United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
AKIL C. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
BLOOMFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER
ADELMAN DISTRICT JUDGE
Jackson, proceeding pro se, filed this suit against Aaron
Hensen, an officer of the Bloomfield, Wisconsin, police
department. Although his complaint is not entirely clear,
Jackson appears to allege that Hensen committed violations of
his constitutional rights during an arrest and subsequent
prosecution for driving while intoxicated. Jackson also sues
various other persons and entities, including the Bloomfield
Police Department, Chief Cole, the assistant district
attorney who prosecuted him (and the district attorney's
office), the judge who presided over his trial, and the
Walworth County Circuit Court. The plaintiff seeks money
damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Before me now are a
number of motions that the parties have filed over the last
Jackson has filed a motion to amend his complaint. However,
the motion proposes only to add legal citations to the
complaint, including a citation to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. A
complaint does not need to cite legal authority or plead
legal theories. Rather, the plaintiff may pursue his claims
under these statutes even if he does not cite them in the
complaint. Therefore, his proposed amendments are
unnecessary, and his motion to amend will be denied.
the Walworth County District Attorney, Zeke Wiedenfeld,
his office have filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). I will grant this
motion. An assistant district attorney has absolute immunity
from suit against him in his personal capacity for actions
taken during a criminal trial. See, e.g., Bianchi v.
McQueen, 818 F.3d 309, 316 (7th Cir. 2016). Here, all of
Jackson's allegations against Wiedenfeld involve his
conduct during the course of the trial. To the extent
plaintiff is suing Wiedenfeld in an official capacity, his
claim fails because state officers in their official
capacities are not “persons” within the meaning
of § 1983. See Will v. Mich. Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989). Therefore, the claims
against Wiedenfeld will be dismissed. As for the district
attorney's office, it is not a suable entity. See
Buchanan cv. City of Kenosha, 57 F.Supp.2d 675, 678
(E.D. Wis. 1999). Moreover, even if it were, it would be an
arm of the State of Wisconsin and therefore would not be a
“person” within the meaning of § 1983.
See Will, 491 U.S. at 71. Accordingly, the claims
against the district attorney's office will be dismissed.
the plaintiff has filed a motion to strike the affirmative
defenses asserted in the answer of the Bloomfield Police
Department. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) allows a
court to strike any insufficient defense or any redundant,
immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.
Bloomfield's affirmative defenses are none of these
things. Therefore, the motion to strike will be denied.
defendants Judge John Race and the Walworth County Circuit
Court move to extend their time to file a responsive
pleading. These defendants did not file a response to the
complaint within 21 days of being served, as required by Rule
12(a)(1)(A)(i). However, I may extend their time to respond
if they show that their failure to file a timely response was
caused by excusable neglect. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
6(b)(1)(B). The defendants state that their untimely filing
was caused by a misunderstanding in the Wisconsin Department
of Justice regarding who would be defending Judge Race and
the circuit court. I find that this constitutes excusable
neglect and therefore will deem their late-filed response to
the complaint timely. See Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co. v.
Brunswick Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 507 U.S. 380 (1993).
For these reasons, I will also deny the plaintiff's
motion to enter the defaults of Judge Race and the circuit
Judge Race and the Walworth County Circuit Court have filed a
motion to dismiss the claims against them. I will grant this
motion. Like the district attorney's office, the county
circuit court is an arm of the State of Wisconsin. Therefore,
it is not a “person” suable under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Will, 491 U.S. at 64. The same is true
for Judge Race, to the extent he is being sued in his
official capacity. Any personal-capacity claim against him
would be barred by absolute judicial immunity, as the claims
against him are based on his presiding over the
plaintiff's trials. See Myrick v. Greenwood, 856
F.3d 487, 488 (7th Cir. 2017).
the plaintiff has filed a motion to strike several filings
made by the Bloomfield Police Department, Judge Race, and the
Walworth County Circuit Court on the ground that he was not
served with them, as required by Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 5. However, the defendants filed certificates of
service showing that they mailed all of their filings to the
plaintiff at his last known address. See ECF Nos.
7-1 & 32. Thus, the defendants properly served the
documents, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(b)(2)(C), and the
plaintiff's motion to strike will be denied.
the plaintiff filed a “motion to challenge
jurisdiction” relating to the Walworth County Circuit
Court and Judge Race. I will deny this motion on the ground
that it does not seek relief that is available in a federal
the plaintiff filed a third motion to strike. This motion to
strike is directed at a brief that the Bloomfield Police
Department filed in opposition to a motion for entry of
default that the plaintiff served on the department but did
not file with the court. As the plaintiff has not filed his
motion for entry of default with the court, it is not before
me, and therefore I do not consider it or Bloomfield's
brief in opposition. The plaintiff's motion to strike
Bloomfield's brief is therefore moot.
I comment on the status of this case. Because I have
dismissed Wiedenfeld, the district attorney's office,
Judge Race, and the Walworth County Circuit Court, the only
defendants remaining in the case are the Bloomfield Police
Department, Officer Hensen, and Chief Cole. Of these
remaining defendants, only the Bloomfield Police Department
has appeared in the case. Perhaps the plaintiff has not
completed service on Hensen and Cole. In this regard, I note
that the plaintiff has not filed proof that he served Hensen
and Cole (or any of the defendants, for that matter), as
required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(l)(1).
The plaintiff is hereby advised that if he does not, by
April 9, 2018, file proof that he served
Hensen and Cole with the summons and complaint, I will
dismiss them from this action. Once the status of service on
Hensen and Cole is resolved, I will set this case for a
scheduling conference so that discovery may commence.
reasons stated, IT IS ORDERED that
plaintiff's motion to amend (ECF No. 4) is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Wiedenfeld's and the
district attorney's office's motion to ...