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McCoy v. California Lottery

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

May 9, 2018

JAMES CORTEZ MCCOY, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA LOTTERY, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2), SCREENING COMPLAINT UNDER 28 U.S.C. §1915A, AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff James Cortez McCoy, who is confined at the Milwaukee County Jail, is representing himself. He filed a complaint against the California Lottery for $200 billion dollars in damages. Dkt. No. 1. This order resolves the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, screens the plaintiff's complaint and dismisses the complaint for failure to state a claim.

         A. Application for Leave to Proceed Without Prepaying the Filing Fee (Dkt. No. 2)

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act applies to this case because the plaintiff is incarcerated. 28 U.S.C. §1915. The law allows a court to give an incarcerated plaintiff the ability to proceed with his lawsuit without pre-paying the civil case-filing fee, as long as he meets certain conditions. Id. One of those conditions is a requirement that the plaintiff pay an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. §1915(b). Once the plaintiff pays the initial partial filing fee, the court may allow the plaintiff to pay the balance of the $350 filing fee over time, through deductions from his prisoner account. Id.

         On October 17, 2017, Magistrate Judge David E. Jones issued an order directing the plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $21.67 by November 7, 2017. Dkt. No. 5. On October 25, 2017, the plaintiff paid an initial partial filing fee of $22.00.

         The case was reassigned to this court on October 24, 2017. The court will grant the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filling fee, and will allow him to pay the filing fee over time from his prisoner account, as described at the end of this order.

         B. Screening of Plaintiff's Complaint

         1. Standard for Screening Complaints

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act requires federal courts 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). A court may dismiss a case, or part of it, if the claims alleged are “frivolous, malicious, ” fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B).

         To state a claim under the federal notice pleading system, a plaintiff must 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 need not plead specific facts, and need only provide “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)). “Labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” will not do. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         The factual content of a complaint must allow a court to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Indeed, allegations must “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Factual allegations, when accepted as true, must state a claim that is “plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Federal courts follow the two-step analysis in Twombly to determine whether a complaint states a claim. Id. at 679. First, a court determines whether the plaintiff's legal conclusions are supported by factual allegations. Id. Legal conclusions not supported by facts “are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. Second, a court determines whether the well-pleaded factual allegations “plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id.

         2. Facts Alleged in the Complaint

         The plaintiff alleges that on July 13, 2015, he bought a winning Powerball lottery ticket in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dkt. No. 1 at 2, 3. He submitted his claim on April 22, 2017. Id. at 2. On July 20, 2017, the plaintiff received a letter stating that “they can't pay out on ...


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