United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
AND ORDER DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND/CORRECT
NAME OF DEFENDANT (DKT. NO. 15), GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION TO AMEND/CORRECT AMOUNT OF DAMAGES (DKT. NO. 15),
DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (DKT. NO.
16), DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECUSAL (DKT NO. 17),
AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATIOIN (DKT.
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff alleges that the defendants violated his
constitutional rights when he was confined at the Milwaukee
County Criminal Justice Facility (MCCJF). Dkt. No. 10. On
June 30, 2016, the court screened the amended complaint and
identified the claims upon which it would allow the plaintiff
to proceed in this case. Dkt. No. 11 at 8. The plaintiff has
filed a motion to amend/correct the name of a defendant and
amount of damages (Dkt. No. 15), a motion for reconsideration
of the court's decision denying his motion to appoint
counsel (Dkt. No. 16), a motion for recusal (Dkt. No. 17),
and a motion for reconsideration of the court's dismissal
of Sheriff of David Clarke (Dkt. No. 18). The court resolves
those motions in this order.
Motion for Recusal
plaintiff has filed a motion to recuse Judge Pepper for bias,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §455(a). Dkt. No 17. He asserts
that the court has “continually neglected her
equalitarian duty, when failing to inquire further into Mr.
Brown's claims, ” either ignoring them or
dismissing them. Id. at 1. The plaintiff states that
he has valid claims, and that the court has blatantly passed
over the factual issues to erroneously dismiss the claims. He
asserts that the court has shown deliberate bias, and he asks
that the court recuse itself from this case, as well was from
his other two cases (Case No. 15-cv-509-PP, Case No.
455(a) of Title 28 of the United States Code requires a
federal judge to “disqualify [her]self in any
proceeding in which [her] impartiality might reasonably be
questioned.” The plaintiff asks the court to recuse
itself because he disagrees with the contents of the
court's judicial rulings. “First, judicial rulings
alone almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or
partiality motion.” Liteky v. United States,
510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994). The plaintiff does not suggest that
Judge Pepper relied on knowledge acquired outside of the
judicial proceedings, or displayed deep-seated and
unequivocal antagonism that would render fair judgment
impossible. See id. at 556. The court will deny the
plaintiff's request for disqualification under §455.
Motion to Amend or Correct Defendant and Amount of
motion, the plaintiff asks to substitute Milwaukee County in
place of former defendant Milwaukee County Sheriff's
Department. Dkt. No. 15. He also asks to increase his damages
request on each claim from $75, 000 to $275, 000, and he
seeks $5, 500, 000 punitive damages. Id.
screened the amended complaint, the court dismissed the
Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department because it is not a
legal entity that can be sued. Dkt. No. 11 at 9. The court
also stated that even if the plaintiff meant to sue Milwaukee
County, he had not stated a claim against the county, because
he had not alleged that a county policy, custom, or practice
caused the harm he indicates that he suffered. Id.
For the same reason, the court will not allow the plaintiff
to replace dismissed defendant the Milwaukee County
Sheriff's Department with Milwaukee County.
regard to the plaintiff's motion to increase his request
for damages, the court will allow this request. The court
advises the plaintiff that if and/or when he files a second
amended complaint identifying the Doe defendants, he should
include the new damages amounts in that amended complaint.
Motion for Reconsideration to Appoint Counsel
plaintiff has asked the court to reconsider its denial of his
motion to appoint counsel. Dkt. No. 16. He states that he
needs help conducting discovery. Id. at 1. According
to the plaintiff, it took him eleven months to obtain a
partial copy of the record from the defendants. Id.
He also indicates that an attorney would help him to clarify
his claims, as well as to bridge the misinterpretation,
confusion and communications between him and the court.
Id. at 3. By way of example, the plaintiff cites to
the court's dismissal of Sheriff Clarke in its screening
order. Id. The plaintiff states that the court
dismissed Sheriff Clarke despite the fact that Sheriff
Clarke's policy-making allowed certain alleged misconduct
to take place. Id.
screening order, the court denied without prejudice the
plaintiff's second motion to appoint counsel. Dkt. No. 11
at 11. The court explained why:
The court found in its order denying the first motion that
the plaintiff had satisfied the initial requirement of trying
to find an attorney on his own. Dkt. No. 8. The court agrees
with the plaintiff that this case is complex; it involves
numerous defendants and several claims, including medical
care claims. In addition, the plaintiff is no longer confined
in a Milwaukee County facility. Despite these hurdles,
however, the court still believes that the plaintiff may
proceed on his own at this time. Contrary to the
plaintiff's statement in this second motion, the court
hasn't seen any evidence that the plaintiff has a hard
time understanding the court's rulings. In ...