Monday, January 23, 2006

Judge Likes Fact Summary More Than Complaint

Here’s something to think about next time you’re cranking out that amended complaint you thought was concise. You see, after striking certain portions of Plaintiffs’ complaint in the Netopia securities class action, and while allowing Plaintiffs to amend their complaint again, Judge Ronald M. Whyte (N.D. Cal.) expressed his displeasure with the length of their “fifty-page complaint.” Judge Whyte said he “understands the defendants' attempt to prune the complaint down to a manageable size through their motion to dismiss or strike,” as “the complaint is needlessly cumbersome, “and “plaintiffs do not need anywhere near fifty pages to state two causes of action against five defendants, even under the heightened pleading standards of the Reform Act.”

Judge Whyte also pointed out that “in their opposition to the defendants' motion to dismiss or strike, the plaintiffs filed a thirty-two-page memorandum of points and authorities. Ten of these pages are a summary of the factual allegations of the complaint. This ten-page summary appears to the court to be a much more useful version of the complaint, and shows that the plaintiffs can present the complaint in a shorter form.” So, “as a matter of prudent case management, the court will order Plaintiffs to file a streamlined version of their complaint which does not exceed thirty-five pages within twenty days of the date of this order.”

You can read In re Netopia, issued December 15, 2005, at 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38823.

Nugget: “Kadish whispering into the ear of Farrell while she spoke to Andalcio is certainly suspicious, but plaintiffs do not provide the substance of Kadish's instructions to Farrell.”

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