Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rinaldi v. State

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

August 13, 2019

ROGER PETER RINALDI, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF WISCONSIN, WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT, PATIENCE D. ROGGENSACK, WISCONSIN OFFICE OF LAWYER REGULATION, KEITH SELLEN, TRAVIS J. STIEREN, ROBERT J. KASIETA, THERON EDWARD PARSONS, IV, EDWARD A. HANNAN, JAMES J. WINIARSKI, MARK W. RATTAN, LITCHFIELD CAVO, LLP, STEPHANIE L. DYKEMAN, WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., and BRAD SCHIMEL, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JAMES D. PETERSON, DISTRICT JUDGE

         This lawsuit is a portion of a larger case removed from the circuit court for Dane County, Wisconsin and severed by District Judge William M. Conley before he recused himself. The original complaint was filed by plaintiff Wendy Alison Nora in state court, and she followed with an amended complaint adding two plaintiffs: Roger Peter Rinaldi (the plaintiff proceeding under this case number) and Christopher King. The amended complaint is roughly 50 pages long, but in a nutshell, plaintiffs allege the following: lawyers admitted to the Wisconsin bar are involved in a conspiracy to allow mortgage lenders or servicers to use fabricated documents to foreclose upon homeowners. Nora represented Rinaldi and his wife in at least one such case. When homeowners complain to the state's Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR), staff chooses not to investigate those claims. Plaintiffs believe that the OLR staff are part of a conspiracy to conceal rampant fabrication of documents in foreclosure proceedings. Rather than investigate the lawyers who participate in this conspiracy, OLR has chosen to investigate Nora, resulting in her suspension from the Wisconsin bar. See Disciplinary Proceedings Against Nora, 2018 WI 23, 380 Wis.2d 311, 909 N.W.2d 155. Plaintiff King, a journalist and videographer, attended one of Nora's disciplinary hearings and was physically assaulted by a mortgage servicer's lawyer.

         Plaintiffs brought claims under the United States and Wisconsin constitutions and Wisconsin laws regarding disclosure of Nora's medical records. Plaintiffs also stated their intention to further amend the complaint to add claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and its Wisconsin analogue, the Wisconsin Organized Crime Control Act (WOCCA). See Dkt. 2-2 (plaintiffs' first amended complaint). They filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint along with a proposed second amended complaint containing RICO and WOCCA claims, see Dkt. 38-6, but that motion was not decided before the case was removed to this court.

         Currently, the first amended complaint is the operative pleading. The defendants are as follows, broken up into the following groups:

• The state of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and Chief Justice Patience D. Roggensack.
• OLR, Keith Sellen, Travis J. Stieren, Robert J. Kasieta, Theron Edward Parsons, IV, Edward A. Hannan and James J. Winiarski (whom the court has already dubbed collectively as the “OLR defendants”).
• Litchfield Cavo, LLP, Mark W. Rattan, and Stephanie L. Dykeman (collectively, the “Litchfield Cavo defendants”).
• Wells Fargo Bank.

         The issues before me now are whether the case was properly removed, whether any of Judge Conley's pre-recusal rulings should be reconsidered, and whether Rinaldi's portion of the complaint states any plausible claims for relief. I conclude that the case was properly removed, that none of Judge Conley's rulings need to be changed, and that Rinaldi does not bring any plausible claims for relief. So I will dismiss the case.

         A. Removal

         The case was removed to this court by defendants Rattan, Dykeman, and Litchfield Cavo within 30 days of receiving plaintiffs' first amended complaint. They contend that they were not properly served. All defendants joined in the removal.

         This case was initially assigned to Judge Conley, who on January 18, 2019, held a telephonic hearing on the parties' various motions. Judge Conley severed each of the three plaintiffs' claims into separate cases because “there appear[ed] to be no meaningful factual or legal overlap.” Dkt. 18, at 4. He recused himself from Nora's case (19-cv-62) and later recused himself from Rinaldi's case as well. Both cases have been reassigned to me.

         One of the issues addressed at the January 18 hearing was whether the case was properly removed. Judge Conley noted that under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(2)(B), a defendant has 30 days from receipt or service of an “initial pleading or summons” to file a notice of removal. The Litchfield Cavo defendants filed their notice of removal within 30 days of receiving the first amended complaint, well after service of the original complaint upon the defendants named in that pleading, although the Litchfield Cavo defendants were not named in the original complaint. Judge Conley gave these defendants a chance to brief whether removal was timely.

         The authorities defendants cite in their responses show that removal is proper: newly added defendants are entitled to seek removal of a case running from the first version of the complaint they are served with. See Knudsen v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 411 F.3d 805, 807 (7th Cir. 2005) (“an amendment to the pleadings that . . . adds a new defendant, opens a new window of removal”); Braud v. Transp. Serv. Co. of Ill., 445 F.3d 801, 805 (5th Cir. 2006) (“Therefore, as to the new defendant, removability is determined as of the date of receipt of service of the amended complaint, not as of the date on which the original suit was filed in state court.”); see also Act II Jewelry, LLC v. Wooten, No. 15 C 6950, 2015 WL ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.