United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON MOTION TO REOPEN
RICHARD G. STEARNS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Francis Enwonwu's motion to reopen this case
(Dkt #10) and motion to proceed in this action (Dkt #12). In
response to the court's May 22, 2019 Order, Enwonwu has
elected to pay the $400 filing fee rather than seek leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. See May 22, 2019
Order, Dkt #11; Receipt of Payment, Dkt #13. Notwithstanding,
the court has the inherent authority to screen and, if
appropriate, dismiss this action. See e.g.
Mallard v. United States Dist. Court for the S. Dist. of
Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 307-308 (1989); Cox v.
Rushie, 2013 WL 3197655, at *4 (D. Mass. June 18, 2013)
(Saris, Ch. J.); Carlsen v. Carlsen, 2011 WL
2632260, at *1 (D. Mass. July 1, 2011) (Wolf, J.); Cimini
v. Massachusetts, 2011 WL 2119192, at *6 (D. Mass. May
25, 2011) (O'Toole, J.). A review of the complaint
reveals a narrative list of conclusory and cobbled-together
legal claims, statutory citations, and case citations,
without factual detail. The only facts are references to
“numerous practical jokes, ” without attribution
after an alleged attempted rape by inmates at South Bay on
October 18, 2018. On December 27, 2018, Enwonwu was placed on
suicide watch. Compl. at 2. In its current form, the
complaint is otherwise unintelligible and without supporting
facts fails to meet basic pleading requirements. Plainly put,
the complaint fails to provide adequate information for the
defendants to respond. Rather than dismiss this action,
however, Enwonwu will be provided an opportunity to amend his
amended complaint must include, among other things, “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
This statement must “give [each] defendant fair notice
of what [Enwonwu's] claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests, ” Rivera v. Rhode Island, 402 F.3d
27, 33 (1st Cir. 2005) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)), such that each defendant is afforded
a “meaningful opportunity to mount a defense.”
Díaz-Rivera v. Rivera-Rodríguez, 377
F.3d 119, 123 (1st Cir. 2004) (quoting Rodríguez
v. Doral Mortgage Corp., 57 F.3d 1168, 1172 (1st Cir.
1995)). The amended complaint “should at least set
forth minimal facts as to who did what to whom, when, where,
and why.” Educadores PuertorriqueZos en
Acción v. Hernandez, 367 F.3d 61, 68 (1st Cir.
2004). Although “the requirements of Rule 8(a)(2) are
minimal . . . ‘minimal requirements are not tantamount
to nonexistent requirements.'” Id.
(quoting Gooley v. Mobil Oil Corp., 851 F.2d 513,
514 (1st Cir. 1988)). While Rule 8 “does not require
detailed factual allegations . . . it demands more than an
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678, (2009) (quotations omitted). An amended complaint
“that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Id. (quotations omitted). “Nor does
[an amended] complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertions
devoid of further factual enhancement.” Id.
Enwonwu has leave to file an amended complaint, but he must
do so by July 31, 2019. The amended
complaint must clearly identify the claims and relief that
Enwonwu seeks as to each defendant and provide a sufficient
factual basis for each of the elements of the claims that he
asserts. The court also notes that the “[t]he title of
the [amended] complaint must name all the parties, ”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(a), and, his claims must be set forth
“in numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as
practicable to a single set of circumstances.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b). To promote clarity, “each claim
founded on a separate transaction or occurrence, . . . must
be stated in a separate count.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b).
While the amended complaint may include exhibits that are
relevant to his claims, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c), use
of exhibits does not excuse Enwonwu of his responsibility to
clearly set forth the relevant allegations in the body of the
amended complaint. Because an amended complaint completely
supersedes the original complaint, and is a stand-alone
document, Enwonwu should repeat in his amended complaint any
allegations from the original complaint that he wishes to be
part of this lawsuit. See Connectu LLC v.
Zuckerberg, 522 F.3d 82, 91 (1st Cir. 2008). He
may not, for example, incorporate by reference allegations
from prior the complaint into the amended complaint.
for the reasons stated above, it is hereby ORDERED
Enwonwu's motion to reopen the action (Dkt. #10) is
ALLOWED and Clerk will reopen this case.
Similarly, Enwonwu's motion to proceed (Dkt #12) is
Enwonwu shall, by July 31, 2019, file an
amended complaint that complies with the basic pleading
requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as set
forth in this Memorandum and Order. Failure to timely file an
amended complaint will result in dismissal of this action.
Summonses shall not issue pending ...