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Shanahan Law Group Transitions to Nelson Mullins

December 1, 2020

Shanahan Law Group Transitions to Nelson Mullins
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November 2020

The Scrivener: Shotgun Pleadings

By Elizabeth Scott Moïse

SC Lawyer

My history with shotguns is not good. I was a pre-teen the first time I ever picked up a shotgun. Daddy thought I should have a target practice lesson in our back yard, but the recoil from my first shot almost took off my shoulder. So that was the last time I shot the gun. Many years later, I was going through airport security so I could board a flight to New York for depositions. While I was waiting for my big canvas carry-on bag to reach the end of the baggage screening conveyor belt, the TSA agent ordered me to the side. Frowning and tense, he asked if I wanted to declare anything in my bag. “Rats,” I thought, “I forgot to take out the Diet Coke.” Within minutes, four additional agents surrounded me, total overkill for a Diet Coke. One agent then reached into the bag and—to my complete shock—reported into his walkie-talkie that he had confiscated “five rounds of live ammo.” Five. Rounds. Of. Live. Ammo. In. My. Bag. In. An. Airport. The live ammo turned out to be shotgun shells that I am 99% sure belonged to my high-school son, although he denies this fact. Unbelievably, after taking my identification and making several calls while I waited, paralyzed, the agents returned smiling and said I could go board my flight. Yes, it had a good ending, but I never wanted to see another shotgun or shell, ever.

Then, along came shotgun pleadings, bane of my existence.

What are shotgun pleadings, and why are they so bad?

Reprinted with permission.