United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO
PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2) AND
DISMISSING CASE FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the fourth of four complaints that the plaintiff-representing
himself-has filed in this court in the course of a month. In
the first three complaints, the plaintiff described visiting
various federal agencies in Milwaukee (the FBI, the U.S.
Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney's Office), trying
to get someone to investigate crimes he allegedly witnessed,
and to get someone to provide him victim protection and
compensation. Case Nos. 18-cv-536, 18-cv-548, 18-cv-684 and
18-cv-685. In this complaint, the plaintiff alleges that it
is defendant Osburn who covered up and obstructed the crimes
he says he witnessed. Id. at 3. He seeks $50, 000,
000, 000 in damages. Dkt. No. 1 at 4. Although the plaintiff
has established that he cannot afford the filing fee, the
court will dismiss his case for failure to state a claim.
Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed Without Prepayment of the
Filing Fee (Dkt. No. 2)
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 (Dkt.
plaintiff states that he is unemployed, single, and has a
fifteen-year-old son for whom he provides no financial
support. In contrast to the affidavits he submitted in his
first three cases, the plaintiff now reports a “DHS
benefit food card & medical” of $192 per month.
Dkt. No. 2 at 2. He continues to report no expenses or
property of value. Under the section labeled “other
circumstances, ” the plaintiff claims to have been
locked out of his business account, and says that his
business has been stolen because of whistle blower cases over
the last ten years. Id. at 4. It is unlikely that
the plaintiff has no expenses-even if he lives with someone
who pays the bills, he likely has some obligations. Given the
other problems with the case, however, the court will accept
the plaintiff's claim that he can't pay the filing
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
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) (citations omitted).
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
Facts Alleged in 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 [he] intends to assert against which
defendants.” Dunigan v. St. Clair Cnty. Jail Med.
Staff, No. 15-CV-487, 2015 WL 2455505, *2 (S.D. Ill. May
form used by the plaintiff to file his complaint asks the
plaintiff to provide a statement of the claim identifying who
violated his rights, what each defendant did, when they did
it, where it happened and why it ...