United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
William C. Griesbach, District Judge United States District
Robert Hammersley, proceeding without counsel, filed two
separate complaints naming more than twenty defendants in
each, most of whom appear to be Brown County judges,
prosecutors, defense attorneys, and witnesses in current or
previous cases against him. Both cases are before the court
on Hammersley's motion for leave to proceed without
prepaying the filing fee. Hammersley is required to pay the
statutory filing fee for this action. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). If a litigant does not have the money to
pay the filing fee, he or she can request leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. Here, it appears that Hammersley
is indigent, so the filing fee will be waived.
the fact that Hammersley has been granted leave to proceed
in forma pauperis, the court has a duty to review
the complaint and dismiss the case if it appears that the
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B);
Hoskins v. Polestra, 320 F.3d 761, 763 (7th Cir.
2003). In screening a complaint, I must determine whether the
complaint complies with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
and states at least plausible claims for which relief may be
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The
plaintiff's statements must “give the defendant
fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). However, a complaint that offers
“labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state
a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, “that is plausible on its
face.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint's
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). The court is obliged to give
the plaintiff's pro se allegations, however inartfully
pleaded, a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
complaints fail to meet this standard. They are not short
plain statements of a claim showing that he is entitled to
relief. The complaints seem more like a table of contents
listing some forty different claims but without any
supporting factual statements. They contain nothing more than
labels and conclusions. Instead of stating a claim in his
complaints, Hammersley has furnished the Clerk with more than
forty CDs with audio files presumably containing documentary
and other evidence intended to support his claims. This is
not what Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
requires. The complaints entirely fail the crucial role of
providing fair notice to the defendants of what the
plaintiff's claim is. It is unfair to force individuals
to hire or otherwise seek legal representation to respond to
unintelligible claims filed by a person who apparently has no
idea what he is doing.
from the failure to provide notice of the factual allegations
supporting his claims, it also appears Hammersley has
attempted to sue individuals who are either immune or were
not acting under state law. In this connection, it should be
noted that judges and prosecutors generally have absolute
immunity for actions taken in the scope of their judicial or
prosecutorial duties. See Stump v. Sparkman, 435
U.S. 349, 355-56 (1978); Imbler v. Pachtman, 424
U.S. 409, 431 (1976). It should also be noted that public
defenders and other attorneys who defend individuals in
criminal proceedings do not in doing so act under state law
for purposes of determining liability under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Polk Cty. v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 325 (1981).
event, for the reasons stated above, the complaints in the
above actions must be dismissed in their entirety for failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the motions in both
actions to proceed without prepaying the filing fee (Dkt. No.
2) are GRANTED.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the complaints in both
actions are DISMISSED for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. The Clerk shall enter
order and the judgment to follow are final. Plaintiff may
appeal this court's decision to the Court of Appeals for
the Seventh Circuit by filing in this court a notice of
appeal within 30 days of the entry of
judgment. See Fed. R. App. P. 3, 4. This court may
extend this deadline if a party timely requests an extension
and shows good cause or excusable neglect for not being able
to meet the 30-day deadline. See Fed. R. App. P.
4(a)(5)(A). If Plaintiff appeals, he will be liable for the
$505.00 appellate filing fee regardless of the appeal's
outcome. If Plaintiff seeks leave to proceed in forma
pauperis on appeal, he must file a motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis with this court.
See Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(1). Plaintiff may be
assessed another “strike” by the Court of Appeals
if his appeal is found to be non-meritorious. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g). If Plaintiff accumulates three
strikes, he will not be able to file an action in federal
court (except as a petition for habeas corpus relief) without
prepaying the filing fee unless he demonstrates that he is in
imminent danger of serous physical injury. Id.
certain circumstances, a party may ask this court to alter or
amend its judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
59(e) or ask for relief from judgment under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 60(b). Any motion under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e) must be filed within 28 days
of the entry of judgment. Any motion under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 60(b) must be filed within a reasonable time,
generally no more than one year after the entry of judgment.
The court cannot extend these deadlines. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 6(b)(2).
is expected to closely review all applicable rules and
determine, what, if any, further ...