United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM M. CONLEY DISTRICT JUDGE
a proposed civil action in which plaintiff Allen Bedynek
Stumm alleges that defendants Robert J. Kellerman and Russell
W. Gruner, who appear to be employees with the Greater
Wisconsin Agency on Aging, violated his rights by refusing to
re-enroll him in training and employment programs.
Stumm asks for leave to proceed under the in forma
pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915. From the
financial affidavit Stumm has given the court, the court
finds that he is indeed unable to prepay the fee for filing
this lawsuit. The next step in determining if Stumm's
proposed action should go forward turns on whether his
complaint: (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state
a claim on which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks money
damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Unfortunately, as currently plead,
Stumm's complaint fails to state a claim for which relief
can be granted, which means he fails to meet the requirements
of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and the court must deny
him leave to proceed, albeit without prejudice to him
refiling an amended complaint.
addressing any pro se litigant's complaint, the court
must read the allegations generously. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972). For purposes of this
screening order, the court assumes the following probative
facts based on the allegations in his complaint.
Bedynek Stumm participated in programs administered by the
Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging (“GWAAR”) from
July 19, 2004, through March 21, 2005. At some point in 2005,
Michelle Krauss, a predecessor of defendant Gruner, agreed to
reassign Stumm to another community service organization.
Krauss left GWAAR on February 1, 2007. At that time, Stumm
also attempted to seek re-enrollment with Gruner, the
Coordinator of GWAAR, and defendant Kellerman, the Director
of GWAAR. He was, however, unsuccessful.
2009, Stumm filed an employment discrimination complaint with
the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Equal
Rights Division. Much of Stumm's complaint to this court
details this administrative process, in which he claimed
forgery and fraudulent writing as pretext for discriminating
against him. Ultimately, it appears that his ERD complaint
was unsuccessful, as were his efforts to seek a new hearing.
This lawsuit followed.
Stumm's complaint contains significant detail about the
administrative process, neither his complaint nor the letters
he attached to the complaint provide any insight into the
nature of his discrimination claim. As such, his complaint
fails to meet the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8. Rule 8(a) requires a “‘short and
plain statement of the claim' sufficient to notify the
defendants of the allegations against them and enable them to
file an answer.” Marshall v. Knight, 445 F.3d
965, 968 (7th Cir. 2006). To demonstrate liability under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege sufficient facts
showing that an individual personally caused or participated
in a constitutional deprivation. See Zimmerman v.
Tribble, 226 F.3d 568, 574 (7th Cir. 2000); Walker
v. Taylorville Correctional Ctr., 129 F.3d 410, 413 (7th
Cir. 1997) (noting that “personal involvement” is
required to support a claim under § 1983). Dismissal is
proper “if the complaint fails to set forth
‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” St. John's United
Church of Christ v. City of Chi., 502 F.3d 616, 625 (7th
Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
instance, Stumm complains of “discrimination, ”
but does not describe whether it is based on age, disability,
race or some other protected class. Without this information,
the court cannot assess whether he states a claim for relief,
and defendants would lack the required notice to defend
against his claims. The pleading standard announced in
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) does not require “‘detailed
factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
676-78 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). A
pleading that offers “labels and conclusions” or
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
such, the court will deny Stumm leave to proceed, without
prejudice to him filing an amended complaint which meets the
requirement of Rule 8. If he chooses to file an amended
complaint, Stumm should draft it as if he is telling a story
to someone who knows nothing about his situation. This means
he should explain: (1) what happened to make him believe he
has a legal claim; (2) when it happened; (3) who did it; (4)
why; and (5) how the court can assist him in relation to
those events. He should take care to identify each defendant
and the specific actions taken by each defendant that he
believes violated his rights. Finally, Stumm should set forth
his allegations in separate, numbered paragraphs using short
and plain statements.
he finishes drafting the complaint, Stumm should review it
and consider whether it could be understood by someone who is
not familiar with the facts of his case. If not, he should
make necessary changes. Stumm may have until December 8,
2016, to provide an amended complaint that complies with
these instructions. If he does not file an amended complaint
by that date, the court will close this case.
1) Plaintiff Allen Bedynek's motion for leave to proceed
(dkt. #2) is DENIED ...