions at www.cod.uscourts.gov, to be used in filing the Amended Complaint. It is

FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall provide addresses of all named defendants in this action under the Parties section of the Complaint form. It is

FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall provide a list of all previous cases she has filed in this Court, under what name and case number. It is

FURTHER ORDERED that if Plaintiff fails to comply with this Order within the time allowed the Court will dismiss the action without further notice.


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