Federal judges usually don’t take it upon themselves to throw out lawsuits at the very first step, and normally not unless one of the parties to a suit asks them to reject a case. But that is exactly what happened recently when a consumer filed a complaint against the credit reporting company Equifax Inc.
Atlanta-based consumer credit reporting agency Equifax recently announced that a massive data breach compromised the personal data of 143 million Equifax customers. The announcement resulted in a series of data breach class action lawsuits against Equifax, at least one securities class action complaint, and an enforcement action by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D). There’s even a possibility that Equifax executives may face a shareholder derivative suit over allegations that they sold company stock after the breach was discovered, but before it was disclosed to the public.
However, aggrieved consumers shouldn’t hastily file suit, as courts don’t take kindly to thrown-together-kitchen-sink complaints. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida reviewed a complaint against Equifax seeking to represent all consumers in the U.S. affected by the breach concluded that it wasn’t up to its standards, and told the plaintiff he needs to replead his claims.
Judge Roy B. Dalton Jr. said the 33-page, nine-count complaint “is a shotgun pleading that provides a very faulty foundation for this complex case.” The court explained that the most common type of a shotgun pleading is “a complaint containing multiple counts where each count adopts the allegation of all preceding counts, causing each successive count to carry all that came before and the last count to be a combination of the entire complaint.”
Dismissing the complaint without prejudice, the court said that the complaint’s allegations “reflect diverse legal theories” but each allegation “improperly incorporates by reference all of the preceding paragraphs.” The court also found that the plaintiff sued two distinct defendants—Equifax Inc. and Equifax Information Services Inc.—but the allegations are “confusingly” directed to Equifax.
Saying that such errors must be corrected before the action can proceed, the court gave the plaintiff until Oct. 6 to file an amended complaint.
To keep up with the constantly evolving world of privacy and security sign up for the Bloomberg BNA Privacy and Security Update.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)