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Kowald v. Columbia County

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

June 26, 2019

REBECCA KOWALD, ROBERT ZEIER, WILLIAM CADWALLADER, RAYMOND BOYLE, DAVID THOM, JOANN WINTER, JOHN GRUBER, ROBERT WENTWORTH, MICHAEL O'GRADY, and CRYSTAL THOM, Plaintiffs,
v.
COLUMBIA COUNTY, DENNIS RICHARDS, ROGER BRANDNER, JOSEPH RUF, JORDAN HAUETER, LEDA WAGNER, DOUGLAS JARZYNSKI, DAVID CLARK, MICHAEL HAVERLEY, MARK SMIT, ALEXANDER AGNEW, BENJAMIN OETZMAN, TERRI PULVERMACHER, MAX JENANASCHET, CORY MILLER, GREGORY BISCH, PORTAGE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS, DANIEL GARRIGAN, CHARLES POCHES, MATHEW FOSTER, PETER HIBNER, ROBIN KVALO, BRAD MEIXNER, SUSAN CONNER, CITY OF PORTAGE, SHAWN MURPHY, KENNETH MANTHEY, JASON STENBERG, ROBERT BANGELL, KEITH KLAFKE, BENJAMIN NEUMANN, KEVIN TODRYK, PETER WARING, PETER BARTACZEWICZ, ANTHONY BRAUNER, MICHAEL SCHUTZ, DAWN WILCOX, MARIE MOE, THOMAS DRURY, CHARLES MILLER, KATHRYN E. MILLER, MICHAEL HAVERLEY, VILLAGE OF PARDEEVILLE, ROBERT BECKER, VERN GOVE, MARK HAZELBAKER, CHARLES F. CHURCH, ANYTIME FITNESS CORP., and ANDREW GUNDLACH, Defendants.

          ORDER

          JAMES D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This civil action is substantially similar to another case pending in this court, case number 18-cv-368-jdp, in which plaintiffs David Thom, Crystal Thom, William Cadwallader, Robert Wentworth, Raymond Boyle, and Michael O'Grady sued more than 40 defendants associated with numerous local government entities for violations of their rights under the United States Constitution and state law. A couple of months after filing 18-cv-368-jdp in this court, the plaintiffs, joined by plaintiffs Rebecca Kowald, Joanne Winter, Robert Zeier, and John Gruber, filed a separate action in the Circuit Court for Columbia County, alleging federal and state constitutional claims nearly identical to those in case 18-cv-368-jdp, as well as several additional claims. A subset of the defendants accepted service of the complaint and then removed the case to this court on July 25, 2018. Dkt. 1. The removed case was assigned case number 18-cv-582-jdp.

         On March 25, 2019, I issued an order remanding plaintiff's claims under the Wisconsin Constitution back to state court, granting in part and denying in part motions to dismiss filed by subsets of the defendants, and directing defendants to file a response to this order explaining how they wish to proceed with this case in light of the seven unrelated claims that remained in this case. Defendants have responded, stating that they will pay removal fees for the six additional lawsuits. Dkt. 31. I will assign case number 18-cv-852-jdp to the claims in Lawsuit 1. I will assign additional case numbers to the claims in the remaining six lawsuits.

         Defendants also ask that plaintiffs be required to file amended complaints in each of the seven lawsuits. I am denying this request because it would be inefficient and would likely lead to new allegations and claims that were not included in the original complaint. Plaintiffs' original complaint, the March 25 order, and this order will be docketed in each of the new cases. In responding to the complaint in each case, defendants should respond only to the allegations that apply to the specific claims at issue in the specific case.

         Defendants also state that they intend to move the court to consolidate these cases with any lawsuits that stem from the 18-cv-368-jdp case. But consolidation is premature at this stage because it is not yet clear which claims plaintiffs will proceed with in 18-cv-368-jdp. Defendants are free to request consolidation if plaintiffs decide to move forward with any of the claims raised in 18-cv-368-jdp.

         Finally, after reviewing my previous order dismissal several claims and the claims that are remaining claims in each of the seven lawsuits, I conclude that plaintiffs have no claims against defendants Robert Bagnell, Benjamin Neumann, Peter Bartaczewicz, Kevin Manthey, Anthony Brauner, Michael Schutz, Thomas Drury, Charles Miller, Kathryn Miller, Leda Wagner, Douglas Jarzynski, and Terri Pulvermacher. I will dismiss these individuals as defendants.

         ORDER

         IT IS ORDERED that:

         1. No. 18-cv-582-jdp is assigned to the following claims:

Plaintiffs David Thom, Crystal Thom, and Michael O'Grady's challenge to school district search policies and searches and seizures performed in schools by local law enforcement and a multi-county drug task force, including targeted searches, seizures, and interrogations of David Thom's, Crystal Thom's, and O'Grady's children. (Counts 1, 2, and 3 of Dkt. 1-1). The defendants in this case are Portage Community Schools, Robin Kvalo, Daniel Garrigan, Charles Poches, Peter Hibner, Matthew Foster, Brad Meixner, Jason Stenberg, City of Portage, Peter Warning, Susan Conner, and Keith Klafke.

         2. No. 19-cv-514-jdp is assigned to the following claims:

Plaintiff Robert Wentworth's claim that his business has been targeted for excessive surveillance and that his customers and employees have been harassed by local law enforcement (Count 6 of Dkt. 1-1). The defendants in this case are Columbia County, Roger Brandner, Michael Haverley, Mark Smit, Jorden Haueter, David Clark, Cory Miller, and Robert Becker.

         3. No. 19-cv-515-jdp is assigned to the following claims:

Plaintiff O'Grady's challenge to Portage High School's parking permit policy and the ticket he received (Count 7 of Dkt. 1-1). The defendants in this case are City of Portage, Portage Community ...

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