United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
GIBSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for a
More Definite Statement (ECF No. 8). The present case arises
from Plaintiff George Lamb, Jr. ("Mr. Lamb") and
Tracy Lamb's ("Mrs. Lamb") allegations that Mr.
Lamb slipped and fell on snow and/or ice. (See ECF
No. 1.) Defendants contend that the "vague and ambiguous
nature of plaintiffs' Complaint precludes defendants from
preparing a reasonable response." (ECF No. 9 at 2.)
reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion for a More
Definite Statement (ECF No. 8) is DENIED.
Jurisdiction and Venue
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1332
because both Plaintiffs are alleged to be citizens of the
State of New York, both Defendants are alleged to be citizens
of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Plaintiffs seek
damages in excess of $75, 000. (ECF No. 1 at 1, 5.) Venue is
proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1391(b)(2) because a substantial portion of the alleged
events or omissions giving rise to the claims occurred in the
Western District of Pennsylvania. (Id. at 1-2.)
filed their Complaint on February 28, 2017, asserting one
count of negligence brought by Mr. Lamb against both
Defendants and one count for loss of consortium by Mrs. Lamb
against both Defendants. (ECF No. 1).
4, 2017, Defendants filed the present Motion for a More
Definite Statement and their Brief in Support of Motion for a
More Definite Statement. (ECF Nos. 8, 9.) Plaintiffs filed
their Response in Opposition to Defendants Motion for More
Definitive Statement on June 15, 2017. (ECF No. 10.)
been fully briefed, Defendants' Motion is ripe for
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must
contain "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). If a complaint is "so vague or
ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to frame
a responsive pleading, " a party may move for a more
definite statement. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). However, Rule 12(e)
motions are "highly disfavored since the overall scheme
of the federal rules calls for relatively skeletal pleadings
and places the burden of unearthing factual details on the
discovery process." A.M. Skier Agency, Inc. v.
Creative Risk Services, Inc., No. Civ. A. 3:05-CV-0451,
2006 WL 167762, at *12 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 20, 2006) (quoting
Hughes v. Smith, No. 03-5035, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
2783, at *12 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 24, 2005); see also Schaedler
v. Reading Eagle Publications, Inc., 370 F.2d 795, 798
(3d Cir. 1967) ("Although the motion for a more definite
statement continues to exist in rule 12(e), it is directed to
the rare case where because of the vagueness or ambiguity of
the pleading the answering party will not be able to frame a
deciding Rule 12(e) motions, the prevailing standard employed
by Third Circuit courts is to grant a Rule 12(e) motion
"when the pleading is so vague or ambiguous that the
opposing party cannot respond, even with a simple denial, in
good faith, without prejudice to [itself]." MK
Strategies, LLC, v. Ann Taylor Stores Corp., 567
F.Supp.2d 729, 737 (D.N.J. 2008) (citing Clark v.
McDonald's Corp., 213 F.R.D. 198, 232-33 (D.N.J.
2003)). Rule 12(e) should not be used to obtain information
"which presents a proper subject for discovery."
Id. (citing Lincoln Labs., Inc. v. Savage Labs.,
Inc., 26 F.R.D. 141, 142-43 (D. Del. 1960)). Rule 12(e)
motions should be granted based on "unintelligibility,
not lack of detail." Wood & Locker, Inc. v.
Doran & Assoc, 708 F.Supp. 684, 691 (W.D. Pa. 1989)
(Smith, J.). Whether a Rule 12(e) motion should be granted is
"a matter committed largely to the discretion of the
district court." MK Strategies, 567 F.Supp.2d
at 737 (citing Clark, 213 F.R.D. at 232).