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Nora v. State

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

September 23, 2019

WENDY ALISON NORA, 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 part of case removed from the circuit court for Dane County, Wisconsin. The original complaint was filed in state court by plaintiff Wendy Alison Nora; she followed with an amended complaint that added two plaintiffs: Roger Peter Rinaldi and Christopher King. After removal, Judge Conley severed the case, placing each plaintiff's claims into a separate lawsuit. This case Nora's portion of the severed lawsuit. Judge William M. Conley recused himself from Nora's case and Rinaldi's, and they were assigned to me.

         I dismissed Rinaldi's case because he did not bring any plausible claims for relief. See Dkt. 90 (a copy of the Rinaldi order, docketed in this case). Many of the issues in Nora's case are the same as those in Rinaldi's case, so I repeat some of that background.

         Plaintiffs alleged the following in their first amended complaint in state court: some 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 the wide-spread 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 of her Wisconsin law license. 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 defendant Mark W. Rattan, who was representing defendant Stephanie L. Dykeman as she testified about her representation of a mortgage servicer.

         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. 34-6, but that motion was not decided before the case was removed to this court.

         So at this point, the first amended complaint is the operative pleading. The defendants fall into the following groups:

• The state of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, 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 (who I will call the “state defendants”)
• Litchfield Cavo, LLP, Mark W. Rattan, and Stephanie L. Dykeman (who I will call the “Litchfield Cavo defendants”)
• Wells Fargo Bank

         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.

         As in Rinaldi's case, Nora contends that the case was not properly removed and that the various rulings that Judge Conley made in the case before recusing himself are void. See Dkt. 20. I rejected these arguments in my August 13 order in Rinaldi's case, Dkt. 90, at 3- 5, so I will discuss them further here. The case was properly removed and there is no reason to reconsider any of Judge Conley's rulings.

         Several motions are before the court, but the main ones are motions to dismiss filed by each set of defendants. I will grant the motions to dismiss by Wells Fargo and the Litchfield Cavo defendants. The state defendants' motion to dismiss was filed in state court; I'll deny that motion as moot and ask for further input in light of Nora's later amendments to her complaint.

         A. Motion to supplement docket

         Nora has filed a motion to enter the entire voluminous pre-removal state-court record on this court's electronic docket. Dkt. 32. For the sake of completeness and ease of access to the electronic record, I will have the clerk of court scan and docket the state-court record as a single, large document. (With an exception identified in footnote 2 below.) Most of the state-court documents material to the issues currently in play in this lawsuit have already been placed on this court's docket by the parties. Going forward, the parties should cite the individual docket entries for state-court documents rather than to the large state-court file. If any other part of the state-court record become relevant, the parties must identify the specific state-court document and cite the specific page of the state-court record where the document can be found. The court will disregard any citation to the state court record that does not follow this procedure.

         B. Dismissal of “RICO/WOCCA Enterprise” claims

         Plaintiffs have attempted to tie their various legal theories and defendants together into one lawsuit by saying that were part of a “RICO/WOCCA Enterprise.” In Rinaldi's case I explained that this “extraordinary allegation of conspiracy to harm the public” was “not actually supported by the allegations in either complaint.” Dkt. 90, at 6-7. In particular, plaintiffs' allegations that OLR staff heard complaints about lawyers for mortgage servicers and that the OLR sanctioned Nora in part for her work on foreclosure cases did not mean that OLR staff or private ...


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