United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge
James Keith Broske, proceeding pro se, filed a
complaint in this matter and a motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. (Docket #1, #2). In order to
allow a plaintiff to proceed without paying the $400 filing
fee, the Court must first decide whether the plaintiff has
the ability to pay the filing fee and, if not, whether the
lawsuit states a claim for relief. 28 U.S.C. §§
question of indigence, although Plaintiff need not show that
he is totally destitute, Zaun v. Dobbin, 628 F.2d
990, 992 (7th Cir. 1980), it must be remembered that the
privilege of proceeding in forma pauperis “is
reserved to the many truly impoverished litigants who, within
the District Court's sound discretion, would remain
without legal remedy if such privilege were not afforded to
them, ” Brewster v. N. Am. Van Lines, Inc.,
461 F.2d 649, 651 (7th Cir. 1972). Plaintiff avers that he is
unemployed, unmarried, and has no dependents. (Docket #2 at
1). He earns nearly $1, 000 per month in disability payments,
and his expenses total approximately $650 each month.
Id. at 2-3. He has no assets of any kind nor any
savings. Id. at 3-4. On these averments, the Court
finds that Plaintiff is indigent. He will be granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis and will not be required
to prepay the filing fee in this action.
the payment of any filing fee, however, when a plaintiff
requests leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the
Court must screen the complaint and dismiss it or any portion
thereof if it 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. § 1915(e)(2)(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);
Hutchinson ex rel. Baker v. Spink, 126 F.3d 895, 900
(7th Cir. 1997). The Court may dismiss a claim as frivolous
where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory
or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless.
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, a 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 to
plead specific facts; rather, the plaintiff's statement
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 v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
However, a complaint that offers “labels and
conclusions” or “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. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint allegations
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
complaint falls short of even this low bar. He has sued his
sister, Kathleen Kinney (“Kinney”), complaining
that she will not “leave him alone.” (Docket #1
at 4). His allegations are nearly unintelligible, but the
Court gathers that in May 2018, Kinney expressed a desire to
speak with him. Id. at 2. They spoke over the phone
with Plaintiff's “case manager” present.
Id. Kinney reported that she went to Plaintiff's
prior address and was given two checks, one from the State of
Wisconsin for Social Security supplemental income and the
other from the Veterans Administration for a pension, by a
resident there. Id. at 2-3. Plaintiff told Kinney to
send the checks by mail to his current address. Id.
Plaintiff does not want his sister to find him or have
contact with him. See Id. He states that he told her
over the phone to “stop looking for me and telling me
lies about my previous landlords.” Id.
Plaintiff contends that Kinney is harassing him, invading his
privacy, making false accusations against him, and telling
others his private financial and personal information.
Id. at 4.
allegations do not give rise to federal subject-matter
jurisdiction. A federal court's jurisdiction is generally
limited to two types of suits: (1) those between citizens of
different States, called “diversity”
jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332; and (2)
those involving causes of action arising under federal law,
known as “federal question” jurisdiction,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. First, Plaintiff and his
sister are both Wisconsin residents, so there can be no
diversity jurisdiction in this case. Strawbridge v.
Curtiss, 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 267 (1806); McCready v.
eBay, Inc., 453 F.3d 882, 891 (7th Cir. 2006). Second,
there is no federal cause of action raised by any of
Plaintiff's allegations. He cites no federal law
providing a cause of action for invasion of privacy or
harassment, which are generally matters of state law. Thus,
the Court cannot exercise subject-matter jurisdiction over
sure, there are numerous other problems with Plaintiff's
complaint, including the general incoherence of his
allegations. But because the Court has found that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction over this action, it must end its
analysis without addressing these questions. See Garry v.
Geils, 82 F.3d 1362, 1365 (7th Cir. 1996). As a result,
the Court will dismiss this action for want of jurisdiction.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion
for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Docket #2)
be and the same is hereby GRANTED; and
IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action be and the same
is hereby DISMISSED without prejudice for
lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Clerk of the Court is directed to enter judgment accordingly.