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Litman v. Mabus

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Albany Division

October 22, 2014

JOHNNY LITMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
RAY MABUS, Secretary of the Navy, and JOSIE DRISTY, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, Acquisition & Integrity Office, Individually & In Her Official Capacity, Defendants.

ORDER

W. LOUIS SANDS, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint (Doc. 25). For the reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED-IN-PART and DENIED-IN-PART.

I. Procedural Background

Plaintiff Johnny Litman, a licensed attorney proceeding pro se, brought suit against Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, and Josie Dristy, the director of the Navy's Office of Acquisition and Integrity, for claims of race, age, and disability discrimination, and retaliation. Litman alleges that he was employed as an attorney for the United States Marine Corps, within the U.S. Department of the Navy.

Litman's first complaint, as the Court noted in a previous Order, contained "71 paragraphs encompassing 22 pages and five counts, with each count incorporating by reference all preceding paragraphs and all 51 paragraphs of factual allegations." (Doc. 17 at 2.) Therefore, on October 25, 2013, the Court granted Defendants' Motion for a More Definite Statement, holding that Litman's complaint was a "quintessential shotgun pleading requiring a more definite statement." The Court explained:

[Litman's complaint] contains more than fifty paragraphs of general facts, all of which are incorporated by reference into five counts. The counts themselves fail to elucidate their factual bases, but instead usually state, without clarification, that "the conduct as alleged constitutes discrimination" or retaliation or a hostile work environment. The problem with this type of pleading is that it is virtually impossible to tell which factual allegations support which cause of action. Thus, the Court and Defendants are left to speculate about which allegations are germane to particular causes of action.

( Id. at 4.) The Court then ordered Litman to submit an Amended Complaint setting forth:

(1) which cause or causes of action are asserted against each Defendant;
(2) what factual allegations form the basis of each claim against each Defendant
(3) the legal theory upon which he asserts liability against each Defendant, in line with the factual allegations.

( Id. at 5.)

On November 12, 2013, Litman filed an amended complaint that was almost identical to his first complaint. (Doc. 18.) Besides a few slight changes, the amended complaint retained the form and structure the Court earlier described as a shotgun pleading. Litman's amended complaint, like his first complaint, began with a long list of general allegations that were all incorporated by reference into five undefined causes of action.

Litman's amended complaint prompted Defendants to again move for a more definite statement or, in the alternative, for dismissal. Rather than responding to Defendants' motion on the merits, Litman instead filed-without the Court's leave or Defendants' consent-a second amended complaint that again repeats the deficiencies found in the first complaint. (Doc. 20.) On February 21, 2014, the Court granted Defendant Dristy's Motion to Dismiss Litman's claims against her in her individual capacity. (Doc. 23.) The Court also ordered Litman to submit a third amended complaint. ( Id. ) Litman submitted a third amended complaint on March, 7, 2014. (Doc. 24.) Litman's third amended complaint is substantially the same as his second amended complaint except that Litman has added headings for each count, thus dividing his factual allegations up by count, and a conclusory paragraph at the end of each count stating, in effect, that Defendants' alleged conduct violates the statute or statutes that provide the basis for the count. Litman has also added factual allegations to Count Four, his ADEA discrimination claim, and Count Five, his Rehabilitation Act of 1973 claim.

Defendants now move to dismiss Litman's third amended complaint. (Doc. 25.) Litman filed a response and an amended response to Defendants' Motion. (Docs. 26, 27.) The Court ...


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