United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
Party Ulas Avci, Plaintiff, Pro Se.
Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan, Defendant, represented
by Rayford A. Farquhar, United States Attorney's Office.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING DEFENDANT'S
MOTION TO STRIKE (Dkt. No. 13)
L. CABELL, Magistrate Judge.
plaintiff, Ulas Avci, alleges in his pro se
complaint that his former employer, the United States Postal
Service (the Postal Service) retaliated against him during
the course of his employment. The defendant has moved to
"strike" and/or "dismiss" the complaint
on the ground that it "sets forth a barrage of
allegations regarding the plaintiff's claims, which defy
the requirements of a short, plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." As
discussed below, the Court recommends that the motion be
granted, without prejudice.
following allegations are taken from the complaint (Dkt. No.
1) and accepted as true for purposes of the present motion.
The plaintiff is a former employee of the Postal Service.
Prior to 2011, he worked at a postal facility in Brockton,
Massachusetts. In 2011 the plaintiff, after consideration of
plaintiffs' objections thereto (Docket No. 41), Report
and Recommendation is accepted and adopted; plaintiff may
file an amended complaint in compliance with said Report on
or before August 5, 2016. believing he'd been treated
unfairly, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), and later brought
a lawsuit (but not this lawsuit) against the Postmaster
2012, the plaintiff was hired to work at a facility called
the "NY ISC JFK unit, " presumably located in New
York. The plaintiff's supervisors there were aware that
the plaintiff had previously made complaints about perceived
improper treatment, and the complaint appears to allege the
supervisor(s) subsequently retaliated against the plaintiff
in two separate ways. First, the plaintiff's supervisor
took his time card and held it for five days before returning
it, although there is no allegation the plaintiff was
deprived of any compensation as a result. Second, the
plaintiff was directed to work on a reportedly malfunctioning
machine, which he refused to do. ( Id. at Â¶ 6).
addition to the factual allegations, the complaint contains a
number of paragraphs which, while difficult to decipher,
appear to identify and discuss evidence that was offered in a
prior EEOC proceeding. ( Id. at Â¶Â¶ 8-13). The
complaint also attaches thirteen pages of documents related
to the EEOC proceeding. ( Id. at pp. 6-19). In his
opposition to the defendant's motion, the plaintiff
explains that these documents are included as "evidences
[sic]... that may be helpful to resolve this discrimination
case." (Dkt. No. 34).
Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain "a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief." Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim is appropriate if the
plaintiff's well-pleaded facts do not "possess
enough heft to show that plaintiff is entitled to
relief." Ruiz Rivera v. Pfizer Pharm., LLC, 521
F.3d 76, 84 (1st Cir. 2008) (internal quotations and original
alterations omitted). "The relevant inquiry focuses on
the reasonableness of the inference of liability that the
plaintiff is asking the court to draw from the facts alleged
in the complaint." Cayo v. Fitzpatrick, No.
CIV.A. 13-30113-TSH, 2015 WL 1307319, at *1 (D. Mass. Mar.
24, 2015) (quoting Ocasio-HernÃ ndez v.
FortuÃ±o-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 13 (1st Cir. 2011)). To
determine whether a complaint crosses the plausibility
threshold, "the reviewing Court [must] draw on its
judicial experience and common sense.'"
Garcia-Catalan v. United States, 734 F.3d 100, 103
(1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679)).
Where "the factual allegations in the complaint are too
meager, vague, or conclusory to remove the possibility of
relief from the realm of mere conjecture, the complaint is
open to dismissal." Morales-Cruz v. Univ. of Puerto
Rico, 676 F.3d 220, 224 (1st Cir. 2012) (quoting SEC
v. Tambone, 597 F.3d 436, 442 (1st Cir. 2010)).
in instances where a complaint states a claim but otherwise
violates Rule 8(a)(2) because it contains portions that are
overly wordy or inappropriate, the court may simply strike
those portions from the complaint rather than dismiss the
complaint outright. Rule 12(f) provides that a court
"may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or
any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter." Thus, where removing wordy or inappropriate
portions of a complaint would enhance the ability to
understand the nature of the plaintiff's claim(s),
striking the deficient portion is preferred. See Belanger
BNY Mellon Asset Mgmt., LLC, 307 F.R.D. 55, 58 (D. Mass.
2015) (stating that dismissing a complaint because it is too
wordy is disfavored); Hayes v. McGee, No. CIV.A.
10-40095-FDS, 2011 WL 39341, at *1 (D. Mass. Jan. 6, 2011)
(Rule 12(f) is "designed to reinforce the requirement in
[Rule 8(d)(1)] that pleadings be simple, concise, and
these principles here, the Court concludes that the complaint
does not state a plausible claim for retaliation, but the
plaintiff should be given an opportunity to amend his
complaint to satisfy the requirements of Rule 8 to the extent
that he has a good faith basis to do so. Separately, the
Court finds that the complaint at paragraphs 8 through 13,