From Casetext: Smarter Legal Research

Michaelis v. Nebraska State Bar Ass'n

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Sep 13, 1983
717 F.2d 437 (8th Cir. 1983)

Summary

holding that a "district court is justified in dismissing complaint with prejudice" if the plaintiff persists in violating Rule 8

Summary of this case from Hines v. Graham

Opinion

No. 83-1766.

Submitted September 7, 1983.

Decided September 13, 1983.

Paul L. Douglas, Atty. Gen., Melvin K. Kammerlohr, Asst. Atty. Gen., Lincoln, Neb., Michael McGill, Robert L. Lepp, of McGill, Koley, Parsonage Lanphier, P.C., Charles F. Gotch and Dennis R. Riekenberg, of Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch Douglas, Omaha, Neb., for appellees.

Rory Lee Michaelis and Ken L. Michaelis, pro se.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska.

Before HENLEY, Senior Circuit Judge, and JOHN R. GIBSON and FAGG, Circuit Judges.


This is a consolidated appeal from the district court's dismissal of civil rights complaints. On appeal the issue is whether the district court properly dismissed the complaints with prejudice for refusal to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Having considered the record, we affirm.

Appellant Ken L. Michaelis was disbarred for his actions during his 1978 campaign for County Attorney of Cuming County, Nebraska. See State ex rel. Nebraska State Bar Association v. Michaelis, 210 Neb. 545, 316 N.W.2d 46, cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 103 S.Ct. 27, 74 L.Ed.2d 42 (1982). Following his disbarment Michaelis filed two actions in federal court, alleging deprivation of various rights. His initial complaint was dismissed, without prejudice and with leave to amend, for lack of compliance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. He then filed a complaint commencing a second action and later filed an amended complaint pursuant to the terms of the earlier dismissal. Both of these complaints were substantially similar to his initial complaint in form, content and parties. After a consolidated hearing on motions to dismiss filed in both cases, the district court dismissed both complaints with prejudice, 566 F. Supp. 89 and 566 F. Supp. 94.

Under Rule 8(a) a claim for relief is required to contain a short and plain statement of the claim. Similarly, Rule 8(e)(1) specifies that each averment of a pleading is to be simple, concise and direct. Ordinarily dismissal of a plaintiff's complaint for failure to comply with Rule 8 should be with leave to amend. See Koll v. Wayzata State Bank, 397 F.2d 124, 127 (8th Cir. 1968). But if the plaintiff has persisted in violating Rule 8 the district court is justified in dismissing the complaint with prejudice. See Micklus v. Greer, 705 F.2d 314, 317 n. 3 (8th Cir. 1983).

In the present case Michaelis refused persistently to comply with the requirements of Rule 8 despite adequate warning from the district court and sufficient opportunity to do so. Michaelis' first complaint consisted of 38 unnumbered pages containing 98 paragraphs. The district court found this complaint "needlessly long, repetitious and confused," and ordered the complaint dismissed with leave to amend. The amended complaint covered 98 pages and 144 numbered paragraphs. Moreover, before the amended complaint was filed, Michaelis commenced a second similar action by filing a 60-page complaint containing 99 numbered paragraphs. The style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible. Michaelis' deliberate persistence in refusing to conform his pleadings to the requirements of Rule 8 justified dismissal of the complaints with prejudice.

In addition, the district court properly dismissed the complaints on the further ground that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Essentially, the complaints raise issues that were fully litigated in Michaelis' disciplinary proceedings before the Nebraska Supreme Court. Michaelis properly sought review of this decision in the United States Supreme Court. Relief was denied. His subsequent complaints that raise the same issues before the district court constitute an improper attempt to obtain federal district court review of a state court judgment. See District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, ___ U.S. ___, 103 S.Ct. 1303, 75 L.Ed.2d 206 (1983). In emphasizing the primacy of state interest in regulating the bar, the Court in Feldman observed that "`[o]rders of a state court relating to the admission, discipline, and disbarment of members of its bar may be reviewed only by the Supreme Court of the United States on certiorari to the state court, and not by means of an original action in a lower federal court.'" 103 S.Ct. at 1316 n. 16 ( quoting MacKay v. Nesbett, 412 F.2d 846, 846 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 396 U.S. 960, 90 S.Ct. 435, 24 L.Ed.2d 425 (1969)). Accord, In re Randall, 640 F.2d 898, 901 (8th Cir.) (certiorari to the United States Supreme Court is the sole means of reviewing disbarment by state supreme court), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 880, 102 S.Ct. 361, 70 L.Ed.2d 189 (1981).

Consequently, the dismissals by the district court are affirmed.


Summaries of

Michaelis v. Nebraska State Bar Ass'n

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Sep 13, 1983
717 F.2d 437 (8th Cir. 1983)

holding that a "district court is justified in dismissing complaint with prejudice" if the plaintiff persists in violating Rule 8

Summary of this case from Hines v. Graham

affirming dismissal with prejudice of needlessly prolix and confusing complaint because "the style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Vicom v. Harbridge Merchant Services, Inc.

affirming dismissal of a 98-page pro se complaint, the "style and prolixity" of which "would have made an orderly trial impossible."

Summary of this case from Snelling v. City of St. Louis

affirming dismissal of 98-page complaint where "[t]he style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Solomon v. Mich. Dep't of Corr.

affirming dismissal of a 98-page pro se complaint, the "style and prolixity" of which "would have made an orderly trial impossible."

Summary of this case from Baude v. City of St. Louis

affirming dismissal of a 98-page pro se complaint, the "style and prolixity" of which "would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Brown v. City of St. Louis

affirming dismissal of a 98-page pro se complaint, the "style and prolixity" of which "would have made an orderly trial impossible."

Summary of this case from Laney v. City of St. Louis

affirming dismissal of a 98-page pro se complaint, the "style and prolixity" of which "would have made an orderly trial impossible."

Summary of this case from Aldridge v. City of St. Louis

affirming dismissal of a plaintiff's amended complaint consisting of 144 paragraphs in 98 pages following his "persistence in refusing to conform his pleadings to the requirements of Rule 8..."

Summary of this case from Valencia v. Bd. of Regents, Univ. of N.M.

affirming dismissal of 98-page complaint where "[t]he style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Brown v. Suppes

affirming dismissal of 98-page complaint where "[t]he style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Hunter v. Wells Fargo Bank Ass'n

affirming dismissal of 98-page, 144-paragraph complaint that would have "made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Valley Forge Ins. Co. v. Hartford Iron & Metal, Inc.

affirming dismissal of 98-page complaint where "[t]he style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Kelly v. Trenton City Police Dep't

affirming dismissal of 98-page complaint where "[t]he style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Anderson v. Donahue

affirming dismissal of 98-page complaint where "[t]he style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Hart v. Ricky L. Wood & Wood Law Offices

affirming dismissal of 98-page complaint where "[t]he style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Aycock v. Bank of Am., N.A.

affirming dismissal of 98-page complaint where "[t]he style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Douglas v. Gregory

affirming dismissal of 98-page complaint where "[t]he style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Jones v. Shelby Cnty.

affirming dismissal of 98-page complaint where "[t]he style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Chumpia v. United States

affirming dismissal of 98-page complaint where "[t]he style and prolixity of these pleadings would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Brewster v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

affirming dismissal with prejudice under Rule 8 of a needlessly lengthy complaint

Summary of this case from Pahmer v. Greenberg

noting that "[o]rdinarily dismissal of a plaintiff's complaint for failure to comply with Rule 8 should be with leave to amend," but affirming dismissal with prejudice where plaintiff, after an initial dismissal with leave to amend, "refused persistently to comply" by twice refiling substantially longer complaints, the "style and prolixity of [which] would have made an orderly trial impossible"

Summary of this case from Ciralsky v. C.I.A

stating that dismissal for failure to comply with Rule 8 generally should be with leave to amend, but that persistent violation of Rule 8 may justify dismissal with prejudice

Summary of this case from Crawford v. Austin

dismissing plaintiff's complaint with prejudice after dismissing his first complaint without prejudice

Summary of this case from Hamilton-Warwick v. U.S. Bancorp

observing that absent persistent pleading failures, dismissal of a plaintiff's complaint should normally be with leave to amend

Summary of this case from Boles v. U.S. Dep't of Veterans Affairs
Case details for

Michaelis v. Nebraska State Bar Ass'n

Case Details

Full title:KEN L. MICHAELIS (FORMALLY KNOWN AS KENNETH L. MICHAELIS) AND IONA RAE…

Court:United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

Date published: Sep 13, 1983

Citations

717 F.2d 437 (8th Cir. 1983)

Citing Cases

Woolverton v. City of Wardell

Id. "[D]ismissal of a plaintiff's complaint for failure to comply with Rule 8 should be with leave to amend."…

Wang Xang Xiong v. Bank of Am., N.A.

"Ordinarily dismissal of a [pleading] for failure to comply with Rule 8 should be with leave to amend."…