Florida Court Discusses Sufficiency of Pleadings in a Truck Accident Case

When a collision occurs, it is often due to the negligence of one or more parties. As such, many people hurt in accidents file lawsuits seeking damages. A plaintiff in a case arising out of a truck accident does not need to prove the defendant’s liability at the initial pleading stage but must set forth allegations that are sufficient to allow the defendant to formulate a response and a defense. Inadequate or vague assertions can result in a dismissal of the plaintiff’s case, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling, in which the court found that the plaintiff’s complaint seeking damages for a truck accident amounted to a “shotgun” pleading.  If you were injured in a crash with a commercial truck, you could be owed compensation, and it is advisable to consult a dedicated Florida truck accident attorney as soon as possible.

The Accident and Subsequent Pleadings

It is alleged that a collision occurred between a tractor-trailer and another vehicle. The plaintiff, a passenger in the vehicle, sustained significant injuries. As such, he filed a lawsuit against the defendants, the companies that owned the tractor and the trailer. The defendants removed the case from state court to federal court and then filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff failed to assert claims for relief. The court noted deficiencies in the complaint but granted the plaintiff leave to amend the pleading.

It is reported that after the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, the defendants once again filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the plaintiff merely set forth legal conclusions and failed to assert any facts or allegations that would allow him to recover damages, which violated the court’s rules regarding shotgun pleadings. The plaintiff amended the complaint a second time, and the defendants again moved to dismiss two of the plaintiff’s claims. The court granted the defendants’ motion.

Sufficiency of Pleadings in Truck Accident Cases

In its opinion, the court explained that there are four different types of “shotgun” pleadings, but a common characteristic of all of them is that they fail, in some degree or way or another, to provide the defendants with sufficient notice of the claims against them or the grounds on which each claim rests. The court explained there is little tolerance for shotgun pleadings.

The court noted that in one of the counts of the complaint, the plaintiff impermissibly conflated three different causes of action against both defendants. The court stated each cause of action had different elements of proof; thus, the claim violated the court’s shotgun pleading precedent. The court held that the plaintiff had ample opportunity to amend the count, but failed to do so, and dismissed it with prejudice. Similarly, the court found that the other count the defendants objected to was inadequate as a matter of law. As such, it was dismissed.

Speak to a Trusted Florida Attorney

When tractor-trailers are involved in collisions, they often cause devastating harm, and people hurt in such accidents may be owed significant damages. If you were injured in a truck accident, trusted Florida attorney Jarrett Blakeley can help you gather the facts and evidence needed to show that you should be awarded compensation. You can contact Mr. Blakeley through the online form or at (800) 602-5000 to set up a conference.

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