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Shabani v. Madison Police Department, Lt.

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

June 8, 2017


          OPINION and ORDER

          BARBARA B. CRABB District Judge

         Three motions are before the court in this case brought by pro se plaintiff Khaled Shabani: (1) a motion to dismiss filed by defendants M. Baker, Jennifer Krueger Favour, Andew Naylor and the Madison Police Department, dkt. #29; (2) a motion to dismiss filed by defendant Jessica Sososka, dkt. #32; and (3) plaintiff's request for assistance in recruiting counsel, dkt. #27. In addition, plaintiff has filed two untitled documents that I construe as supplements to his complaint. Dkt. ##25 and 28. (Earlier in the case, plaintiff filed another supplement that the court construed as a motion for preliminary injunction. Dkt. ##17 and 20.) For the reasons explained below, I am granting the motions to dismiss and denying the motion for assistance in recruiting counsel. However, I will give plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint to correct the problems identified in this order.


         A. Motions to Dismiss

         1. Legal standard

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a complaint must provide fair notice to each defendant and set out claims that are plausible on their face. Appert v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc., 673 F.3d 609, 622 (7th Cir. 2012); Bausch v. Stryker Corp., 630 F.3d 546, 559 (7th Cir. 2010). Plaintiff's complaint does not satisfy this standard, even when viewed in combination with his supplements.

         2. Summary of allegations

         In his original complaint, plaintiff says that the “Madison Police Department” has been “continuously harassing” him since 2006 “because of [his] race.” Dkt. #1. He does not identify any particular individuals who have been harassing him and he does not explain how he is being harassed.

         In various supplements to his complaint, plaintiff has provided some additional allegations. The most comprehensive is a document he filed on December 2, 2016, dkt. #17, in which he alleges that unnamed police officers threatened to hurt his daughter, harassed him at work, fabricated a disorderly conduct charge against him, “poisoned [him] with bacteria” and most recently “curs[ed]” at him and “humiliated” him in public. However, he provides little explanation for any of these allegations.

         In a second supplement, plaintiff repeats some of the same allegations. Dkt. #25. In addition, he alleges that the “Madison Police Department” is engaging in the following conduct: (1) “threatening” him “after they beat [his] 3 year old on her eye for no reason”; (2) telling employees at his barber shop to quit their jobs; (3) “trying to get [him] to drop” this lawsuit; (4) threatening to “beat [his] daughter again”; (5) and trying to “run [him] out of business.” Again, he does not identify any particular individuals engaging in this conduct and he does not provide any context for his allegations. For example, he does not describe the incident in which officers allegedly assaulted his daughter and he does not explain how officers are allegedly trying to get him to dismiss this lawsuit or harm his business.

         In a third supplement, plaintiff repeats many of the same allegations again. Dkt. #28. He also alleges that defendant Jessica Sosoka and an unnamed officer “intimidated [him] on [S]tate [S]t[.] and pretend[ed] they want[ed] to arrest” him. The unknown officer “grab[bed] his sti[c]k” and “got close to” plaintiff.

         3. Sufficiency of the allegations

         All of plaintiff's allegations either fail to provide fair notice to the defendants or do not state a plausible claim. As to defendants Favour, Naylor and Baker, plaintiff does not mention them in the body of his complaint or any of his supplements. By failing to provide any information about what those defendants allegedly did to violate his rights, he has not provided fair notice to those defendants. Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 778 (7th Cir. 2008) (plaintiffs may not rely on "[v]ague references to a group of ‘defendants, ' without specific allegations tying the individual defendants to the alleged unconstitutional conduct"). Accordingly, the complaint must be dismissed as to those defendants.

         Plaintiff's only allegation against defendant Sosoka is that she “intimidated” him and “pretend[ed]” that she wanted to arrest him. This allegation does not state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits a person from searching or seizing a person without justification, but plaintiff does not allege that Sososka actually arrested him, detained him or even touched him. If there was no search or seizure, Sosoka's conduct did not violate the Constitution. McCoy v. Harrison, 341 F.3d 600, 605 (7th Cir. 2003) ("Even unreasonable, unjustified, or outrageous conduct ...

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