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Beware of Shotgun Pleadings

“Courts in the Eleventh Circuit have little tolerance for shotgun pleadings.” Vibe Micro, Inc. v. Shabanets, 878 F.3d 1291, 1295 (11th Cir. 2018). A cautionary tale comes from a recent decision by J.P. Boulee on the Northern District of Georgia, who dismissed with prejudice a complaint in a complex securities fraud case. You can read more about the case here.

Typically, shotgun pleadings are characterized by: (1) multiple counts that each adopt the allegations of the preceding counts; (2) conclusory, vague and immaterial facts that do not clearly connect to a particular cause of action; (3) failing to separate each cause of action into distinct counts; or (4) combining multiple claims against multiple defendants without specifying which defendant is responsible for which act.” McDonough v. City of Homestead, 771 Fed. App’x 952, 955 (11th Cir. 2019).

If your complaint in a complex, high value matter spans more than a few dozen pages, consider how to streamline. The issue isn’t just that the court might kick your case. Lengthy writing is less persuasive. And the process of culling crystalizes your theory of the case.

If you want a second set of eyes on a lengthy complaint, please contact Kastorf Law. The firm can routinely helps other attorneys refine their written materials to make them stand out.

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