Share This Post
BIGGER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER
The Southern District of New York recently issued an Opinion criticizing counsel for both parties for not adhering to Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The UPS Store v. Robert Hagan. While reviewing Plaintiff’s Motion to Dismiss, the Court noted that Plaintiff’s Complaint was 175 pages and contained over 1,400 pages of exhibits. The Defendants retaliated with a 210 page Answer while also attaching voluminous exhibits. After a pre-motion conference, the Defendants requested leave to add a counter defendant. The Court granted the request but urged the Defendants to downsize its pleadings. Unfortunately for the Court, the Defendants ended up enlarging their pleading to 1,263 paragraphs spanning 303 pages.
Rule 8 requires a pleading to contain “a short and plain statement of the claim.” The Court in this case was clearly perturbed by both parties breaking the rule. It quoted case law that allowed the Court to dismiss the pleadings for failure to comply with Rule 8. The Court even quoted a case that described how one Court, in the time that the Stuart’s reigned in England, fashioned a remedy for a pleading that was overly long. The remedy was for a large hole to be cut in the parchment pleading and for the drafting counsel to have his head pushed through it and to attend the first day of every term of the court with his head through the pleadings. The Court ultimately dismissed a number of the Defendants’ counter-claims, with a caveat: that each party file amended pleadings, “stripped of its surplusage and exhibits,” and that “[f]ailure to comply may result in sanctions.”