United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge
plaintiff Patrick James Helton has filed a complaint against
his former employer and several of his former coworkers and
supervisors. Plaintiff alleges that a former coworker
sexually assaulted him and that defendants retaliated against
him after he reported the assault. The court granted
plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Dkt.
next step is for the court to screen the complaint and
dismiss any portion that is legally frivolous, malicious,
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or
asks for money damages from a defendant who by law cannot be
sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. When
screening a pro se litigant’s complaint, the
court construes the allegations liberally and in the
plaintiff’s favor. McGowan v. Hulick, 612 F.3d
636, 640 (7th Cir. 2010).
considering plaintiff’s allegations, I will dismiss his
complaint for failing to comply with Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8, and I will direct him to file an amended
complaint that clarifies his federal claim.
the following facts from plaintiff’s complaint.
appears that plaintiff and the individual defendants worked
for Slumberland Furniture during the events plaintiff
describes. In June 2014, plaintiff traveled to Minnesota for
job training. On June 8, 2014, defendant Gregory Stump, a
coworker, verbally, physically, and sexually assaulted
plaintiff; Stump was charged with fifth-degree sexual assault
in Ramsey County, Minnesota. The following day, defendant
Paige Palmer, assistant general manager, told plaintiff that
he should not say anything because she “didn’t
want a defamation lawsuit[.]” Dkt. 1, at 3. Slumberland
human resources personnel referred the situation to defendant
Mary Hesch, the owner, for investigation.
days later, Ramsey County released Stump. Plaintiff texted
defendant Palmer and told her that he was “terrified,
” but Palmer responded “he won’t hurt you,
he was drunk.” Id. at 4. Plaintiff completed
his training and returned to Wisconsin on June 13, 2014,
where another Slumberland employee, Robert Sprague, told
plaintiff that he had warned defendant Jesse Smith, the
general manager, and defendant Hesch about Stump and had
cautioned against Stump and plaintiff rooming together during
2014, plaintiff transferred to a new position in sales at the
Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Slumberland store. At that time,
plaintiff filed a workers’ compensation claim and asked
for time off “for healing and counseling.”
Id. Defendant Hesch denied the request. Plaintiff
mentions that at this point, defendant Hesch had given him
permission to make purchases from the store.
complaint is difficult to follow at times, but in August
2014, plaintiff appears to have lost a few of his
commissions, for unexplained reasons. Defendant Smith began
calling plaintiff at the store to harass him when he made
mistakes. At some point, defendant Smith told plaintiff,
“we don’t want another Minnesota incident and
that is why your [sic] in the Point location.”
January 2015, plaintiff caught defendant Hesch going through
his personal phone. Hesch threatened plaintiff because she
believed that plaintiff was “coming after [her]”
for “lots of money.” Id. at 4-5.
January 15, 2015, plaintiff was informed that he owed the
company over $12, 000 for purchases he made. Again,
plaintiff’s story is confusing at times, but it appears
that plaintiff denied that he owed that much. Defendants
Smith and Hesch forced plaintiff to sign some
form-“write ups”-acknowledging the debt, and they
threatened to have plaintiff’s daughter taken from him.
The following day, plaintiff was terminated for making a
purchase without manager approval, although plaintiff
maintains that he had defendant Hesch’s approval.
Defendants Smith and Ryan Mattson, assistant warehouse
manager, then came to plaintiff’s home to repossess
much of his furniture. Plaintiff appears to allege that the
receipts and paperwork were incorrect, and that defendant
Hesch kept incorrect purchase records. Plaintiff was
eventually criminally charged with theft.
concludes his complaint by stating that he brings claims for
retaliation for reporting sexual assault, sexual harassment,
assault and battery, negligent hiring and retention, PTSD,
harassment, failure to file workers compensation ...