Federal judge: Pro se lawsuit over workers compensation claim "incomprehensible, disjointed"

By Marian Johns | May 29, 2019

FORT MYERS — A federal judge has ruled that a Naples man filing a lawsuit against his insurance carrier pro se has an "incomprehensible" shotgun pleading in a case involving a dispute over a workers compensation claim. 

According to the May 22 U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida filing, defendants Hartford Insurance Company of the Southeast and Dr. Stephen Schengber filed a motion to dismiss an amended complaint filed by plaintiff Thomas Sbrocco. 

Sbrocco filed suit against Hartford and Schengber in March alleging Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claims and other "criminal acts" by Hartford and Schengber. According to the court filing, Sbrocco owned and operated Cappelli's Catering Inc. in Naples. In 2014, he says he injured his left hand and began to collect workers compensation benefits from Hartford, which held his workers compensation insurance policy. 

Sbrocco claims he began to have "psychological symptoms" due to his hand injury that kept him from working. He then filed a "petition for benefits" and was evaluated by Schengber, whom Sbrocco alleges is "not qualified" and in October 2017 had his benefits suspended. Sbrocco then "voluntarily dismissed" the compensation dispute and filed his lawsuit with the court and then added a RICO claim against the defendants. 


Senior U.S. District Judge John Steele dismissed Sbrocco's amended complaint without prejudice and stated that his claim "fails to set forth concise statements of the facts, and is vague and conclusory" with the second amended complaint "also disjointed."

Steele also concluded the court could dismiss the case with prejudice if Sbrocco's second amended complaint "remains an incomprehensible shotgun pleading."

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