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McCloud v. Federal Bureau of Investigation

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

July 30, 2018

UDALIUS MCCLOUD, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, et al ., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING THE FILING FEE (DKT. NOS. 2, 9) AND DISMISSING CASE

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On June 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.

         I. The Plaintiff's Motions to Proceed Without Prepaying the Filing Fee (Dkt. Nos. 2, 9)

         A court 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).

         A. Plaintiff's Ability to Pay the Filing Fee

         On his 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.

         In the 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 4.

         This information demonstrates that the plaintiff does not have the ability to pay the $400 civil case filing fee.

         B. Screening

         Although 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.

         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); 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) (citations omitted).

         To 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.

         1. Plaintiff's Filings

         Federal 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.

         a. The Original Complaint (Dkt. No. 1)

         The 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, ”[1] the Family Care Partnership ...


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