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United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.

Jesse HARRIS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, Sony Music Entertainment, Lionsgate Entertainment, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 20-13382

Decided: April 28, 2021

Before NEWSOM, GRANT, and ANDERSON, Circuit Judges. Jesse Harris, Pro Se Brendan S. Everman, James George Sammataro, Pryor Cashman, LLP, Miami, FL, for Defendant - Appellee Universal Music Group David Corey Rose, Pryor Cashman, LLP, New York, NY, for Defendant - Appellee Sony Music Entertainment Tom J. Ferber, Pryor Cashman, LLP, New York, NY, for Defendant - Appellee Lionsgate Entertainment

Jesse Harris, proceeding pro se, sued Sony Music Entertainment, Lionsgate Entertainment, and Universal Music Group, alleging that they used his Facebook posts without his authorization to create a music album, film, and several music videos. The district court dismissed his initial complaint as a shotgun pleading and provided instructions on how to file an amended complaint that complied with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 10. Harris largely ignored those instructions and filed a similarly deficient amended complaint. Meanwhile, the clerk entered default against Sony. After the defendants appeared, the district court vacated the clerk's entry of default and dismissed Harris's amended complaint with prejudice.

Harris appeals and has filed a two-page brief that contends that the district court erred by entering both orders. He claims, without legal citation, that we should reverse the order vacating the entry of default because, first, the district court granted Sony's motion without waiting for his opposition, and second, the district court did not promptly sign off on his motion for entry of default judgment. He also suggests that the district court should not have dismissed his amended complaint because he “did not fail to state a claim,” and indeed included a “perfectly legal and cognizable claim against the defendants.” But that is the entirety of his argument—he doesn't explain what his claim is or what facts supported it, nor does he cite any legal authority (not even a standard of review) to back up his conclusory assertions.

Though we read briefs filed by pro se litigants liberally, we still require them to brief issues on appeal and make more than a passing reference to errors without legal support. Timson v. Sampson, 518 F.3d 870, 874 (11th Cir. 2008); Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Fla. v. Cypress, 814 F.3d 1202, 1211 (11th Cir. 2015). An “appellant's simply stating that an issue exists, without further argument or discussion, constitutes abandonment of that issue and precludes our considering the issue on appeal.” United States v. Delva, 922 F.3d 1228, 1243 n.4 (11th Cir. 2019) (quotation omitted); see also Timson, 518 F.3d at 874 (finding a pro se litigant's claims abandoned).

Here, that's all Harris did. He made “passing references” to the district court's errors below and treated them in a “perfunctory manner without supporting arguments and authority.” Sapuppo v. Allstate Floridian Ins. Co., 739 F.3d 678, 681 (11th Cir. 2014). Because he gives us no legal basis to find that the district court erred, he has abandoned these arguments on appeal. Id. The district court's orders are therefore affirmed.



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