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Darryl Mills v. Ddsp

August 10, 2011

DARRYL MILLS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DDSP, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Martin C. Carlson United States Magistrate Judge

(Judge Jones)

(Magistrate Judge Carlson)

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. Statement of the Case

The background of this case is as follows:

The plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, commenced this action by filing a praecipe for a summons in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County four-andone-half years ago, on January 9, 2007. This praecipe for summons is not a complaint, and contained no factual averments, or intelligible claims. Rather, it simply identified parties that Mills intended to sue, naming Defense Depot, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania (DDSP), a federal agency within the Department of Defense, Capt. James Naber, the former Commander of DDSP, and Paragon Technology Inc. (a/k/a SI Handling System Technology, Inc.), as defendants.*fn1

After filing this praecipe for summons, Mills apparently did nothing in this case for three and one-half years, until October 2010, when the state court notified Mills that it was proposing the termination of this case. (Doc., 1, Ex. E) In response to this notice, Mills voiced an intention to follow through on this matter on November 9, 2010, (Doc. 1, Ex. F), but has taken no steps over the past ten months to proceed with this lawsuit. Thus, four and one half years have now elapsed without any action by the plaintiff to pursue whatever claims lie behind this praecipe for summons.

In July of 2011, the United States first learned of this pending state matter when it received a notice from the state court. The United States has now removed this case to federal court, (Doc. 1), and filed a motion for a more definite statement under Rule 12(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Docs. 2 and 3)

For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted.

II. Discussion

Unlike state practice, which permits the initiation of a lawsuit through the mere filing of a praecipe, federal practice requires more and demands that a plaintiff set forth the allegations he may have against others in a complaint. In assessing the adequacy of complaint, the Supreme Court has advised trial courts that they must:

In the latter situation, the defendant can compel the plaintiff to file a complaint by filing a praecipe with the prothonotary pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 1037(a).

[B]egin by identifying pleadings that because they are no more than conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their ...


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