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Plumhoff v. Central Mortgage Co.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

December 19, 2017



          James K. Bredar Chief Judge.

         Michael Plumhoff (“Plaintiff”) filed suit against Central Mortgage Company, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”), Brock & Scott, PLLC, Steven Plaisance, Kyle Leukota, and Buonassissi Henning & Lash, PC (collectively “Defendants”), alleging a plethora of federal and state constitutional, statutory, and common law claims stemming from Defendants' attempts to foreclose on Plaintiff's home after he failed to make payments due under the terms of a loan secured by the home. Now pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint with Prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), 12(b)(1), and 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 16.) The issues have been briefed (ECF Nos. 16 & 20), and no hearing is required, Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons explained below, Defendants' motion to dismiss will be GRANTED.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, originally filed this multi-faceted complaint against the above-named defendants on February 24, 2017.[1] The original complaint, which was sixty-one pages, was labeled “Complaint for Civil RICO Violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Sections 1962(a), 1962(c), 1962(d).” (ECF No. 1.) In addition to alleging that Defendants violated various provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), the complaint also alleged an assortment of other federal and state constitutional, statutory, and common law claims. Plaintiff's original complaint was a winding morass of improper legal conclusions and arguments. Accordingly, the Court informed Plaintiff that the complaint failed to comply with Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure because it did not include: (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon which this court has jurisdiction (specifically what defendants allegedly did to violate plaintiff's rights); (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that plaintiff is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for judgment for the relief plaintiff seeks. (ECF No. 2.) The Court then granted plaintiff twenty-one days to file an amended complaint in accordance with Rule 8(a). (Id.)

         On March 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 3.) The amended complaint, which was sixty-seven pages, added headings titled “Short Plain Statement of the Grounds Upon Which This Court Has Jurisdiction and the Claim Upon Which the Plaintiff Is Entitled to Relief” and “Short Plain Statement of the Relief Sought, ” apparently in an attempt to respond to the Court's prior directive. The amended complaint, however, remained generally ambiguous, unintelligible, and vexatious. Accordingly, the Court informed Plaintiff that the amended complaint still failed to satisfy Rule 8(a) for all the same reasons previously stated by the Court. (ECF No. 6.) The Court again granted Plaintiff twenty-one days to correct the deficiencies in his complaint and instructed him to file a clear and concise pleading. (Id.)

         On May 2, 2017, Plaintiff filed his Seconded Amended Complaint, which is the operative complaint currently before the Court. Aside from being one page longer than the previous complaint, the current complaint does not appear to be materially distinguishable from its predecessor. As best the Court can tell, Plaintiff added some additional detail under the section of the complaint titled “Short Plain Statement of the Relief Sought.” However, given the general redundancy and disorganization of the complaint (as well as its predecessors), and Plaintiff's failure to identify the amendments as required by Local Rule 103.6(c), the Court is unable to identify any other potential revisions made by Plaintiff.

         II. Rule 8(a) Pleading Requirements

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) imposes a baseline standard to which all complaints must adhere. A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Moreover, “[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). The rule is intended to: “give fair notice of the claim being asserted” to the adverse party; “sharpen the issues to be litigated”; and “confine discovery and the presentation of evidence at trial within reasonable bounds.” T.M. v. D.C., 961 F.Supp.2d 169, 173-74 (D.D.C. 2013) (quoting Brown v. Califano, 75 F.R.D. 497, 498 (D.D.C. 1977)). The rule “accords the plaintiff wide latitude in framing his claims for relief, ” id. at 174 (quoting Brown, 75 F.R.D. at 499), however, because “the proper length and level of clarity for a pleading cannot be defined with any great precision, ” a plaintiff's compliance with Rule 8 is ultimately left to “the discretion of the trial court, ” Stone v. Warfield, 184 F.R.D. 553, 555 (D. Md. 1999) (quoting 5 Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § 1217 (2d ed. 1990)). And while a pro se plaintiff is generally afforded more latitude than a party represented by counsel, “even pro se litigants [must] state their claims in a[n] understandable and efficient manner.” Stone, 184 F.R.D. at 555.

         Accordingly, a district court “is not obliged to ferret through a [c]omplaint, searching for viable claims.” Wynn-Bey v. Talley, No. RWT-12-3121, 2012 WL 5986967, at *2 (D. Md. Nov. 28, 2012). On the contrary, courts have “unhesitatingly dismissed actions where the complaint:

• consisted of “a labyrinthian prolixity of unrelated and vituperative charges that def(y) comprehension, ” Prezzi v. Schelter, 469 F.2d 691, 692 (2d Cir. 1972), cert. denied, 411 U.S. 935 (1973);
• was “confusing, ambiguous, redundant, vague and, in some respects, unintelligible, ” Wallach v. City of Pagedale, Missouri, 359 F.2d 57, 58 (8th Cir. 1966);
• was “so verbose, confused and redundant that its true substance, if any, is well disguised, ” Corcoran v. Yorty, 347 F.2d 222, 223 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 382 U.S. 966 (1965);
• contained “a completely unintelligible statement of argumentative fact, ” Koll v. Wayzata State Bank, 397 F.2d 124, 125 (8th Cir. 1968), with “little more than demands, charges, and conclusions, ” Burton v. Peartree, 326 F.Supp. 755, 758 (E.D. Pa. 1971);
• represented “circuitous diatribes far removed from the heart of the claim, ” Prezzi v. Berzak,57 ...

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