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Overly Voluminous Pleadings Result in Dismissal (PA)

January 11, 2018

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On January 4, 2018, <a href="http://blog.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Schlitt-v.-EQT-Corp.-et-al..pdf">the Superior Court of Pennsylvania</a> affirmed preliminary objections which dismissed a pro se plaintiff’s fourth amended complaint after it found he had waived all the issues therein.
On February 23, 2015, the underlying trial court sustained preliminary objections against pro se plaintiff Andreas Schilit’s (“Schilit”) third amended complaint since it was not in a concise and summary form.  Schilit’s third amended complaint contained over 800 paragraphs, mixed causes of action, and cross-referencing counts.  In response, Schilit filed a fourth amended complaint which attempted to remove some of the paragraphs in compliance with the court’s order, but he instead reinserted them in an attached affidavit to the fourth complaint.
More preliminary objections followed to which Schilit filed a fifth amended complaint which was even longer than its predecessors.  The numerous defendants all filed motions to strike claiming that Schilit’s filing was in bad faith and merely an attempt to hurry and harass them.  The court then granted their motions to strike and granted their preliminary objections to the fourth complaint.
On appeal, Schilit file a Rule 1925(b) statement which was twelve pages and 136 numbered paragraphs; in direct contrast to the rule’s requirement for a “concise” statement of appeal.  The Superior Court stated that if a court has to guess on what issues an appellant is raising, then it is not enough for meaningful review.  In addition, the court found Schilit’s brief to be disorganized and rambling and decided that he had waived all issues on appeal.  This case demonstrates the idiosyncrasies of dealing with pro se plaintiffs, forcing defendants to address baseless, but timeconsuming pleadings and evidentiary issues.  Thanks to Peter Cardwell for his contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="mailto:BGibbons@wcmlaw.com">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.

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