United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
plaintiff, who is currently serving a state prison sentence
at Waupun Correctional Institution and representing himself,
filed a complaint alleging that Defendants filed a false news
report about him. This matter comes before the court on
Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying
the full filing fee.
to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee
is required to pay the $400.00 filing fee for this action,
which includes the $350.00 statutory filing fee and a $50.00
administrative fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
If a prisoner does not have the money to pay the filing fee,
he can request leave to proceed without prepayment of the
full filing fee. In that case, the prisoner plaintiff
proceeding in forma pauperis is required to pay the
full amount of the $350.00 statutory filing fee, not the
$50.00 administrative fee. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(1). Plaintiff is required to file a certified copy of
his prison trust account statement for the six-month period
immediately preceding the filing of his complaint, as
required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2), in order for an
initial partial filing fee to be assessed. Despite direction
from the Clerk, Plaintiff has failed to submit a
certified copy of his trust account. Nevertheless,
Plaintiff's uncertified statements indicate that he is
indigent. As such, the court waives the initial partial
filing fee and grants Plaintiff's motion. 28 U.S.C.
of the Complaint
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous
or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b). 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).
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter “that
is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The court accepts
the factual allegations as true and liberally construes them
in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729
F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 2013). Nevertheless, the
complaint's allegations “must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted).
of the Complaint
alleges Defendant Rammelle Blintz published a false news
report about him in 2014 in the Door County Advocate, which
Plaintiff alleges is owned by Gannett Company. ECF No. 1 at
2. Plaintiff alleges he entered a not guilty plea to multiple
felony charges, but Defendants reported that he entered a
plea of no contest. Plaintiff alleges he asked them to
correct the report but it took months for them to correct it.
Plaintiff demands “$14 million” from Defendants,
an apology statement, the removal of any news report about
him, and to prevent Defendants from being able to report the
news for three months, because that is how long it took them
threshold issue the court must address is whether it has
jurisdiction over the claim Plaintiff has asserted. Subject
matter jurisdiction cannot be waived and may be “raised
sua sponte by the court at any point in the
proceedings.” Hawxhurst v. Pettibone Corp., 40
F.3d 175, 179 (7th Cir. 1994). Federal courts are courts of
limited jurisdiction, which means they can only hear and
decide the kinds of cases that the Constitution and Congress
authorize them to hear. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins.
Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Those cases
include cases of diversity jurisdiction, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1332, or cases based on a federal law, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
jurisdiction exists when there is complete diversity of
citizenship among the parties to an action and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
Complete diversity of citizenship means that “none of
the parties on either side of the litigation may be a citizen
of the state of which a party on the other side is a
citizen.” Howell by Goerdt v. Tribune Entm't
Co., 106 F.3d 215, 217 (7th Cir. 1997). Plaintiff has
not pled diversity jurisdiction and there is no indication
from the pleadings that diversity jurisdiction is satisfied.
Plaintiff stated a federal claim. For a court to exercise
federal question jurisdiction, a well-pleaded complaint must
establish “that federal law creates the cause of action
or that plaintiff's right to relief necessarily depends
on resolution of a substantial question of federal
law.” Franchise Tax Bd. v. Constr. Laborers
Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 27-28 (1983). A federal
court must entertain a complaint seeking recovery under the
Constitution or laws of the United States “unless the
alleged federal claim either ‘clearly appears to be
immaterial and solely made for the purpose of obtaining
jurisdiction or where such a claim is wholly insubstantial
and frivolous.'” Ricketts v. Midwest Nat.
Bank, 874 F.2d 1177, 1180 (7th Cir. 1989) (quoting
Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 681-82 (1946)). If a
district court determines a complaint is undermined by either
deficiency, “the complaint must be dismissed for want
of federal subject matter jurisdiction.”
Ricketts, 874 F.2d at 1180.
has not alleged a violation of his Constitutional rights, nor
has he alleged a violation of any federal law. Plaintiff has
not even referenced any federal law or the Constitution. Even
with the most liberal reading of his complaint, Plaintiff
alleges a claim of defamation, which arises under state law.
This does ...