United States District Court, E.D. California
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
has filed a motion for leave to exceed the twenty-five page
limit for his first amended complaint. ECF No. 25. Included
with the motion to exceed the page limit is plaintiff's
signed declaration in support of the motion (id. at
2-3) and proposed amended complaint (ECF No. 26). He seeks
leave to exceed the page limit based on a need to address
“each level of review of [his] appeals, ” with
“lengthy verbiage.” ECF No. 25 at 2.
twenty-five page limit only applies to complaints that are
filed using the e-filing system. As such, the applicable
standard here is a short, plain statement under Rule 8 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. However, while there is no
page limit outside of e-filing, a complaint exceeding
twenty-five pages would be highly disfavored because it would
be unlikely to meet the short, plain statement requirement.
liberal notice pleading of Rule 8(a) is the starting point of
a simplified pleading system, which was adopted to focus
litigation on the merits of a claim.” Swierkiewicz
v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002); Fed.R.Civ.P.
8. In other words, plaintiff's claims must be set forth
in short and plain terms, simply, concisely, and directly.
Plaintiff must eliminate from his pleading all preambles,
introductions, argument, speeches, explanations, stories,
griping, vouching, evidence, attempts to negate possible
defenses, summaries, and the like or face dismissal of the
complaint. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1180
(9th Cir. 1996) (affirming dismissal of § 1983 complaint
for violation of Rule 8 after warning); Crawford-El v.
Britton, 523 U.S. 574, 597 (1998) (reiterating that
“firm application of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure is fully warranted” in prisoner cases
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted)). The court
(and defendant) should be able to read and understand
plaintiff's pleading within minutes. See
McHenry, 84 F.3d at 1177 (pointing out that the form
complaint for negligence previously provided in the Federal
Rules “can be read in seconds and answered in
minutes”). A long, rambling pleading, including many
defendants with unexplained, tenuous, or implausible
connection to the alleged constitutional injury or joining a
series of unrelated claims against many defendants very
likely will result in delaying the review required by 28
U.S.C. § 1915 and an order dismissing plaintiff's
action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41 for
violation of these instructions.
proposed amended complaint appears to make a number of claims
against numerous individuals at two different prisons.
Plaintiff is advised that he may join multiple claims if they
are all against a single defendant, Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a), and
joinder of defendants is only permitted if “any right
to relief is asserted against them . . . with respect to or
arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of
transactions or occurrences; and any question of law or fact
common to all defendants will arise in the action, ”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 20 (emphasis added). In other words, joining
more than one claim is only proper when it is against one
defendant, and joining multiple defendants in one complaint
is only proper when the action is based on the same facts.
Additionally, in drafting an amended complaint, plaintiff
does not need to walk the court through the facts and
circumstances of every grievance. Instead, plaintiff should
tell the court whether he has properly exhausted his claims,
and if not, briefly explain why. For example, if
plaintiff claims that the prison refused to accept his
appeals, he should plainly state “they refused to
accept my appeals.” This type of statement would be
appropriate under the short, plain statement standard that is
has not established a need to file his proposed ninety-page
complaint, which does not meet the short, plain statement
standard. The circumstances he has alleged do not merit an
exception to Rule 8. If plaintiff still wants to file an
amended complaint, he is instructed to file an amended
complaint that contains a short and plain statement,
containing no more than is necessary to briefly explain his
claims. If he chooses not to file an amended complaint, the
court will proceed with screening the original complaint.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
motion for leave to exceed the twenty-five page limit (ECF
No. 25) is DENIED.
Plaintiffs proposed first amended complaint (ECF No. 26) is
stricken from the docket.
Within thirty days from the date of service of this order,
plaintiff may file an amended complaint that complies with
this order and with the Rule 8 standard of a short, plain
statement. The amended complaint must bear the docket number
assigned this case and must be labeled “First Amended
Complaint.” Plaintiff must file an original and two
copies of the amended complaint. An amended complaint that
does not comply with this order may result in a
recommendation for dismissal of this action. If plaintiff
does not file an amended complaint, the court will proceed
with screening the original complaint.
Clerk of the Court is directed to send plaintiff a copy of
the prisoner ...