United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON, District Judge
Derrick McCann, a Madison resident, has filed this proposed
civil action in which he states that defendant Pacal Bayley
discriminated against him based on his race with regard to
his music career. The court has already concluded that
plaintiff may proceed in forma pauperis in this case
without prepayment of any portion of the $350 filing fee.
next step is for the court to screen plaintiff’s
complaint and dismiss any portion that is legally frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or asks for monetary damages from a defendant who by
law cannot be sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
In screening any pro se litigant’s complaint, I must
read the allegations of the complaint generously, Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam), and
accept plaintiff’s allegations as true, Bonte v.
U.S. Bank, N.A., 624 F.3d 461, 463 (7th Cir. 2010).
reviewing plaintiff’s complaint with these principles
in mind, I conclude that it must be dismissed for failure to
satisfy the pleading standards of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8. I will give plaintiff an opportunity to correct
the following facts from plaintiff’s complaint.
Plaintiff Derrick McCann, an African American resident of
Madison, is a hip-hop artist who performs under the name
"Lil Rail." In 2009, plaintiff started a business
relationship with music producer Pacal Bayley, who goes by
the name "DJ Pain 1." Plaintiff and defendant
collaborated on several songs, but at some point, defendant
stopped supporting plaintiff’s career. Plaintiff says
that defendant "has used his power to make sure
[plaintiff’s] original vocals and beat don’t get
released, " and that defendant "put all energy into
helping other artist[s] around the world but not his own in
the community." Plaintiff has attempted to contact
defendant but he has not heard back from him.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires a complaint to
include "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A
complaint "must be presented with intelligibility
sufficient for a court or opposing party to understand
whether a valid claim is alleged and if so what it is."
Vicom, Inc. v. Harbridge Merchant Servs., Inc., 20
F.3d 771, 775 (7th Cir. 1994). As with plaintiff’s
other pending lawsuits in this court, McCann v. Family
Court Counseling Service, 15-cv-093-jdp (W.D. Wis.), and
McCann v. Doyle, 15-cv-104-jdp (W.D. Wis.),
plaintiff’s allegations in this case fail to comply
with these rules.
plaintiff is saying that defendant discriminated against him
based on his race and that their business relationship has
soured, he does not explain enough about defendant’s
actions or the nature of their business relationship to be
able to tell whether anything defendant has done violated
plaintiff’s rights under either federal or state law.
For instance, plaintiff alleges that defendant "used his
power to make sure [plaintiff’s songs] don’t get
released, " but he does not explain what he means by
this. He does not explain whether defendant had a contractual
obligation to support him in any way, and he does not explain
why he thinks his race has anything to do with
dismiss plaintiff’s complaint for violating Rule 8, and
give him a chance to file an amended complaint setting out
his claims against defendant in short and plain statements.
Plaintiff should draft his amended complaint as if he were
telling a story to people who know nothing about him,
defendant, or the events that are the subject of his case. In
particular, plaintiff should explain the nature of his
business relationship with defendant, what actions defendant
took that plaintiff believes harmed him, and why he believes
these actions constituted racial discrimination or otherwise
are unlawful. If plaintiff does not submit an amended
complaint by the deadline set forth below, I will dismiss the
case for plaintiff’s failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted.
there is the possibility that, even after plaintiff amends
his complaint, this case will involve only state law claims,
I will also ask plaintiff to show whether this court may
exercise diversity jurisdiction over his claims. This federal
court cannot decide a case involving only state law claims
unless the complaint alleges complete diversity of
citizenship among the parties and an amount in controversy
exceeding $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Based on his
current allegations, it seems likely that both plaintiff and
defendant are citizens of Wisconsin. If this is not the case,
plaintiff should amend his complaint to explain both his and
defendant’s citizenship. He should also explain much
money he seeks as damages in this case.
Plaintiff Derrick McCann’s complaint is DISMISSED for
failure to comply with ...