United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. KOPF SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
filed a Complaint on April 12, 2018. (Filing No. 1.) He has
been given leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Filing No.
5.) The court now conducts an initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint to determine whether summary
dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. §§
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
brings this action against Lancaster County District Court
Judge Darla S. Ideus (“Judge Ideus”), in her
official and individual capacities. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF
p. 1.) In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Judge
Ideus' March 6, 2018 order denying his motion to modify
child support and his application to proceed in forma
pauperis injured his reputation and violated several
provisions of the Nebraska Constitution, 42 U.S.C. §
1983, and his right to equal protection of the
laws. (Id. at CM/ECF pp. 2-4.)
Plaintiff seems to allege, in conclusory fashion, that Judge
Ideus' actions were racially and gender motivated.
(Id. at CM/ECF p. 1.)
relief, Plaintiff seeks damages in the amount of $1 million.
(Id. at CM/ECF p. 4.) Plaintiff also asks for a
declaration that Judge Ideus injured his reputation and
violated the Nebraska Constitution,  42 U.S.C. § 1983, and
Plaintiff's rights to equal protection of the laws.
(Id. at CM/ECF pp. 3-4.)
APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW
court is required to review in forma pauperis complaints to
determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate.
See28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e). The court must
dismiss a complaint or any portion of it that states a
frivolous or malicious claim, that fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
plaintiffs must set forth enough factual allegations to
“nudge their claims across the line from conceivable
to plausible, ” or “their complaint must be
dismissed.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 569-70 (2007); see also Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“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.”).
essential function of a complaint under the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure is to give the opposing party ‘fair
notice of the nature and basis or grounds for a claim, and a
general indication of the type of litigation
involved.'” Topchian v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,
N.A., 760 F.3d 843, 848 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Hopkins v. Saunders, 199 F.3d 968, 973 (8th Cir.
1999)). However, “[a] pro se complaint must be
liberally construed, and pro se litigants are held to a
lesser pleading standard than other parties.”
Topchian, 760 F.3d at 849 (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted).
sued Judge Ideus, a state district court judge, in her
official capacity and in her individual capacity. Sovereign
immunity prevents the court from exercising jurisdiction over
claims for damages against Judge Ideus in her official
Eleventh Amendment bars claims for damages by private parties
against a state. See, e.g., Egerdahl v. Hibbing
Cmty. Coll., 72 F.3d 615, 618-19 (8th Cir. 1995);
Dover Elevator Co. v. Arkansas State Univ., 64 F.3d
442, 446-47 (8th Cir. 1995). Any award of retroactive
monetary relief payable by the state, including for back pay
or damages, is proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment absent a
waiver of immunity by the state or an override of immunity by
Congress. See, e.g., Dover Elevator Co., 64
F.3d at 444; Nevels v. Hanlon, 656 F.2d 372, 377-78
(8th Cir. 1981). A state's sovereign immunity extends to
public officials sued in their official capacities as
“[a] suit against a public employee in his or her
official capacity is merely a suit against the public
employer.” Johnson v. Outboard Marine Corp.,
172 F.3d 531, 535 (8th Cir. 1999).
Plaintiff brought suit against Judge Ideus in her official
capacity. As a district court judge within the Nebraska
Judicial Branch, Judge Ideus is a state official, and
Plaintiff's official-capacity claims are claims against
the state. SeeTyler v. Kimes, No.
8:18CV74, 2018 WL 3057873, at *2 (D. Neb. June 20, 2018)
(citing Tisdell v. Crow Wing Cnty., No. CIV. 13-2531
PJS/LIB, 2014 WL 1757929, at *7 (D. Minn. Apr. 30, 2014)
(official-capacity claims against state court judge are
claims against state)). There is nothing in the record before
the court showing that the State of Nebraska waived, or that