United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
DASHAWN M. ROBERT, Plaintiff,
VISIONS NIGHTCLUB OWNERS TOM REICHENBERGER AND DAVID BROWN, and THE CITY OF MADISON, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM M. CONLEY DISTRICT JUDGE
Dashawn Roberts brings this proposed civil action, claiming
defendants, the owners of Visions Nightclub and the City of
Madison, acted negligently in failing to protect him from
being shot while he was a patron at Visions Nightclub on the
night of December 9, 2018. He is seeking monetary damages.
Having been permitted to proceed in forma pauperis,
Robert's complaint requires screening. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). Since this court's consideration of Roberts
claims will interfere with an ongoing state court criminal
proceeding, the court will abstain from exercising
jurisdiction and stay this matter.
Dashawn Roberts, an Illinois citizen, was a patron at Visions
Nightclub on December 9, 2018. While there, Roberts got into
a physical altercation that lead to him being stabbed in the
right eye and shot in the abdomen. Roberts was eventually
found in the basement of Visions and taken to a hospital,
where he underwent emergency surgery. He sustained severe
damage to his intestine, a portion of his stomach was
removed, and his livery and kidney were damaged. Robert
suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of
this incident. He claims that the owners of Visions are
negligent in that they allowed an unauthorized a gun in the
establishment. He further claims the City of Madison was
negligent in allowing Visions to operate as a
sexually-oriented business in an area not zoned for that type
of business. Thus, Robert claims, the City of Madison
essentially allowed the negative secondary effects of a
sexually-oriented business, presumably violence, occur.
available records show that on December 13, 2018, a criminal
complaint was filed against Robert, charging him with first
degree reckless injury and use of a dangerous weapon, in
violation of Wis.Stat. §§ 940.23(1)(a),
939.63(1)(a); three counts of first degree recklessly
endangering safety and use of a dangerous weapon, in
violation of Wis.Stat. §§ 941.30(1), 939.63(1)(a);
carrying a handgun where alcohol is sold or consumed, in
violation of Wis.Stat. § 941.237(2); disorderly conduct
and use of a dangerous weapon, in violation of Wis.Stat.
§§ 947.01(1), 939.63(1)(a); and carrying a
concealed weapon, in violation of Wis.Stat. § 941.23(2).
State of Wisconsin v. Robert, No. 2018CF2509 (Dane
Cty.), available at https://wcca.wicourts.gov (last
visited Sept. 19, 2019). The charges arose from an offense
that occurred on December 9, 2018. Those records show that
Robert was found guilty by a jury on all counts, and the
matter is currently set for sentencing.
seeks to proceed on a theory that defendants acted with
negligence in allowing him to be shot at the nightclub.
However, in these circumstances the court is required to
abstain from considering any of the claims he is
pursuing because plaintiff's criminal proceeding appears
to have arisen these events and is still ongoing. Under
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 45 (1971), federal
courts are required to show proper respect for state judicial
systems and abstain from issuing orders that would interfere
with ongoing state criminal prosecutions, except in limited
circumstances not present here. Since plaintiff's claims
in this lawsuit would require analysis of the facts and
circumstances related to his criminal proceeding, resolving
his claims in this lawsuit would most assuredly affect, if
not outright interfere with, that criminal case. As such, the
court will stay this matter, subject to reopening once
plaintiff's state court proceedings have concluded.
See Gakuba v. O'Brien, 711 F.3d 751, 753-54 (7th
Cir. 2013) (finding that when a plaintiff seeks monetary
damages related to an on-going state proceeding, a stay,
rather than dismissal without prejudice, is necessary to
preserve the plaintiff's civil rights damages claims).
court ABSTAINS from exercising jurisdiction over
plaintiff's claims in this lawsuit, pursuant to
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 45 (1971).
matter is STAYED, pending resolution of plaintiff's
pending state criminal proceedings, including any relevant
state collateral review proceedings.
 In addressing any pro se
litigant's complaint, the court must read the allegations
generously, drawing all reasonable inferences and resolving
ambiguities in plaintiff's favor. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972). As reflected below,
the court also supplements the allegations in the complaint
with dates and information about plaintiff's underlying
criminal case from the electronic docket available at
Wisconsin Circuit Court Access,
https://wcca.wicourts.gov. The court draws all other
allegations of fact from plaintiff's complaint and
supplement, viewing the record in a light most favorable to
plaintiff. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c); see also
Witzke v. Femal, 376 F.3d 744, 749 (7th Cir. 2004)