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Sasaki v. Inch

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

July 29, 2019

TERENCE SASAKI, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK S. INCH, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE [1]

          DERRICK K. WATSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On May 13, 2019, this Court entered an Order (“the May 13 Order”) dismissing Plaintiff Terence Sasaki's Second Amended Complaint (SAC), but granting Sasaki leave to file one further amended complaint. The Court forewarned Sasaki, though, that he would receive no further opportunities to amend should his third amended complaint contain the same deficiencies as its predecessors. In the May 13 Order, the principal deficiency identified was Sasaki's failure to file a complaint containing allegations of fact or statements of claims in a short or plain fashion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a).

         On July 1, 2019, Sasaki filed a third amended complaint (TAC). The TAC is 514 pages long. That number does not include six charts and four appendices attached to the TAC. A week later, Sasaki filed a motion to clarify the TAC (“the motion to clarify”). Attached to the motion to clarify appears to be a table of contents for the TAC and three additional charts. Put simply, the foregoing filings are not a short or plain allegation of the facts or statement of the claims Sasaki is attempting to bring in this case. They are not even close. Moreover, the Court cannot ignore that Sasaki's complaints, which began with a 27-page complaint, have gotten less short and less plain. As a result, the Court is compelled to dismiss the TAC due to Sasaki's failure to follow Rule 8(a) and the Court's prior orders. In addition, because Sasaki has been provided with more than enough time and opportunity to file a short and plain complaint, because the Court has provided guidance on how to do so on more than one occasion, and for the other reasons discussed below, the Court DISMISSES this case with prejudice.

         RELEVANT LEGAL PRINCIPLES

         The Court subjects each civil action commenced pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) to mandatory screening and can order the dismissal of any claims it finds “frivolous, malicious, failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeking monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In doing so, the Court liberally construes a pro se complaint. Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987). However, the Court cannot act as counsel for a pro se litigant or supply the essential elements of a claim. Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004); Ivey v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. of Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982).

         In relevant part, Rule 8(a) provides that “[a] pleading that states a claim for relief 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). In addition, Rule 8(d) provides that “[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1).

         Courts have the authority to dismiss actions for failure to comply with court orders or with Rule 8(a). Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260-61 (9th Cir. 1992); Nevijel v. N. Coast Life Ins. Co., 651 F.2d 671, 673 (9th Cir. 1981). Before dismissing such an action, a court should weigh: “(1) the public's interest in expeditious resolution of litigation; (2) the court's need to manage its docket; (3) the risk of prejudice to the defendants; (4) the public policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits; and (5) the availability of less drastic alternatives.” Ferdik, 963 F.2d at 1260-61.

         DISCUSSION

         As an initial matter, the Court notes that various background matters, such as relevant procedural events, have been set forth in the Court's prior orders. See, e.g., Dkt. No. 45 at 2-9. In addition, numerous deficiencies with the complaints filed in this case have been identified in those prior orders. See, e.g., id. While the Court does not intend to repeat everything that has already been laid out, as far as the Court is concerned, none of the deficiencies identified in the Order entered on February 25, 2019 (“the February 25 Order”) or the May 13 Order have been corrected by Sasaki. For purposes of reviewing the TAC, the Court only mentions the background or deficiencies that are reasonably necessary.[2]

         On July 9, 2018, this case began with Sasaki filing, among other things, a 27-page complaint. Dkt. No. 1. Soon thereafter, Sasaki filed a motion describing his 27-page complaint as “less than well-organized” and asking for leave to revise it. Dkt. No. 10. The Court granted Sasaki the foregoing leave, while also notifying him of various issues that appeared from the face of the complaint. Dkt. No. 11. After some time, Sasaki then filed a first amended complaint (FAC). Dkt. No. 23. The deficiencies with the FAC were multiple and are set forth, in detail, in the February 25 Order. See generally Dkt. No. 37. One of the deficiencies was the failure of Sasaki to do that which he had indicated was his goal-to make his complaint more organized. Instead, as the Court described, the FAC, totaling at least 113 pages in length, turned deciphering the claims into a matter of guesswork. As a result, the Court found that the FAC violated Rule 8(a). Nonetheless, the Court allowed Sasaki leave to amend in order for him to correct this and the other deficiencies identified.

         On April 30, 2019, Sasaki filed the SAC. Dkt. No. 43. In the SAC, Sasaki's factual allegations and claims spread across 225 pages. Perhaps cognizant of the SAC's shortcomings, at the same time, Sasaki also filed a motion for “[a]nother [c]hance, ” stating that the SAC was “not as clear as it could be…because he ran out of time [and] not because he cannot (or does not want to) adequately plead [his claims] if given another chance to amend.” Dkt. No. 44 at 3. In the May 13 Order, the Court dismissed the SAC for an obvious reason-it again violated Rule 8(a). See generally Dkt. No. 45. Nonetheless, the Court, again, allowed Sasaki leave to amend, giving him until July 1, 2019 to do so. The Court was explicit, however, that no further opportunities or complaints in “draft form” would be tolerated should Sasaki fail to comply with Rule 8(a) and the Court's orders.

         On July 1, 2019, Sasaki filed the TAC. Dkt. No. 47. The TAC is 514 pages long. There are also six charts and four appendices attached to the TAC. Dkt. Nos. 47-5, 47-6. Sasaki's factual statements appear to span the course of at least 225 pages (pages 25 to 250 of the TAC). Sasaki's causes of action then cover the next 253 pages (from pages 251 to 503 of the TAC). By Sasaki's count, the number of claims reaches 54.[3] In large (but not complete) part, the pages containing Sasaki's causes of action are consumed by two principal categories of claims-claims brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and claims brought pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Sasaki's RICO claims take up roughly 56 pages of the TAC, while his Bivens claims somehow spread across roughly 135 pages. These claims also appear to incorporate the charts and appendices attached to the TAC. The documents containing the 6 charts and 4 appendices are each 18 pages long and, impressively, manage to consume almost every empty space on each page.

         Consistent with his past practices, after filing the TAC, Sasaki also filed a motion to “clarify” the same. See Dkt. No. 48. Therein, Sasaki appears to provide explanations for various choices he did or did not make in drafting the TAC. In addition, like the motion for “another chance” filed in connection with the SAC, in the motion to clarify, Sasaki again appears to comprehend that the TAC does not comply with the Court's prior orders or Rule 8(a). Finally, attached to the motion to clarify are a 21-page table of contents for the TAC, as well as 3 further charts.

         The Court has, once again, spent a considerable amount of time reviewing Sasaki's allegations and claims. Having done so, it is beyond the Court's grasp how the TAC could be used in any meaningful way to manage this litigation or to provide defendants with the notice to which they are entitled. Nor, upon examination, does Sasaki even appear to contend that the TAC is meant to be such a tool. Near the beginning of the TAC (but still on page 34), Sasaki “respectfully requests (& hereby consents) that anything beyond that which the Court feels is relevant, sufficient, & proper to support each count, such as the Appendices, be stricken (ie, striking surplusage).” In other words, the TAC is designed to be a vehicle from which the Court is meant to weed out the bad from the good on a complaint-wide scale. As the Court has explained to Sasaki before, though, the Court is not Sasaki's lawyer, and the Court will not allow him to proceed with a complaint that places the Court in such a ...


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