The opinion of the court was delivered by: MALACHY MANNION, Magistrate Judge
Pending before the court is "Defendants, Craig R. Bardell, M.D.,
Susan Day, P.A., and Wexford Health Sources, Inc., Motion for More
Definitive Statement and Motion to Strike." (Doc. No. 3).
On June 13, 2003, the plaintiffs, Christine Thomas, individually and as
co-administratrix of the estate of Erin Finley, and Mark Thomas, as
co-administrator of the estate of Erin Finley, filed this action against
the above-named defendants alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
In addition, the
plaintiffs set forth pendent state law claims for negligence, negligent
infliction of emotional distress, wrongful death and survival. (Doc. No.
The instant motion for more definitive statement and motion to strike
was filed on behalf of defendants Craig Bardell, M.D., Susan Day, P.A.,
and Wexford Health Sources, Inc., ("Wexford defendants"). (Doc. No. 3). A
supporting brief was timely filed. (Doc. No. 4). The plaintiffs have
filed a brief in opposition. (Doc. No. 11).
In their motion, the Wexford defendants initially seek a more
definitive statement arguing that the "inter alia" language in paragraphs
96 and 101 of the complaint, and the "but is not limited to" language in
paragraphs 105 and 107 of the complaint, is impermissibly vague. (Doc.
No. 4, pp. 3-4).
With respect to this argument, Fed.R.Civ.P.8(a) states in pertinent
A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief . . .
shall contain: . . .(2) a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
Moreover, Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e)(1) directs that:
Each averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise,
and direct. No technical forms of pleadings or motions
Finally, Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(f) states:
All pleadings shall be so construed as to do
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require the plaintiffs to
set out in detail the facts upon which they base their claims. To the
the Rules require is "a short and plain statement of the claim" that will
give the defendants fair notice of what the plaintiffs' claims are and
the grounds upon which they rest. Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics
Intelligence and Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163
(1993) (citing Conley
v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41
, 47 (1957)). In general, the pleading required
under Rule 8 is "Notice Pleading" as opposed to "Fact Pleading" which
incorporates more specifics of the claim and requires more in response by
the defense. 2 Moore's Federal Practice, § 8 App.01 (Matthew Bender 3rd
A review of the complaint filed in the instant action shows that it is
laid out in 123 separate paragraphs, divided into seven (7) counts for
relief. It properly sets forth the jurisdictional and venue
requirements, the parties, and the procedural background. The factual
allegations are generally pled, but appear sufficient to put the
defendants on notice of the claims being brought against them.
Accordingly, the Wexford defendants' motion will be denied to the extent
that they seek a more definitive statement with regard to the "inter
alia" and "but not limited to" language set forth in paragraphs 96, 101,
105, and 107 of the complaint.
The Wexford defendants also seek a more definitive statement arguing
that the plaintiffs have failed to plead separate causes of action
against each of them in violation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e) and Fed.R.Civ.P.
10(b). (Doc. No. 4, pp.4-5).
Although the Wexford defendants argue that Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e) requires
"separate claims," as discussed above, Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e)(1) directs
a pleading to be concise and direct, while Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e)(2) addresses
the consistency of pleadings and provides in relevant part:
A party may set forth two or more statements of a
claim . . . alternately or hypothetically, either in
one count . . . or in separate counts . . . When two
or more statements are made in the alternative and one
of them if made independently would be sufficient, the
pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency
of one or more of the alternative statements. A party
may also state as many separate claims . . . the party
has regardless of consistency and whether based on
legal, equitable, or maritime grounds.
In light of the above, the Wexford defendants' argument that the
plaintiffs must set forth a separate claim as to each individual defendant
finds no support in Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e).
Moreover, Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b) provides:
All averments of claim or defense shall be made in
numbered paragraphs, the contents of each of which
shall be limited as far as practicable to a statement
of a single set of circumstances; and a paragraph may
be referred to by number in all succeeding pleadings.
Each claim founded upon a separate transaction or
occurrence and each defense other than denials shall
be stated in a separate count or defense whenever a
separation facilitates the clear presentation of the
matters set forth.
Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b), when there are several claims, each
founded upon a separate transaction or occurrence, then each claim is to
be stated in a separate count in the complaint, but only when "a
separation facilitates the clear presentation of the matters set forth."
United States v.
Iroquois Apartments, Inc., 21 F.R.D. 151 (1957) (citations omitted).
However, the mere fact that an action is brought against several
defendants does not necessarily indicate that separate statements under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b) is required against each individual defendant. Where
the essence of the complaint against multiple defendants is a scheme,
plan or course of conduct, Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b) does not require that each
claim against each defendant be stated separately merely because all of
the defendants may not be involved in each transaction or occurrence. 27
Fed. Proc., L.Ed. § 62:109 (citing Securities & Exchange Commission v.
Quinq N. Wong, 252 F. Supp. 608 (D. Puerto Rico. 1966)).
Upon review of the complaint filed in the instant action, the court
finds that the plaintiffs have properly plead separate causes of action
against the Wexford defendants, and that the plaintiffs need not plead
each of the separate causes of action against each individual defendant.
Therefore, to the extent that the Wexford defendants seek to have the
plaintiffs file a more definitive statement pleading separate causes of
action against each of the individual defendants, their motion will be
The Wexford defendants further seek to have stricken the allegations of
deliberate indifference, intent, and willfulness from the plaintiffs'
complaint, and as a result, the plaintiffs' request for punitive damages.
(Doc. No. 4, pp. 5-7).
Upon review, the Wexford defendants' argument is, in essence,
a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' claim for punitive damages for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Wexford
defendants acknowledge that the plaintiffs have alleged conduct on their
part which was "intentional, willful and done with deliberate
indifference." They argue, however, that the plaintiffs cannot support
these allegations and, therefore, cannot support a claim for punitive
damages. As a result, the Wexford defendants argue that the portion of
the plaintiffs' complaint seeking punitive damages should be dismissed
for the plaintiffs' failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
Pursuant to the provisions of Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), dismissal of a
complaint, in whole or in part, should only occur where it appears that
the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which
would entitle him to relief. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46
(1957). Accordingly, dismissal is appropriate "only if, after accepting
as true all of the facts alleged in the complaint, and drawing all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, no relief could be
granted under any set of facts consistent with the allegations of the
complaint." Trump Hotel and Casino Resorts. Inc. v. Mirage Resorts.
Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998)(citing ALA. Inc. v. Ccair. Inc.,
29 F.3d 855, 859 (3d Cir. 1994). A dismissal under 12(b)(6) should only
be granted if "it is certain that no relief can be granted under any set
of circumstances which could be proved." Steamfitters Local Union No. 420
Welfare Fund v. Phillip Morris. Inc., 171 F.3d 912, 919 (3d Cir.
City of Pittsburgh v. West Penn Power Co., 147 F.3d 256, 262 n. 12 (3d
Cir. 1998). ...