“Simply Stated, the Pleading Needs More Hemingway, Less Faulkner”

According to today’s opinion Doe v. Univ. IowaBy Judge Stephen Locher (S.D. Iowa.Discussing the Complaint, written by attorneys and not by an attorney representing a pro-se litigant.

Plaintiff claims that Defendants made discriminatory statements against him in their investigation of his purported assault on a student. However, his pleading contains too many confusing paragraphs and is difficult to understand by Defendants. The Court grants Defendants’ motion to dismiss without prejudice. Plaintiff is instructed to amend the Complaint so that it conforms to Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 which requires a pleading in order to give “a brief and simple statement of the claim to show the pleader is eligible for relief.” …

According to the Court, the Complaint is not sufficient for Fed. R. Civ. P. 8. The agreement further states that Paragraph 14 illustrates the problem. Paragraph 14, which is almost one-and-a-half pages long and 443 words in total, contains a number of sentence fragments and run-on sentences that alternate between investigating Plaintiff’s actions with speculations about investigations into conduct by other “male students.” It also uses vague terms such as “investigators”, which may include or not include defendants. Paragraph 14 also includes unnecessary asides—e.g., “really, one simply can’t make this up”—and fails to provide the “simple, concise, and direct” allegations required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(d). This is all in an attempt to claim something that can be captured in one sentence. Sexual misconduct investigations are marred by gender bias. In which cases, female witnesses are not credible due to the same reason that male witnesses are non-credible..

Other paragraphs contain similar flaws. For example, paragraph 13 contains the Court’s longest sentence (178 words), in a pleading.

And that secondly segues into how these investigators routinely approach these cases—whether the male is a complaining party or, as in this case, an accused party—the UI investigators do not work multiple times, let alone even cursory on the single time, that they “interview” the male party’s witnesses—those witnesses are summarily dismissed as it pertains to credibility and on either on or the other of two contradictory grounds: first, if there are substantive deviations in the statements of the witnesses in support of the male student (either accused or complaining), then those witnesses by the investigators, and particularly including the investigators named in this complaint, are dismissed as contradictory (and hence not believable); in contrast, if those witnesses’ statements are in the main consistent—that is, supportive of the male student’s version of the events in question—then these investigators routinely dismiss the validity of these statement on the basis, of all things, bias; and that purportedly is because any consistency among witnesses on behalf of a male student must be the result of such.

(Complaint, ¶ 13.) Paragraph 16 (more than 3000 words) is an exaggerated diatribe that asserts, in essence: hearings are corrupted by male bias. (Id., ¶ 16.) Paragraph 17 (more than 3000 words) is a longer diatribe that asserts the same thing. (Id., ¶ 17.)