United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge.
Gary W. Broom, a resident of Ixonia, Wisconsin, has filed
this proposed civil action in which he states that defendant
Aztalan Engineering, Inc., terminated him from his job as a
machinist. 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
Gary W. Broom worked as a machinist at defendant Aztalan
Engineering, Inc., located in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, starting
in 2009. On June 23, 2015, plaintiff was terminated "for
not being a team player." He was taken to human
resources, where he was shown a piece of paper "not
addressed to anybody, not dated, not signed, and alleged it
was myself." As a result of his termination, plaintiff
was forced to retire early and he lost his health coverage.
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). Plaintiff's allegations in
this case fail to comply with these rules.
on his very brief allegations, it is difficult to tell why
plaintiff believes he is entitled to relief from this court.
Usually, when an employee brings a lawsuit alleging that he
or she was wrongfully terminated, the employee will explain
the basis for that claim: that the termination was due to
discrimination of some kind or that it breached an employment
contract, for instance. Plaintiff checked the box on the
complaint form indicating that he is suing under state law,
which perhaps indicates that he is not saying that he was
discriminated against under federal law. But even so,
plaintiff does not explain why he thinks defendant violated
his rights by firing him. If plaintiff was an at-will
employee, defendant has wide discretion in deciding a reason
for firing him, but plaintiff does not explain whether he is
an at-will employee. Plaintiff mentions a "piece of
paper . . . alleged [to be] myself, " which raises the
question whether he is saying that he was fired because his
supervisors thought he had written an inappropriate message
of some kind, but his allegations are simply too vague to
tell what he means.
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 whether he was an
at-will or contract employee, and why he believes his
termination was 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
Plaintiff Gary W. Broom's complaint is DISMISSED for
failure to comply with ...