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Scheinman v. Glass and Braus

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 4, 2019

STANLEY B. SCHEINMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
GLASS AND BRAUS, Defendant.

          RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS

          STEFAN R. UNDERHILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Stanley B. Scheinman, proceeding pro se, brought this action against law firm Glass and Braus and attorney Jessica Braus[1] to enjoin their collection of a disputed debt and to recover related damages. Scheinman asserts violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110a et seq., and Connecticut common law. Am. Compl., Doc. No. 39.

         Pending before the Court is a motion for a temporary restraining order and injunctive relief, a motion for clarification, a motion for a more definite statement, two motions to strike, a motion for a default entry, a motion for sanctions, and two motions to compel. For the reasons set forth below, all motions are denied.

         I. Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Injunctive Relief (Doc. No. 3)

         In his Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Injunctive Relief, Scheinman seeks to enjoin Glass and Braus from "engaging in any collection action" until they "demonstrate . . . compliance" with the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act. See Mot. for TRO, Doc. No. 3, at 2, 3.

         Preliminary injunctive relief is an "extraordinary remedy" that is "never awarded as of right." Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008). The Second Circuit applies similar standards in reviewing motions for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, and district courts have likewise "assumed them to be the same." See Foley v. State Elections Enforcement Com 'n, 2010 WL 2836722, at *3 (D. Conn. July 16, 2010) (internal citations omitted). Under this standard, a movant must establish "a threat of irreparable harm" and either (1) "a probability of success on the merits" or (2) "sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation, and a balance of hardships tipping decidedly in favor of the moving party." Id. (internal citations omitted).

         The Second Circuit has interpreted "irreparable harm" as an "injury for which a monetary award cannot be adequate compensation," and has therefore declined to issue preliminary injunctions when money damages offer adequate compensation. See Jackson Dairy, Inc. v. H. P. Hood & Sons, Inc., 596 F.2d 70, 72 (2d Cir. 1979). In the instant motion, Scheinman has not demonstrated that a monetary award would fail to adequately compensate him for any loss he would endure as a result of Glass and Braus's debt collection. Therefore, his motion is denied.

         II. Motion for Clarification on Order for More Definite Statement (Doc. Nos. 34 and 35) [2]

         Scheinman also moves for the Court to clarify and modify an order entered on November 29, 2018, in which I granted Glass and Braus's motion for a more definite statement of Scheinman's complaint and directed Scheinman to file an amended complaint limited to fifteen pages. See Order Granting Mot. for More Definite Statement, Doc. No. 29. In light of Scheinman's Amended Complaint, which was filed on January 3, 2019, 1 deny the motion as moot.

         III. Motion for More Definite Statement (Doc. No. 42)

         Glass and Braus moves for a more definite statement of Scheinman's Amended Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(e). See Mot. for More Definite Statement, Doc. No. 42. Glass and Braus specifically seeks to remove the "Background" section of the Amended Complaint, which details the motion practice and the Court's orders in this action thus far. See Mem. In Support of Mot. for More Definite Statement, Doc. No. 43, at 2-3. According to Glass and Braus, that information is "improper and do[es] not belong in the Complaint." Id. at 3.

         The objective of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(e), however, is "to remedy unintelligible pleadings," not to remove purportedly improper sections from a complaint. Pullen v. NorthStar Presidio Mgmt. Co., No. 3:98 CV 771 (WWE), 1998 WL 696010, at *1 (D. Conn. Sept. 11, 1998). To that end, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(e) permits a party to move for a more definite statement when the complaint is "so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably prepare a response." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e).

         In this case, Glass and Braus has not established that Scheinman's Amended Complaint is so defective as to preclude it from responding. For that reason, and because motions for more definite statement are "generally disfavored," the motion is denied. Pullen, 1998 WL 696010, at *1. Glass and Braus shall file a responsive pleading within 14 days of this order.

         IV. Motion to Strike in Part Glass and Braus's Rule 26(a)(1) ...


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