The dumbass defense
Tip of the day: Proofread appendices

Prolixity is the soul of witlessness.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires a complaint to set forth “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief ....” So what happens when you file a complaint that is 465 pages long, that has a caption 8 pages long, that uses 8 pages to name the six defendants, and that is inflated with paragraphs like this:

Plaintiffs, for a Fifty-Fourth Claim for Relief, reallege and incorporate herein Paragraphs 1 through 105, including the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twentieth, Twenty- First, Twenty-Second, Twenty-Third, Twenty-Fourth, Twenty-Fifth, Twenty- Sixth, and Twenty-Seventh Claims for Relief alleged under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 [“RICO”][Title 18 U.S.C.A. §§1961 et.seq.], and the Twenty-Eighth, Twenty-Ninth, Thirtieth, Thirty-First, Thirty-Second, Thirty- Third, Thirty-Fourth, Thirty-Fifth, Thirty-Sixth, Thirty- Seventh, Thirty-Eighth, Thirty-Ninth, Fortieth, Forty-First, Forty-Second, Forty- Third, Forty-Fourth, Forty-Fifth, Forty-Sixth, Forty-Seventh, Forty-Eighth, Forty- Ninth, Fiftieth, Fifty-First , Fifty-Second, and Fifty-Third Claims for Relief.

If you file such a complaint, you may be met with an order like this, which concludes with this limerick:

Plaintiff has a great deal to say,
But it seems he skipped Rule 8(a),
His Complaint is too long,
Which renders it wrong,
Please re-write and re-file today.

Hat tip to my friend and erstwhile colleague Bob Markle for this lovely.