BIG TOE )
Plaintiff, ) Case No. ________________
vs. ) COMPLAINT
BADDY MCGEE ) DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Those parentheses are supposed to be lined up. I'm sure that's much easier to do in a legitimate word processing program. That's the caption page, it doesn't actually have to take up the entire page, but it should have all those extra lines and such. Check out the pro se handbook for more info.
Next comes your actual complaint where you have to prove to the court that you are legit. First you have to show that you're filing your case in the right court (jurisdiction). When you're writing your complaint you have to number your paragraphs and each paragraph must discuss only a single set of ideas. Because of this, paragraphs usually end up being a single sentence. So my jurisdiction section might look like this:
1. Jurisdiction. This court has jurisdiction over this complaint because it arises under the laws of the United States.
2. Venue. Venue is appropriate in this court because the plaintiff resides in this district, the defendant works in this district, and the acts complained of occurred in this district.
4. Intradistrict Assignment. This lawsuit should be assigned to the San Francisco Division of this Court because the events which give rise to this lawsuit occurred in the city and county of San Francisco.
After that your complaint should contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." (FRCP rule 8(a)). You don't have to be super detailed, but you should mention key points of your lawsuit. The New Mexico case's complaint was 38 sentences.
5. On September 14th, 2009, Defendant was dispatched to respond to imaginary restaurant The Burrito Shop in regards to a male patron in possession of a firearm.
6. When Defendant McGee arrived at the restaurant, he was greeted by John Smith who was the manager of the restaurant.
7. Mr. Smith reported that the Plaintiff was eating dinner with a visible holstered firearm on his belt.
8. Defendant approached Plaintiff and asked if he was wearing a firearm.
9. The Defendant's actions violated Article I, Section 8 of the California Constitution.
10. As a direct result of Defendant's actions, Plaintiff suffered compensable damages in an amount to be determined at trial.
You're basically setting the stage with all the crucial bits broken down into nice bite-sized sentences. You're trying to convince the court that your case has merit and shouldn't be dismissed altogether. For example, if my complaint ended at paragraph 8 above, the case would be dismissed because there's no complaint. Taken as a whole my complaint would be valid as long as Article I, Section 8 of the California Constitution said something about how a person eating a burrito shall not be interrupted by a police officer.
Finish your complaint off with what you're asking the court to do for you.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that the Court will award him:
A. Compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial
B. Any other relief the Court deems fair and just.
416 Market st.
San Francisco, CA 94111