United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Talwani United States District Judge.
reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis is granted and the court directs
the plaintiff to file an amended complaint.
December 9, 2016, plaintiff Robert Shapiro
(“Shapiro”) filed a complaint [#1] and a motion
for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [#2]. On
December 30, 2016, Shapiro filed an amended complaint [#5]
naming as defendants the Washington Higher Education
Secretariat (“WHES”), the American Council on
Education (“ACE”) (a secondary accreditor of WHES
Accreditation Groups), the National Association of
Independent Colleges (“NAICU”), and the ACCU
(full identification of organization not set
forth). Attached to the amended complaint is a
“Third-Party Complaint” [#5-1], which appears to
be a complaint by Shapiro against the American Association of
Universities (“AAU”) and against WHES and ACE as
third-party defendants, and a second “Third-Party
Complaint” [#5-2] by Shapiro against WHES and against
NAICU, as a national accreditor, ACCU (as a state
accreditor), Karen Van Norman (the Dean of Accreditation),
and Alexandra Hennessey (academic instructor), as third-party
February 17, 2017, Shapiro filed a motion for order [#6]
expediting a decision on his in forma pauperis
motion and other relief, and on March 6, 2017, Shapiro filed
another motion for order [#7] seeking an expedited decision
on his in forma pauperis request and other relief.
On March 8, 2017, Shapiro filed a motion [#8] seeking other
relief. On March 9 and March 15, 2017, Shapiro filed
subpoenas [##9, 10] directing several defendants to produce
documents. These subpoenas have not been signed by the clerk.
review of Shapiro's financial affidavit, this court finds
he lacks sufficient funds to pay the filing and
administrative fees for this action. Accordingly, his motion
[#2] to proceed in forma pauperis is ALLOWED.
Shapiro is proceeding in forma pauperis, his amended
complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e). In conducting this review, the court
broadly construes his pleadings because he is proceeding
pro se. Nevertheless, even under a broad reading,
Shapiro's amended complaint does not satisfy the pleading
requirements necessary to proceed in this court. A complaint
(or amended complaint) must, as required by Rule 8(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rule 8(a)”),
include “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). At a minimum, the complaint must
“give the defendant fair notice of what the
plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Calvi v. Knox County, 470 F.3d 422,
430 (1st Cir. 2006) (quoting Educadores
Puertorriqueños en Acción v.
Hernández, 367 F.3d 61, 66 (1st Cir. 2004)). The
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
claim “requires more than labels and
conclusions.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “Where the well-pleaded facts
do not permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, ” the complaint does not
show that “the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (quoting
Fed. R Civ. P. 8(a)(2) in second quotation).
this court is unable to discern a legal claim or underlying
facts to support a claim. Shapiro does not provide a
narrative setting forth basic information such as who did
what to whom, when, where and why. Moreover, Shapiro's
use of third-party practice is not proper insofar as a
plaintiff may bring in a third party “[w]hen a claim is
asserted against a plaintiff.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 14(b).
Here, there are no claims asserted against Shapiro by a third
party defendant brought into the action by a defendant
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 14(a).
additional matter, Shapiro indicates that the deprivation of
property commenced in 2004. In light of this, it is unclear
whether some of his claims are barred by the applicable
statute of limitations.
because it is virtually impossible to cull out Shapiro's
claims and the factual bases for them, the amended complaint
does not show that jurisdiction or venue are proper in the
District of Massachusetts.
light of the above, if Shapiro wishes to pursue this action,
he must file a second amended complaint within 28 days of the
date of this Memorandum and Order that complies with the
pleading requirements of Rule 8(a) and sets forth each of his
claims against each of the defendants in a discernible
manner. Because an amended complaint completely replaces the
original complaint, see Connectu LLC v. Zuckerberg,
522 F.3d 82, 91 (1st Cir. 2008), Shapiro should include in
the second amended complaint any allegations in the original
complaint, amended complaint, or other documents he filed
that he wishes to be part of the operative pleading. Further,
all factual allegations and legal claims should be “in
numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a
single set of circumstances.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b).
Finally, Shapiro must provide sufficient information in his
second amended complaint to demonstrate that venue in the
District of Massachusetts is proper in accordance with 28
light of the above, Shapiro's motions [##6-8] are DENIED
as moot to the extent that they seek an expedited
determination as to the in forma pauperis motion. To
the extent they seek additional relief, and to the extent
Shapiro seeks the issuance of a subpoena, the requests are
denied as ...