United States District Court, District of Columbia
LOUIS A. BANKS, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.
N. MCFADDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Louis A. Banks, proceeding pro se, filed his
complaint in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
on August 24, 2018. The District of Columbia, Mayor Muriel
Bowser, and DC FEMS (collectively “District
Defendants”) removed this action on October 26,
2018.On initial review of the complaint, the
Court found the pleading deficient in several respects. It
not only failed to meet the minimum pleading standard set
forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), but also
appeared to raise claims which had been or could have been
raised in one or more of plaintiff's earlier civil
actions. On December 3, 2018, the Court issued an
order (ECF No. 6) directing plaintiff to show cause in
writing by December 28, 2018, why his complaint should not be
dismissed for its failure to comply with Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 8(a) and because its claims are barred under
the doctrine of res judicata. Plaintiff met his deadline, yet
the substance of his response (ECF No. 10) essentially
repeats the vague and conclusory allegations set forth in the
complaint without clearly identifying viable legal claims
against a particular defendant or defendants which have not
been or could not have been brought before.
Court is mindful of its obligation to hold a pleading
prepared by a pro se litigant to a less stringent
standard than would be applied to a pleading drafted by a
lawyer. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
(1972). But even a pro se litigant must comply with
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Jarrell v.
Tisch, 656 F.Supp. 237, 239 (D.D.C. 1987), and Rule 8(a)
requires that a complaint contain, 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).
Rule 8(a) also “demands more than an unadorned,
Cheeks v. Fort Myer Construction Corp., 71 F.Supp.3d
163, 168 (D.D.C. 2014) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). In other words, plaintiff must
plead sufficient factual content to provide each defendant
with “fair notice of the claim being asserted so as to
permit the adverse party the opportunity to file a responsive
answer, prepare an adequate defense, and determine whether
the doctrine of res judicata is applicable.”
Brown v. Califano, 75 F.R.D. 497, 498 (D.D.C. 1977)
(citation omitted); see Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
is neither unfair nor unreasonable to require a pleader to
put his complaint in an intelligible, coherent, and
manageable form[.]” Harris v. Angliker, 955
F.2d 41 (4th Cir. 1992) (per curiam) (citations omitted).
Although plaintiff's 12-page complaint is not
particularly lengthy, cf. Ciralsky v. CIA,
355 F.3d 661, 669 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (commenting that pro
se plaintiff's “the initial complaint weighed
in at 119 pages and 367 numbered paragraphs”), it is
wholly lacking a “short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Instead, it offers vague and conclusory
assertions of violations of constitutional rights and federal
and District of Columbia law, certain of which surely have
been or could have been resolved in one or more of
plaintiff's prior civil actions.
complaint remains “an untidy assortment of claims that
are neither plainly nor concisely stated, nor meaningfully
distinguished from bold conclusions . . . and personal
comments.” Brown, 75 F.R.D. at 499. The
confused and disorganized nature of plaintiff's complaint
“places an unjustified burden on the court and the
part[ies] who must respond to it because they are forced to
select the relevant material from a mass of verbiage.”
Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42 (2d Cir. 1988)
(quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice
and Procedure § 1281, at 365 (1969)); see
Hamrick v. Bremer, No. 05-cv-01993, 2005 WL 6799409, at
*1 (D.D.C. Oct. 20, 2005) (declining to force defendants
“to spend time and energy in attempting to decipher
[plaintiff's] utterly confusing . . . pleading”).
Court concludes that the complaint fails to comply with Rule
8(a) and dismisses the complaint and this civil action
without prejudice. See Strunk v. U.S. House of
Representatives, 68 Fed.Appx. 233, 235 (2d Cir. 2003)
(affirming dismissal of pro se plaintiff's third
amended complaint which “asserted violations of several
federal statutes and eleven constitutional amendments,
without explaining what conduct constituted the violations,
which defendants violated which statutes or amendments, or
how the alleged violations harmed him”); McCann v.
Clark, 191 F.2d 476, 477 (D.C. Cir. 1951) (per curiam)
(affirming dismissal of pro se complaint which
“contain[ed] scurrilous matter and is prolix and
redundant, ” as it did “not contain a short and
plain statement of the claim, and its averments are neither
simple, concise nor direct”). In addition, the Court
will discharge its order to show cause and deny the District
Defendants' motion to dismiss as moot.
Order will issue separately.
 By minute order on December 3, 2018,
the Court consolidated Civil Action Nos. 18-2413 and 18-2475,
and instructed the parties to make filings in Civil Action
See Banks v. Bowser, No.
18-cv-2146 (D.D.C. filed Sept. 17, 2018); Banks v.
Bowser, No. 18-cv-1916 (D.D.C. filed Aug. 14, 2018);
Banks v. McDuffie, No. 18-cv-452 (D.D.C. filed Feb.
23, 2018); Banks v. United States of America, No.
17-cv-2168 (D.D.C. filed Oct. 13, 2017); Banks v.