United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAUPERIS (DKT. NO. 2), DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITHOUT
PREJUDICE, AND GRANTING LEAVE TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT BY
JANUARY 20, 2017
PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge
11, 2016, the plaintiff, who is proceeding without a lawyer,
filed his complaint. Dkt. No. 1. Along with the complaint,
the plaintiff filed a motion asking the court to allow him to
proceed with his case without paying the filing fee. Dkt. No.
2. For the reasons explained below, the grants the
plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis,
dismisses the complaint without prejudice under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 8, and grants the plaintiff leave to file
an amended complaint that provides a short and plain
statement of his claims.
plaintiff's affidavit in support of his motion to proceed
in forma pauperis, he indicates that he is not
employed, not married, has two dependents (ages six and one),
and has no monthly income. Dkt. No. 2 at 1-2. He states that
his household expenses total $460 per month. Id. at
3. He does not own a car or a home, and he has no other
assets. Id.at 3-4. The plaintiff has demonstrated
that he cannot pay the full amount of the $350 filing fee and
$50 administrative fee.
1915(e)(2)(B) requires a court to dismiss a case at any time
if the court determines that it “(i) is frivolous or
malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” For this
reason, district courts “screen” complaints filed
by self-represented plaintiffs, to determine whether the
complaint must be dismissed under these standards. A claim is
legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in
law or in fact. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31
(1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989); Hutchinson ex rel. Baker v. Spink, 126 F.3d
895, 900 (7th Cir. 1997). The court may dismiss a claim as
frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless
legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly
baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.
“Malicious, ” although sometimes treated as a
synonym for “frivolous, ” “is more usefully
construed as intended to harass.” Lindell v.
McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1109-10 (7th Cir. 2003)
(citations omitted). Relatedly, in order to authorize a
litigant to proceed in forma pauperis, the court
must make two determinations: whether the litigant is unable
to pay the costs of commencing the action, and whether the
action is frivolous or malicious. 28 U.S.C.
§§1915(a) and (d).
state a cognizable claim for relief under the federal notice
pleading system, the plaintiff shall provide a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is
entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The
plaintiff need not plead specific facts and his statement
need only “give the defendant fair notice of what the .
. . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, “that is plausible on its
face.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint allegations
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(citation omitted). If there are well-pleaded factual
allegations, the court must, second, “assume their
veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise
to an entitlement to relief.” Id.
plaintiff's complaint spans ninety-two typed pages. It
generally alleges that the plaintiff had formed a health care
business, Graceful Care Services, LLC, to provide
“services that help assist eligible consumers with
daily living activities.” Dkt. No. 1 at 40, ¶125.
The defendant alleges that his business was unsuccessful
because, after an on-site visit to his business, the
plaintiff was denied the necessary licenses to provide health
care services and participate in Medicaid programs.
Id. at 41, ¶127; 79. According to the
plaintiff, defendants Valerie Sobotta, Amanda Slater, Joann
Kowalski, and Angela Mack caused his “business to be
unconstitutionally shut-down and unconstitutionally seized my
property, and the unconstitutional actions caused the State
of Wisconsin not to associate with me, and Governor Scott
Walker and Kitty Rhoades . . . failed to prevent the injury
from occurring.” Id. at 83. He alleges that
the defendants denied the plaintiff the necessary licenses
based on his race. Id. at 42, ¶130; 45-46,
¶142; 47, ¶148. He further alleges that the
defendant's conduct violated various federal and state
constitutional provisions, statutes and regulations. He
attempts to state claims under Article IV, §2 of the
federal Constitution; the Sherman Act; 42 U.S.C.
§§1981, 1982, 1983 and 1986; and 18 U.S.C.
§§641 and 654, as well as alleging state-law claims
for extortion, theft by fraud, negligence, public misconduct,
unjust enrichment, mail fraud, blackmail and others.
plaintiff's claim appears to be that certain of the
defendants refused to grant his business the necessary
licenses on the basis of the plaintiff's race. The court
cannot allow the plaintiff to proceed on his complaint in its
current form, however, because the complaint “is a
confusing morass of legal theory and limited factual
assertions ..... ” Griffin v. Milwaukee Cnty.,
369 F.App'x 741, 743 (7th Cir. 2020).
Civ. P. 8 provides that a pleading, such as a complaint, must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the [plaintiff] is entitled to relief . . .
.” The plaintiff's complaint is excessively long
(ninety-two pages and almost 300 paragraphs), lacks factual
detail and specificity regarding which individual defendant
is responsible for what alleged conduct, and cites numerous
federal and state constitutional and statutory provisions
without explaining how the individual defendants' conduct
violated the law. The court cannot determine whether there
are any potential claims against any of the individual
though “[a] district court normally cannot dismiss a
complaint merely because it is repetitious or includes
irrelevant material, ” id. (citing United
States ex rel. Garst v. Lockheed-Martin Corp. 328 F.3d
374, 378 (7th Cir. 2003)), “length may make a complaint
unintelligible, by scattering and concealing in a morass of
irrelevancies the few allegations that matter, ”
id. (alteration omitted) (citation omitted). In
these circumstances, the Seventh Circuit has explained that
“it is simpler to dismiss an unintelligible complaint
with leave to file a new one so that a plaintiff's
allegations are contained in only one document rather
than” directing the plaintiff to file a more definite
statement. Id. (citing Davis v. Ruby Foods,
Inc., 269 F.3d 818, 820 (7th Cir. 2001)).
the court will dismiss the plaintiff's complaint without
prejudice for failure to comply with Rule 8, and will grant
the plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint that
provides a short and plain statement of (1) the facts
surrounding the defendants' decision to decline to issue
the plaintiff the necessary license to operate his business,
(2) how each defendant participated in that decision, and (3)
how each defendant allegedly violated the plaintiff's
rights. The court will grant the plaintiff's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis.
court ORDERS that the plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The court further ORDERS that the
plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis
(Dkt. No. 2) is GRANTED. The court further ORDERS that if the
plaintiff wishes to file an amended complaint that complies
with the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8, ...