United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING
THE FILING FEE (DKT. NOS. 2, 9) AND DISMISSING CASE
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
7, 2017, the plaintiff, who is representing himself, filed a
complaint, alleging that the defendants have wire-tapped him
and turned his life upside down. Dkt. No. 1. Along with the
complaint, the plaintiff filed a motion asking the court to
allow him to proceed with his case without paying the filing
fee. Dkt. No. 2. Two weeks later, the plaintiff filed an
amended complaint; he says that the amended complaint is just
explaining more about the first one. Dkt. No. 4. The next
day, the plaintiff filed a supplement to his complaint, dkt.
no. 5; he filed a second supplement on July 7, 2017, dkt. no.
6. Three weeks later, the plaintiff sent a letter to the
court, dkt. no. 7, and on August 14, 2017, he filed a
proposed second amendment complaint, dkt. no. 8, together
with a second motion for leave to proceed without prepayment
of the filing fee, dkt. no. 9. The plaintiff most recently
filed a supplement to his amended complaint. Dkt. No. 10. In
this order, the court reviews the plaintiff's motion to
proceed without prepaying the filing fee, and screens his
various pleadings. Because the plaintiff has not stated a
claim on which the court can grant him the relief he seeks,
the court will dismiss the case.
The Plaintiff's Motions to Proceed Without Prepaying the
Filing Fee (Dkt. Nos. 2, 9)
may allow someone to proceed without prepaying the $400 civil
case filing fee if the case meets two conditions: (1) the
person shows that he can't pay the filing fee; and (2)
the case is not frivolous nor malicious, does not fail to
state a claim on which the court can grant relief, and does
not seek monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from that relief. 28 U.S.C. §§1915(a) and (e)(2).
Plaintiff's Ability to Pay the Filing Fee
first application to proceed without prepaying the filing
fee, the plaintiff checked both the “yes” and
“no” boxes for “are you employed.”
Dkt. No. 2 at 1. He stated that he was not married, and had a
sixteen-year-old daughter, three fourteen-year-old daughters,
and a thirteen-year-old son; he said that he provided $140 to
each of them each month for support-a total of $700 a month.
Id. He claimed no monthly wages or salary, and under
“source of income, ” he stated, “family
(being harassed TI)” and that the amount he received
from family is “open.” Id. at 2. He said
that his family was helping him with rent, that he was paying
$280 a month in alimony or court-ordered child support, and
that his household expenses were “open.”
Id. He reported no other assets or income of any
kind. Id. at 2-4.
plaintiff's second request to proceed without prepaying
the filing fee, dkt. no. 9, the plaintiff made some minor
changes to the above information. He changed the amount of
support he provides each month to each of his children from
$140 to $148. Id. at 1. He stated that the amount of
his wages/salary was “open, ” and that he was
“working on homes.” Id. at 2. He said
that the amount of his rent was “open, ” and that
he paid $148 in alimony or court-ordered child support.
Id. At the end of this second application, the
plaintiff says, “I lost everything because of this
people please don't kill my kids.” Id. at
information demonstrates that the plaintiff does not have the
ability to pay the $400 civil case filing fee.
the plaintiff has demonstrated that he does not have the
money to 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). For this reason, district courts
“screen” complaints filed by self-represented
plaintiffs to determine whether the complaint must be
dismissed under these standards.
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). 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)
state a cognizable claim for relief 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
plaintiff need not plead specific facts, and his statement
needs 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)).
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
(citation omitted). If there are well-pleaded factual
allegations, the court must “assume their veracity and
then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief.” Id.
Rule of Civil Procedure 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.”
The plaintiff has brought his lawsuit in a series of seven
documents, filed over about two and a half months. The court
must go through all of them to try to determine what claims
the plaintiff is bringing.
Original Complaint (Dkt. No. 1)
plaintiff's June 7, 2017 complaint names the U.S.
Marshals, “5th District, ” “HDTA, ”
“Comm. Care” and “Department of
Aging” as defendants. Dkt. No. 1 at 2. The court knows
who the U.S. Marshals are. It does not know who the plaintiff
means by “5th district”-he may be referring to
the District 5 department of the Milwaukee Police Department.
The court does not know what “HDTA” is, but the
plaintiff might be referring to the Milwaukee High-Intensity
Drug Trafficking Area program, referred to as “HIDTA,
” and often pronounced “HIGH-duh.” The
plaintiff does not explain his reference to “Comm.
Care, ” although the court is aware that Milwaukee
County has a program called “Community Care, ”
which provides the “PACE-Program of All-Inclusive Care
for the Elderly-program, ” the Family Care Partnership