United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
NKEREUWEM T. UKO, Plaintiff,
STATE OF WISCONSIN IRIS PROGRAM, Defendant.
DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2) AND
REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT BY THE END
OF THE DAY ON JULY 13, 2018
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
September 19, 2017, the plaintiff, who is representing
himself, filed a complaint against the State of Wisconsin
IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) Program. Dkt. No. 1.
The plaintiff also asked the court for leave to proceed
without prepayment of the filing fee. Dkt. No. 2. The court
finds that the plaintiff does not have sufficient income to
pay the filing fee, but will require her to file an amended
Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed Without Prepayment of the
court may allow a litigant to proceed without prepayment of
the filing fees if two conditions are met: (1) the litigant
is unable to pay the filing fee; and (2) the case is not
frivolous nor malicious, does not fail to state a claim on
which relief may be granted, and does not seek monetary
relief against a defendant that is immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. §§1915(a) and (e)(2).
Plaintiff's Ability to Pay the Filing Fee
plaintiff states that she is unemployed, single and
financially responsible for her sixty-year old daughter. Dkt.
No. 2. She receives a $733 Social Security payment each
month, and shares monthly rent payment (she does not say how
much it is) with her daughters. Id. at 2. The
plaintiff says that her monthly expenses (which include $150
in “family obligations” to someone in Nigeria)
total $600, and she has a total of $100 in her checking
account. Id. at 3. According to the plaintiff, the
electrical company disconnected her electricity on June 13,
2017 and had not reconnected the electricity by the date of
filing (September 19, 2017). Dkt. No. 2-2. Based on her
affidavit and attachments, the court is satisfied that the
plaintiff cannot pay the filing fee.
plaintiff has demonstrated that she cannot pay the filing
fee, the court must dismiss a complaint if a plaintiff raises
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).
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). The court may,
therefore 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.
“Malicious, ” although sometimes treated as a
synonym for “frivolous, ” “is more usefully
construed as intended to harass.” Lindell v.
McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1109-10 (7th Cir. 2003)
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). A plaintiff does not need to plead
every fact supporting his claims; he only has to “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)). That said, a complaint
that offers only “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). Rather, 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
plaintiff wishes to proceed on a claim that someone violated
her civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §1983, she must allege
facts sufficient to support the inference that: 1) she was
deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of
the United States; and 2) the person or persons who deprived
her of that right was a person acting under color of state
law. Buchanan-Moore v. Cty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d
824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Vill. of N.
Fond du Lac, 384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see
also Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The
court gives a pro se plaintiff's allegations,
“however inartfully pleaded, ” a liberal
construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
The Substance of the Plaintiff's Complaint
noted above, Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) states that a complaint
“must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
There is a reason that the rule specifies a “short
and plain” statement. “Rule 8(a) requires
parties to make their pleadings straightforward, so that
judges and adverse parties need not try to fish a gold coin
from a bucket of mud.” U.S. ex rel. Garst v.
Lockheed-Martin Corp., 328 F.3d 374, 378 (7th Cir.
2003). The plaintiff cannot leave the court “to guess
what claims [she] intends to assert against which
defendants.” Dunigan v. St. Clair Cty. Jail Med.
Staff, No. 15-CV-487, 2015 WL 2455505, *2 (S.D. Ill. May
22, 2015). “[L]ength may make a complaint
unintelligible, by scattering and concealing in a morass of
irrelevancies the few allegations that matter.”
Kadamovas v. Stevens, 706 F.3d 843, 844 (7th Cir.
2013) (quoting Garst, 328 F.3d at 378).
“District judges are busy, and therefore have a right
to dismiss a complaint that is so long that it imposes an
undue burden on the judge, to the prejudice of other
litigants seeking the judge's attention.”
the complaint itself is only five pages long, the plaintiff
has attached an additional one hundred and nineteen pages of
exhibits and lower court decisions. Dkt. No. 1. The
plaintiff's supporting brief, dkt. no. 4, contains
ninety-four pages of exhibits. As the Seventh Circuit
indicated in Kadamovas, if the plaintiff has
included factual allegations that ...