United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
MUHAMMAD M. UMAR, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN J. HENDRICKS & SHEILA HAMILTON, Defendants.
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge United States District
Muhammad Umar, who is representing himself, filed a complaint
against defendants alleging a series of violations arising
from their medical treatment of his son. Umar has paid the
$400 filing fee. However, district courts are permitted to
screen every complaint, regardless of a plaintiff's fee
status. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); Hoskins v.
Poelstra, 230 F.3d 761, 763 (7th Cir. 2003). Prompt
screening of a complaint prior to service, especially when
the plaintiff is pro se, serves the important
function of protecting putative defendants from unnecessary
fear and anxiety and the expense of hiring an attorney in
order to respond to patently frivolous claims brought either
out of ignorance of the law or with intent to embarrass or
harass. The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof
if the plaintiff 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). It is not
necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts and his
statements 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, 355 U.S. at 47).
However, a complaint that offers “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). 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. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint's
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). The court is obliged to give
the plaintiff's pro se allegations, however
inartfully pleaded, a liberal construction. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). With these
standards in mind, I now turn to the allegations of the
has joint custody over his son, A.U. Umar's ex-wife took
A.U. to Aurora Baycare Behavioral Health Center, where A.U.
was treated by Defendants Dr. Carolyn Hendricks and Sheila
Hamilton. Defendants diagnosed A.U. with Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and prescribed methylphenidate
(which is the generic name for Ritalin). Umar's ex-wife
gave A.U. the methylphenidate during the days of the week
that A.U. resided with her.
has filed this complaint alleging a number of legal theories.
First, he brings a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging defendants deprived him of his constitutional rights
under the color of law. Second, he alleges defendants
conspired to deprive him of his rights. Third, he alleges
defendants were negligent. Fourth, he alleges defendants
violated the prohibition on mandatory medication, pursuant to
20 U.S.C. § 1412. Fifth, he alleges defendants violated
Wisconsin's patient rights laws. Sixth, he alleges a
violation of equal protection under the Fourteenth
reviewing the complaint, the court finds that it has no
subject matter jurisdiction over this action. 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). Subject matter jurisdiction
can arise either through diversity jurisdiction pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1332 or federal question jurisdiction under
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 v. Tribune Entm't Co.,
106 F.3d 215, 217 (7th Cir. 1997). In this case, complete
diversity does not exist because Umar has alleged that both
he and the defendants reside in Wisconsin.
Umar pled federal question jurisdiction. 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).
Although Umar references several federal statutes, none of
them create a private cause of action under which Umar could
sue. Umar alleges that defendants conspired to violate
rights, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241; however, this
is a criminal statute and does not create a private right of
action for Umar to sue under. See Weiland v. Byrne,
392 F.Supp. 21, 22 (N.D. Ill. 1975). Similarly, the
prohibition on mandatory medication, under 20 U.S.C. §
1412(a)(25), forbids state and local educational facilities
from requiring that a child obtain a prescription for a
substance covered by the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C.
§ 801 et seq.) as a condition of attending school.
However, not only does § 1412(a) not create an explicit
private right of action, but it is questionable whether this
act even creates an implicit private right of action. See
generally M.M. v. Lafayette Sch. Dist., 767 F.3d 842,
860 & n.8 (9th Cir. 2014) (affirming the district
court's determination that § 1412(a) did not create
an explicit private right of action and declining to reach
whether an implied private right of action was created). It
is clear, however, if there is a private right of
action, it is inapplicable against defendants, who are
private actors, not states or school districts, to whom the
also alleges the defendants violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Section 1983 imposes civil liability on any person who, under
color of state law, “subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction [of the United States] to the
deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured
by the Constitution and laws” of the United States. 42
U.S.C. § 1983. The purpose of § 1983 is “to
provide compensatory relief to those deprived of their
federal rights by state actors.” Felder v.
Casey, 487 U.S. 131, 141 (1988). The employees of a
private hospital are not state actors and thus cannot be
named as defendants in a § 1983 action. See Babchuk
v. Ind. Univ. Health, Inc., 809 F.3d 966 (7th Cir. 2016)
(explaining that a private hospital is not considered a state
actor under § 1983).
Umar's allegations under the Fourteenth Amendment fail.
The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the government from
depriving an individual of equal protection of the law.
Therefore, it provides a shield against governmental action
or involvement. See Murphy v. Mt. Carmel High
School, 543 F.2d 1189, 1195 (7th Cir. 1976). However,
Umar's claims are alleged against two private actors, not
the government, and thus, are inapplicable.
remaining claims for negligence and violations of Wisconsin
law are based in state law and are insufficient to establish
jurisdiction. While a court may exercise supplemental
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367 over state law
claims, it may not do so without having original jurisdiction
over a related claim. Because Umar has failed to state a
claim over which this court has original jurisdiction, the
court cannot exercise jurisdiction over any of Umar's
state law claims.
Umar has failed to state a claim over which this court has
jurisdiction. This court will not opine as to whether Umar
has valid state law claims; such claims belong in state, ...