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Shawnetta T. Graham v. State of Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION


February 1, 2011

SHAWNETTA T. GRAHAM, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Shawnetta Graham ("Graham") appears to believe that because she is proceeding in this lawsuit without a lawyer, she is entitled to ignore the rules applicable to all federal court litigants. It is true that more leeway is afforded pro se litigants because they cannot be expected to have full awareness of the technicalities of legal substance and procedure, but that does not extend to permission to proceed without regard to fundamental principles.

In this instance this Court's November 12, 2010 minute order (Dkt. 8, issued immediately after Graham filed suit) specifically dismissed out Graham's named individual defendants, leaving only the State of Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice as Graham's target.*fn1 Less than a week later another minute order called Graham's attention to the provisions of Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 8(a) in the course of striking the numerous exhibits she had sought to attach to her self-prepared Complaint.

Now Graham has just tendered her First Amended Complaint, which is again totally heedless of the express directive in Rule 8(a)(2)(emphasis added):

A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:

(2) A short and plain statement of the claims that the pleader is entitled to relief....

Instead Graham has provided a turgid 26-page narrative chock-full of evidentiary detail -- and astonishingly, even though her claims of unlawful discrimination are framed in terms of the American With Disabilities Act, not a word in the Complaint or in her EEOC Charges of Discrimination identifies the nature of her claimed disability or the respects in which her employer failed to accommodate such disability in refusing Graham's desires to set her own rules for the conduct of her job.*fn2

In sum, Graham's First Amended Complaint is stricken. Leave is granted for her to try once again on or before February 15, 2011, failing which this action will be dismissed.


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