United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
BARBARA B. CRABB DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff Marcel Lynne Strelow has filed a civil action
against defendants James Comey (former director of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation) and Andrew McCabe (former
deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation). He
has paid the $400 filing fee. Generally, the next step would
be for the court to issue summonses so that plaintiff could
serve his complaint on defendants. However, after reviewing
plaintiff's complaint, I conclude that summonses should
not be issued at this time because plaintiff's
allegations are not sufficient to establish this court's
subject matter jurisdiction or to state any claim for relief
against either of the defendants. I will give plaintiff an
opportunity to file an amended complaint that clarifies his
district courts have an obligation to screen all complaints
to determine whether there is a basis for exercising
jurisdiction. McCready v. White, 417 F.3d 700, 702
(7th Cir. 2005). This duty extends to screening a complaint
to determine whether it is frivolous because “[a] suit
that is utterly frivolous does not engage the jurisdiction of
the federal courts. . . . Congress would not have wanted the
federal courts to waste their time with such a case, and the
courts therefore have an independent duty to refuse to
entertain it.” Carr v. Tillery, 591 F.3d 909,
917 (7th Cir. 2010). A suit is frivolous if “it is
apparent from a reading of the complaint that there is no
need to await the defendant's answer or motion to
dismiss, or discovery or legal research, to determine that
the case is going nowhere-that there's no possibility of
the court's having authority to provide relief to the
plaintiff.” Carter v. Homeward Residential,
Inc., 794 F.3d 806, 807 (7th Cir. 2015).
federal courts can review complaints to determine whether
they comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Under Rule 8, a complaint must include “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” This means that the
complaint must provide notice to the defendants of what
plaintiff believes they did to violate his rights.
Additionally, the complaint must contain enough allegations
of fact to support a claim under federal law. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009) (citing Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)).
complaint does not meet the requirements of Rule 8 because it
is not clear from his complaint what plaintiff believes
defendants Comey and McCabe did to violate his rights.
Moreover, from the limited allegations plaintiff includes in
his complaint, it appears that his claims against defendants
are likely to be found frivolous. Plaintiff's allegations
are vague and confusing. He alleges that in 2009, he filed a
complaint in the Richland County Courthouse about a
“youth” in an “Asia homicide ring”
that was running unabated. An agent from the Wisconsin
Department of Justice told plaintiff it would take from nine
to 11 years to “clean up” the complaint.
later, on March 5, 2014, plaintiff was driving a semi truck
near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, when a man drove a vehicle
directly into him. After the collision, plaintiff was
watching television and saw President Obama “escorting
a female agent out of the agency.” A few weeks later,
an agent approached plaintiff and “came unglued with
[him].” Plaintiff says that his name appears on a
report in the Milwaukee office of the Federal Bureau of
plaintiff's allegations describe disturbing incidents,
his complaint contains no allegations involving defendants
Comey or McCabe. It is not clear why plaintiff believes Comey
and McCabe violated his rights or should be held liable for
the incidents he describes. Plaintiff might be able to
identify proper defendants, but his allegations are so vague
that it is difficult to know who the proper defendants might
be. For example, plaintiff does not say who crashed into his
semi truck, who the agent was who confronted him, how his
allegations about his 2009 Richland County complaint relate
to the collision in 2014 or how any of his allegations relate
to the confrontation he had with the FBI agent.
plaintiff's complaint does not include enough information
to meet the requirements of Rule 8, I will dismiss it without
prejudice. Plaintiff is free to file an amended complaint
that includes the allegations that are missing. If plaintiff
chooses to file an amended complaint, he should keep it short
and to the point, but should draft it as if he is telling a
story to people who know nothing about his situation. In
particular, he should include allegations that would allow
someone reading the complaint to answer the following
• What specifically did plaintiff say in his 2009
complaint to the Richland County Court?
• Was plaintiff's 2009 complaint resolved, and if
• Does plaintiff think his 2009 complaint is related to
the 2014 vehicle crash or to any other subsequent incidents?
• Who was involved in the 2014 vehicle crash?
• Does plaintiff believe the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and defendants Comey and McCabe were involved
in the 2009 investigation or the 2014 ...