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Villano v. Miller

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 9, 2019

ANTHONY G. VILLANO, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
JEFF MILLER, et al. Defendants.

          ORDER OF DISMISSAL

          KARI A. DOOLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Anthony Villano, acting pro se, filed a Complaint in this Court in which he purports to bring claims on behalf of himself, what appear to be three other individuals, and what appear to be four legal entities.[1] He names twenty-seven defendants. For the reasons set forth in this order, the Court sua sponte dismisses this action without leave to amend.

         Background

         This is Mr. Villano's fourth complaint filed in this Court in less than nine months, two of which remain pending. On January 18, 2019, Mr. Villano filed his first action, Villano v. Woodgreen Shelton, No. 3:19-cv-00097 [hereinafter Villano I], which named seven defendants, some of which were police departments or law enforcement officers. The non-law enforcement defendants, including Jeff Miller who is named as a defendant in this action, were dismissed from the case after Mr. Villano failed to effectuate service on them. Id., ECF No. 42. The remaining law enforcement defendants have moved to dismiss all claims against them. Id., ECF Nos. 24, 27. Mr. Villano has not responded to the motions to dismiss, and his time to do so has passed.

         Next, on February 27, 2019, Mr. Villano filed Villano & Gallo International Trust v. Woodgreen Shelton LLC, No. 19-cv-00287 [hereinafter Villano II], in which he sought to bring suit on behalf of two legal entities against over fifty defendants, some of which are named defendants to this action. After the filing of that action, Mr. Villano was admonished of the need to retain counsel; id., ECF No. 10; because “an artificial entity cannot proceed pro se and any person who represents an artificial entity must ‘be an attorney licensed to practice law before our courts,' which Mr. Villano is not”; id., ECF No. 13 (quoting Jones v. Niagara Frontier Transp. Auth., 722 F.2d 20, 22 (2d Cir. 1983)). Mr. Villano did not thereafter retain counsel, and the action was dismissed sua sponte. Villano II, ECF No. 13.

         Then, on May 8, 2019, Mr. Villano filed a third action, Villano v. State of Connecticut Judicial Department, No., 3:19-cv-00695 [hereinafter Villano III], in which he alleges that his constitutional rights are being violated in his ongoing state criminal prosecutions. The defendants in that case have moved to dismiss all claims on a variety of bases. Id., ECF No. 11. Mr. Villano has not replied to the motion to dismiss, and his time to do so has passed.

         Finally, on September 5, 2019, Mr. Villano filed the instant action on behalf of himself and six other plaintiffs against twenty-seven defendants, some of whom he has previously sued or attempted to sue in federal court. Villano v. Miller, No. 19-cv-01376, ECF No. 1 (D. Conn. Sept. 5, 2019) [hereinafter Villano IV].

         Discussion

         The Complaint is facially defective in several respects. First and foremost, the other individual plaintiffs named in this Complaint did not sign the Complaint or otherwise appear on their own behalf. Given the content of the entire submission, it is not clear that these individuals are even aware that Mr. Villano purports to represent them and bring claims on their behalf in this action. But whether they are aware or not, Mr. Villano does not have legal standing to assert claims for anyone other than himself. Am. Psychiatric Ass'n v. Anthem Health Plans, Inc., 821 F.3d 352, 358 (2d Cir. 2016) (“a plaintiff may ordinarily assert only his own legal rights, not those of third parties”).[2] Nor is Mr. Villano, who is not an attorney, permitted to practice law without a license. Indeed, practicing law without a license in the State of Connecticut is a felony. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 51-88(b)(1).

         Mr. Villano also names four legal entities as plaintiffs. As discussed above, Mr. Villano has attempted on two prior occasions to bring claims on behalf of legal entities, including two of the entities named as plaintiffs in the instant Complaint. Villano I, ECF No. 34; Villano II, ECF No. 1. In both instances, the Court informed Mr. Villano that an artificial entity cannot proceed pro se and any person who represents an artificial entity must “be an attorney licensed to practice law before our courts.” Jones, 722 F.2d at 22; see also Villano I, ECF No. 37 at 4; Villano II, ECF No. 13. Nevertheless, Mr. Villano has yet again attempted to file a complaint on behalf of legal entities without attorney representation. This he cannot do.

         For these reasons, the Complaint is dismissed to the extent it purports to assert claims on behalf of individuals or entities other than Mr. Villano.

         The Complaint is also, sua sponte, dismissed to the extent it purports to bring claims by Mr. Villano. The “principal function” of the pleading requirements embodied in Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “is to give the adverse party fair notice of the claim asserted so as to enable him to answer and prepare for trial.” Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42 (2d Cir. 1988); see also Wynder v. McMahon, 360 F.3d 73, 79 (2d Cir. 2004) (“The key to Rule 8(a)'s requirements is whether adequate notice is given.”). “[F]air notice [is] that which will enable the adverse party to answer and prepare for trial, allow the application of res judicata, and identify the nature of the case so that it may be assigned the proper form of trial.” Wynder, 360 F.3d at 79. (internal quotation marks omitted). Rule 8 requires a plaintiff to “disclose sufficient information to permit the defendant ‘to have a fair understanding of what the plaintiff is complaining about and to know whether there is a legal basis for recovery.'” Kittay v. Kornstein, 230 F.3d 531, 541 (2d Cir. 2000) (emphasis added) (quoting Ricciuti v. New York City Transit Auth., 941 F.2d 119, 123 (2d Cir. 1991)).

         When a complaint does not comply with Rule 8's requirements, “the court has the power, on its own initiative . . . to dismiss the complaint.” See Salahuddin, 861 F.2d at 42. “Dismissal [however] is usually reserved for those cases in which the complaint is so confused, ambiguous, vague, or otherwise unintelligible that its true substance, if any, is well disguised.” Id.

         Here, although Mr. Villano used the form complaint for this District, the Complaint still fails to provide fair notice. With respect to the Court's “Jurisdiction, ” where he is instructed to “list statute(s), ” Mr. Villano asserts: “CT Invitation as Plaintiffs I-R-S I-C-E F-B-I S-S-A F-D-I-C.” (Villano IV, ECF No. 1 at 2.) And although Mr. Villano identifies his claim to be ‚ÄúViolations of my rights under I, II, IV, V, VI ...


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