United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge.
matter is before the Court on the motion of Defendant Wilhelm
Construction for a more definite statement under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(e). Mot. Definite Statement 1, ECF No.
5. Pro se Plaintiff Exzabein Miller did not respond.
complaint consists of a two-page, single spaced paragraph
that appears to describe the events that led up to and
followed his termination from Wilhelm Construction. Compl.
3-4, ECF No. 1-1. At the top of the complaint are the words,
“Violation of civil Rights code VII (sec 232a, b)
(232.5).” Id. at 3.
complaint states that on November 15, 2016, Miller
“exercised the protection of his and others [sic] civil
rights against discrimination.” Id. at 3. It
further affirms that Wilhelm Construction “sought to
discourage concerted activity among workers exercising the
right to protect themselves in regards to their rights that
were recognized and protected according to the Fair Labor
standards [sic] Act of 1938.” Id.
“Smoot”-a person named in the complaint who is
described alternatively as the foreman and as Miller's
immediate supervisor-allegedly attempted to segregate Miller
from his co-workers to “eliminate discussions about
pay, unsafe, unfair and undermining work conditions.”
asserts in the complaint that “Supervision” sent
someone named “Quincy” to a different work site.
Id. “Supervision” allegedly sent Miller
to another work site. Id.
unspecified time, “Quincy, Big, O and co-worker which
[sic] were all African American” spoke privately to
Miller about “the undermining and disenfranchising of
their work quality” and about Wilhelm
Construction's alleged attempts to prevent them from
whistle-blowing about “the unfair treatment” and
unsafe scaffolding. Id. Miller says that he sought
to rectify the unsafe scaffolding. Id. Smoot then
allegedly told Miller to leave the work site. Id.
“Big O” tried to help Miller, but he
“stayed out it [sic] in fear of losing his job.”
been terminated from the work site, Miller says he asked why
he had been paid less than the prevailing wage. Id.
In response, Smoot's superior “lied” and told
Miller that Wilhelm Construction did not pay a prevailing
wage, which Miller claims violates the Davis Bacon Act of
1931. Id. at 3-4. Miller then apparently tried to
contact a payroll assistant to determine if his “pay
was right.” Id. at 4. He alleges that the
payroll assistant ignored his multiple phone calls.
Id. at 4.
his complaint, Miller claims that Wilhelm Construction and a
union are “in cahoots” to exercise a
“closed shop for the Omni construction protect”
in violation of the Taft Hartley Act of 1947 because on
November 15, 2016, “another [f]oreman of Wilhelm
[Construction] . . . tried to coerce [him] into joining the
labors union [sic] and told [him] that if [he] didn't
that he was not going to pay [him].” Id.
Miller asserts that he told the other foreman that he
“was another [sic] skill set of another trade and
[asked] whether he would pay welder pay[, ] but he evaded the
also maintains that Wilhelm Construction is “only
wanting to hire African Americans to benefit their
interests” and is “exploiting the minorities by
using pay and intimidation.” Id. Miller
contends that these actions caused him “crisis”
in his personal life, the loss of his electric, and
ultimately his eviction from his living arrangements.
Id. Miller states that he is seeking punitive
damages and restitution for “lost worktime,
unaccountable pay and forward dated pay for the loss of
welfare due to the discrimination and retaliation and seek
[sic] to be litigated speedily and in affirmative
Construction now moves for a more definite statement under
Rule 12(e). Mot. Definite Statement 1, ECF No. 5. The company
asserts that the Court should grant its motion for a more
definite statement because the complaint “makes
references to potentially six or more federal statutes that
may, or may not, represent causes of action Plaintiff intends
to pursue” and that “[n]one of those potential
causes of causes are made clear or delineated . . . other
than a specific reference to Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act.” Id. Wilhelm Construction explains that
the “confusing nature of the Complaint and the
potential causes of action” prevent it from addressing
all of the “potential deficiencies in the
Complaint.” Id. at 2.
12(e) provides that a “party may move for a more
definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive
pleading is allowed but which is so vague or ambiguous that
the party cannot reasonably prepare a response.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). “[A] motion for more definite
statement is designed to strike at unintelligibility rather
than simple want of detail…. [It] must be denied where
the subject complaint is not so vague or ambiguous as to make
it unreasonable to use pretrial devices to fill any possible
gaps in detail.” Midgett v. KSP Head Chaplain,
No. 5:11-CV-P132-R, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132186, at *4 (W.D.
Ky. Sept. 17, 2012) (alterations in original) (citing
Fed. Ins. Co. v. Webne, 513 F.Supp.2d 921, 924 (N.D.
Ohio 2007)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“Federal courts generally disfavor motions for more
definite statements[, and i]n view of the notice pleading
standards of Rule 8(a)(2) and the opportunity for extensive
pretrial discovery, courts rarely grant such motions.”
Id. (alteration in original). As such, a “Rule