United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge.
April 26, 2019, Plaintiff Ricky Kamdem-Ouaffo filed his
pro se complaint in this matter. (Docket #1). He has
paid the full filing fee. In this Order, the Court exercises
its inherent authority to sua sponte screen cases
that are “transparently defective” in order to
“save everyone time and legal expense.”
Hoskins v. Poelstra, 320 F.3d 761, 763 (7th Cir.
2003). This authority extends to cases in which the plaintiff
has paid the filing fee. Id.
alleges, among other things, violations of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et
seq. (Docket #1 at 3). Generally speaking, he claims
that his past employers, Defendants Tapfin North America
Shared Services Team (“TAPFIN”), Campbell's
Soup Company, and Task Management Inc., along with various
related individuals, unlawfully retaliated against him by
terminating his position and then failing to re-hire him
because they learned that he had sued past employers under
Title VII. His complaint spans nearly 300 pages and includes
more than one thousand paragraphs of factual allegations.
(Docket #1-2). He names 16 defendants, as well as a dozen
John or Jane Does. Id. at 1. The
“shotgun” approach to Plaintiff's pleading
creates two problems.
begin, it fails to satisfy Rule 8(a)(2)'s requirement of
a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a).
There is a reason that the rule specifies a “short
and plain” statement. “Rule 8(a) requires
parties to make their pleadings straightforward, so that
judges and adverse parties need not try to fish a gold coin
from a bucket of mud.” U.S. ex rel. Garst v.
Lockheed-Martin Corp., 328 F.3d 374, 378 (7th Cir.
2003). “[L]ength may make a complaint unintelligible,
by scattering and concealing in a morass of irrelevancies the
few allegations that matter.” Kadamovas v.
Stevens, 706 F.3d 843, 844 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting
Garst, 328 F.3d at 378). “District judges are
busy, and therefore have a right to dismiss a complaint that
is so long that it imposes an undue burden on the judge, to
the prejudice of other litigants seeking the judge's
attention.” Id. In Garst, the Seventh
Circuit upheld the district court's decision to dismiss a
complaint that was 155 pages with more than 400 numbered
paragraphs and 99 attachments. Garst, 328 F.3d at
case, Plaintiff's complaint is unreasonably voluminous.
That problem is due in part to another issue with the
complaint: it is almost entirely duplicative of another case
Plaintiff is litigating in the District of New Jersey, and
therefore most of the defendants and claims in this case
should not be here. In the New Jersey action, No.
18-CV-298-NLH-JS (D.N.J.), Plaintiff brings retaliation
claims based on the same facts underlying this action against
nearly all of the same defendants. The only meaningful
difference the Court can discern, without combing through
every inch of Plaintiff's interminable complaint, is that
Plaintiff has added TAPFIN as a defendant in this action.
Indeed, Plaintiff alleges in his complaint that
“[d]uring an action with similar background [in New
Jersey], Plaintiff learned for the first [time] that one of
the business entities involved in the unlawful termination of
Plaintiff's employment by co-defendants was an
out-of-State business entity named [TAPFIN] and that a person
named Cary Hayes worked for that entity.” (Docket #1-2
at 5). TAPFIN, he alleges, is a Wisconsin company located in
cannot concurrently pursue the same claims against the same
defendants in two different federal courts. The Court must,
therefore, strike Plaintiff's current complaint, but it
will afford Plaintiff an opportunity to submit an amended
complaint correcting the above-described defects. If he
wishes to pursue in this Court claims against TAPFIN and any
related individuals who he is not suing in New Jersey, he
must file an amended complaint against only those defendants.
Plaintiff's amended complaint, should he choose to file
one, must also be substantially more “short and plain,
” including only the relevant allegations against the
properly-named defendant(s). The Court envisions this
complaint to be ten pages or fewer in length. He must also
plead a causal connection between the defendant(s) and his
Plaintiff wants to proceed, he must file an amended complaint
on or before June 3, 2019. Failure to file
an amended complaint within this time period may result in
dismissal of this action.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's complaint
(Docket #1) be and the same is hereby
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall file an