United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
PRESTON D. ADAMS, JR., Plaintiff,
ROBERT KOWALSKI, GWEN LUDCKE, DONNA HARRIS and JANE DOE, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR MORE
DEFINITE STATEMENT (DKT. NO. 15)
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
September 26, 2017, the plaintiff (representing himself)
filed a complaint and paid the $400 filing fee. Dkt. No. 1.
The plaintiff named as defendants Robert Kowalski, Gwen
“Lichte” and “five unknown agents of the
City and County of Milwaukee or the State of
Wisconsin.” Dkt. No. 1 at 1. The complaint alleged that
on three occasions-in July 2005, August 2006 and March
2008-the defendants seized the plaintiff in violation of the
Fourth Amendment and denied him due process under the Fifth
and Fourteenth Amendments. Dkt. No. 1 at 1-2. The following
week, Attorney Timothy A. Provis filed a notice of appearance
on behalf of the plaintiff. Dkt. No. 3.
defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that
the claims were barred by the statute of limitations. Dkt.
No. 8. The court denied the motion without prejudice, gave
the plaintiff an opportunity to amend the complaint and
granted the plaintiff's motion for additional time to
serve the complaint on Doe defendants. Dkt. No. 12. The court
advised the plaintiff to use the opportunity to
describe in the complaint what each defendant-including John
and Jane Doe defendants-did to violate his rights, when they
did it, where they did it and why the plaintiff believes they
Id. The court instructed the plaintiff to explain
how each of the named defendants violated his rights, explain
which probation agent was involved in his arrest and explain
whether these probation agents were the ones who took him
into custody, or filed revocation requests, or testified at
hearings. Dkt. No.
October 26, 2018, the plaintiff-now represented by his
lawyer- uploaded a document titled “First Amended
Complaint for Damages;” counsel selected “amended
document” from the pick list when uploading the
document, and that is how the amended complaint was docketed.
Dkt. No. 13. The same day, the clerk's office re-docketed
the amended complaint as an amended complaint. Dkt. No. 16.
The defendants responded by filing a motion for a more
definite statement under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(e). Dkt. No. 15. They asked that the plaintiff explain
what each defendant-including the Doe defendants-had done to
violate the plaintiff's rights, when they did it, where
it was done and why the plaintiff believes they did it.
Id. The plaintiff does not oppose the
defendant's motion, asking only that the court give him
thirty days to file a second amended complaint. Dkt. No. 17.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a plaintiff
to include a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that he is entitled to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To
satisfy Rule 8(a)(2), the complaint must (1) describe the
claim with sufficient detail to give the defendant fair
notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests and (2) plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a
right to relief on more than a speculative level. EEOC v.
Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir.
2007). A defendant may move for a more definite statement
under Rule 12(e) when a complaint is too vague or ambiguous
for the party to reasonably prepare a response. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(e). Under Rule 12(e), it is within the court's
discretion whether to order a party to provide a more
definite statement. The motion must point out the defects
complained of and the details desired. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e); American Nurses' Ass'n v.
State of Ill., 783 F.2d 716, 726 (7th Cir. 1986).
court agrees that the amended complaint does not provide the
defendants with sufficient details to provide the defendants
with fair notice. Other than explaining the employment status
of each defendant, the complaint does not allege that any
individual defendant did anything to violate the
plaintiff's rights. Much of the amended complaint uses
the passive voice-the plaintiff “was placed” on
probation, the plaintiff “was arrested, ” a
warrant “issued.” The plaintiff does not identify
who placed him on probation, who arrested him, who caused the
warrant to issue.
plaintiff's first claim for relief alleges that someone
unreasonably seized the plaintiff in violation of his Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendment rights. If the plaintiff wants to
proceed on this claim, he needs to identify who
unreasonably seized him, when and where they did it, and why
the seizure was unreasonable. The second claim is that
someone deprived the plaintiff of his liberty without due
process. If the plaintiff wants to proceed on this claim, he
must identify who deprived him of his liberty and
when and where they did it. The plaintiffs third claim is
conspiracy to deprive him of equal protection of the law; he
must identify the defendants he claims agreed with each other
to deprive him of equal protection of the law. He must also
explain the basis for his equal protection claim-is he
claiming that the defendants treated him differently than
other similarly situated people because of his race? His
gender? His age or religious beliefs? The complaint is silent
as to any basis for an equal protection claim.
court will give the plaintiff one more opportunity to make
specific allegations supporting his claim.
court GRANTS defendants' motion for a
more definite statement. Dkt. No. 15. The court
ORDERS that if the defendant wants to
proceed with this case, he must file a second amended
complaint by the end of the day on Friday, June 28,
2019. If the court does not receive a second amended
complaint by the end of the day ...