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Kreger-Mueller v. Withee
United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
September 25, 2019
VALERIE KREGER-MUELLER, Plaintiff,
DANIEL WITHEE, JULIA CARBON, MICHAEL ASH, DAN JONES, BENJAMIN ENGSTROM, GREGORY DIXON, ROBERT MAIER, HOWARD STATZ, NICHOLAS STROIK, COSTIN TURTURNEANU, DAVID KASDORF, STEVEN ZIEGLER, SCOTT MOEN, MICHAEL ASH, KENNETH SMITH, DARREN ZIMMERMAN, NICK STROIK, TYLER LOETHER, JESUS GAMA, JILL TUTAJ, RYAN ROETTGER, TERRY HANSON, JESSE SELLEK, MATTHEW JACOBS, and CHUCK FOULKE, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge
plaintiff Valerie Kreger-Mueller filed a proposed civil
action against numerous institutional defendants, including a
police department, a county government office, and various
health care institutions in Dane County. See
Kreger-Mueller v. City of Middleton Police Dep’t,
No. 18-cv-708-jdp, Dkt. 1 and Dkt. 5. In a December 6,
2018 order, I reviewed her initial complaint and amended
complaint and concluded that they failed to state claims upon
which relief could be granted because, among other things,
they violated Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8, 18, and 20.
I offered Kreger-Mueller an opportunity to file an amended
complaint identifying which one of the eight possible
lawsuits from her complaint she wished to proceed on under
this case number. No. 18-cv-708, Dkt. 7.
responded by filing two complaints-one against 25 officers
from the Middleton Police Department, No. 18-cv-708, Dkt. 13,
and another against 20 individuals from local health clinics
and community agencies and three attorneys for the Dane
County Corporation Counsel. No. 18-cv-708, Dkt. 21. The
lawsuits could not proceed under a single case number, so I
directed the clerk of court to open a new case for
Kreger-Mueller’s complaint against the Middleton police
officers. No. 18-cv-708, Dkt. 22. I also determined that
Kreger-Mueller could proceed in forma pauperis. All further
docket citations are to this case (19-cv-741-jdp), which
relates to Kreger-Mueller’s complaint against the
Middleton police officers.
order, I will screen Kreger-Mueller’s amended complaint
against the 25 Middleton police officers. Dkt. 1. In doing
so, I must dismiss any portion that is legally frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by
law cannot be sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). Kreger-Mueller’s amended complaint suffers
from many of the same defects as her original filings. With
the exception of two sets of claims (one set against
defendants Howard Statz, Daniel Withee, and Robert Maier, and
the other against Benjamin Engstrom), Kreger-Mueller’s
amended complaint fails to assert claims upon which relief
can be granted. And the two sets of allegations that do state
claims for relief arise out of unrelated events and cannot be
pursued in the same lawsuit. Rather than ordering
Kreger-Mueller to file yet another amended complaint, I will
grant her leave to proceed on claims against defendants
Statz, Withee, and Maier. I will dismiss her claims against
Engstrom without prejudice to Kreger-Mueller filing a
separate lawsuit against him.
addition to an amended complaint, Kreger-Mueller has filed a
motion for injunctive relief, Dkt. 2, and a motion to seal
the records in this case, Dkt. 3. I will deny those motions
for the reasons explained below.
amended complaint contains the following allegations:
1) On August 23, 2016, defendant Officers Statz, Withee, and
Maier unlawfully took Kreger-Mueller into custody. First,
they held her in a squad car until 4:30 p.m., which caused
her to miss a deadline in a legal matter. Then, they caused
her to be held for three days at Winnebago Mental Health
Institute. Kreger-Mueller was given a drug that makes her
recollection “foggy, ” and when she awoke at the
facility, she had no clothes and no memory of how she became
unclothed. Dkt. 1, ¶ 1. She was also forced to submit to
a blood and urine test, even though there was no suspicion of
drug or alcohol use.
2) On August 23, 2016, Withee touched Kreger-Mueller’s
inner thigh while securing her seatbelt in the back of a
3) On August 30, 2016, Middleton police officers (she
doesn’t say which ones) again unlawfully took
Kreger-Mueller into custody. This time, she was held at a
health care facility for three weeks, even though she was not
a danger to herself or others.
4) Kreger-Mueller did not receive a due process hearing
“until 2–3 weeks later after being in custody
that long.” Id. at 4.
5) Defendants Dan Jones and Chuck Foulke “dismissed a
sexual abuse/assault claim for no logical reason.”
Id. ¶ 5. Kreger-Mueller reported allegations
that the father of her child had touched the child
inappropriately. Jones interviewed the child out of
Kreger-Mueller’s presence, and ultimately the Middleton
Police did not file charges against the child’s father.
6) In October 2016, Kreger-Mueller lost primary custody of
her child to the child’s father, even though the father
“has committed sexual assault to this child” and
has “done a very poor job parenting.”
Id. ¶ 7. The Middleton Police Department
assisted the child’s father in obtaining full custody
by repeatedly falsely arresting Kreger-Mueller with no
probable cause. In so doing, “the officers named [as
defendants] have all been involved in allowing [the
child’s father] to continuously commit domestic abuse
and sexual assault of a child, neglect and abuse of a child,
drive under the influence with the child in the car,
etc.” Id. ¶ 9.
7) The “named defendants have lied” about
Kreger-Mueller under oath in “several police reports
going back to 2009.” Id. ¶ 3. Most
recently, on March 1, 2018, defendant Benjamin Engstrom lied
by stating that Kreger-Mueller’s residence was dirty.
8) On March 1, 2018, Engstrom “pinched the plaintiff
and caused her injury to her ...