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Johnson v. Thieme

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

June 19, 2018

CONNAN DALE JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
DERIK THIEME and ERIC A. LINSMEYER, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2), DENYING MOTIONS TO AMEND COMPLAINT (DKT. NOS. 9, 12), SCREENING THE AMENDED COMPLAINT (DKT. NO. 8) AND ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING THE CASE PENDING EXHAUSTION OF STATE REMEDIES

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff, a Wisconsin state prisoner who is representing himself, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that the defendants violated his civil rights. Dkt. No. 8. This order resolves the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, screens the plaintiff's amended complaint, denies without prejudice his motions to amend the complaint and administratively closes the case until the plaintiff has fully litigated State of Wis. v. Connan Dale Johnson, No. 2016CF1148 (Brown County) and State of Wis.v. Connan Dale Johnson, No. 2016CM1114 (Brown County).

         I. MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2)

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) applies to this case, because the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed this complaint. 28 U.S.C. §1915. The law allows an incarcerated plaintiff to proceed with a lawsuit in federal court without prepaying the civil case filing fee, as long as he meets certain conditions. Id. One of those conditions is a requirement that the plaintiff must 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.

         The court assessed an initial partial filing fee of $15.90. Dkt. No. 5. The court received that payment on October 11, 2017. Therefore, 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 balance of the $350.00 filing fee over time from his prisoner account, as described at the end of this order.

         II. SCREENING THE PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED COMPLAINT (DKT. NO. 8)

         A. Standard for Screening Complaints

         The PLRA 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). The court may dismiss a case, or part of it, if the claims alleged are “frivolous or 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, the 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 the complaint must allow the court to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. 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, the 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, the court determines whether the well-pleaded factual allegations “plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id. The court gives pro se 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, 106 (1976)).

         B. Facts Alleged in the Amended Complaint

         At the time he filed his amended complaint, the plaintiff was an inmate at the Brown County Jail. Dkt. No. 8. Defendants Eric Linsmeyer and Derik Thieme were Brown County Sheriff's Department employees who worked on the Drug Task Force. Id. at 2.

         On July 12, 2016, Linsmeyer and Thieme delivered a package to the plaintiff's home. Id. Linsmeyer and Thieme opened the package prior to delivery, and knew that there were drugs inside. Id. Still, they left it on the doorstep of the plaintiff's house. As soon as the plaintiff took the package inside, ...


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