United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
WILLIAM M. CONLEY, DISTRICT JUDGE
se plaintiff Kevin Knope has eight motions currently
pending before the court, seeking to reopen this case and
requesting various related types of relief. (Dkt. ##82, 83,
85, 87-91.) Since Knope's filings do not justify
reopening this matter, the court is denying all of his
motions and this case will remain closed.
Knope filed this lawsuit in June of 2016, seeking to proceed
on claims related to his April 20, 2016, involuntary civil
commitment. Specifically, he alleged that he was committed
after Sun Prairie police officer Matt McElroy filled out a
“Statement of Emergency Detention by a Law Enforcement
Officer” form after police were called to Knope's
house. The court acknowledged the possibility that Knope
might be able to proceed on Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment
claims related to his civil confinement, but required Knope
to file an amended complaint to identify a suable defendant.
Once Knope did so, the court granted Knope leave to proceed
against two defendants, Jenna Suleski and Matt McElroy.
April 26, 2018, the court granted Suleski's motion to
dismiss. (Dkt. #62.) On May 25, 2018, defendant Matt McElroy
filed a motion for summary judgment, and the court set June
25, 2018, as Knope's deadline to oppose that motion.
Knope failed to oppose McElroy's motion, so on August 30,
2018, the court gave him until September 13, 2018, to file a
response to McElroy's motion for summary judgment and
warned Knope that his case would be dismissed for failure to
prosecute if he did not respond. (Dkt. #76.) On October 11,
2018, after Knope still failed to respond, the court
dismissed Knope's case for failure to prosecute (dkt.
#78), and on October 17, 2018, McElroy filed a bill of costs
(dkt. #80). Then, between November 13, 2018, and December 26,
2018, Knope filed eight motions currently before the court,
seeking: a hearing; to amend his complaint; to stay defendant
McElroy's bill of costs; to serve subpoenas and submit
evidence in support of his hearing request; and to submit
certain pretrial filings.
Knope's goal is to reopen this case and proceed on an
amended complaint against a newly identified defendant.
Specifically, he would like to proceed on a constitutional
claim against David Roethe, an employee of Journey Mental
Health Center. (Dkt. #83, at 1.) Knope alleges that Roethe
was the official who actually approved McElroy's
application for an emergency detention, and thus the proper
defendant in this action. However, to reopen this matter and
reset a schedule requires a showing of good cause.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4). None of Knope's
submissions explain why Knope failed to respond to the
court's orders, much less any reason why he
failed to name Roethe as a defendant before this case was
closed. The closest Knope comes is representing that he
prefers to speak verbally rather than in writing. (Dkt. #82
at 3). While that may be true, that assertion does not
provide good cause for reopening this case to consider
whether to allow him to proceed on a claim against Roethe, or
to grant him any of the other relief he is seeking.
the court will not reopen this matter and is denying
Knope's request to amend his complaint to add Roethe as a
defendant in this lawsuit, the denial does not preclude Knope
from filing a new lawsuit against Roethe, in state
or federal court. That said, the court notes that it does not
appear Knope has a claim against Roethe within this federal
court's jurisdiction, for the following reasons explained
arrest, a civil commitment is a seizure implicating the
Fourth Amendment, and it may only be entered upon probable
cause. Villanova v. Abrams, 972 F.2d 792, 795 (7th
Cir. 1992); Perry v. Sheahan, 222 F.3d 309, 316 (7th
Cir. 2000). For an involuntary commitment, probable cause
exists “only if there are reasonable grounds for
believing that the person seized is subject to seizure under
the governing legal standard.” Fitzgerald v.
Santoro, 707 F.3d 725, 732 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting
Villanova, 972 F.2d at 795). In Wisconsin, that
standard is met if the person seized is: (1) “mentally
ill, drug dependent or developmentally disabled”; and
(2) “dangerous” in a way enumerated under the
statute, which generally requires that the person
“evidences a substantial probability of physical harm
to himself” or others. Wis.Stat. § 51.20.
own submissions appear to acknowledge that Roethe was
provided information that would allow him to conclude
reasonably that on April 20, 2016, Knope was mentally ill and
posed a danger to himself or others. Among Knope's
filings is his proposed findings of fact, in which he
includes certain facts Officer Matt McElroy reported to
Roethe, which caused Roethe to agree to Knope's civil
confinement pursuant to Wis.Stat. § 51.20, including:
1. On 4/20/16 at 5:37 pm Kevin contacted the police dept
regarding information he had received regarding treason of
the U.S. Government.
2. When in contact with Kevin, he was displaying erratic,
3. Kevin disclosed that he suffers from bi-polar disorder and
4. Kevin has a history of suicide attempts and has attempted
to hang himself on three separate occasions.
5. Kevin is not prescribed medications and does not visit
therapists, counselors, or ...