United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. KOPF SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
filed her Complaint on September 10, 2018. (Filing No.
1.) She 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.
§ 1915(e)(2). For purposes of this initial review, the
court will consider Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
(filing no. 6) filed on April 23, 2019, as
supplemental to the Complaint.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
list of named defendants is very difficult to decipher.
(SeeFiling No. 1 at CM/ECF pp. 1-4; Filing No. 6
at CM/ECF pp. 1-2.) As best the court can tell,
Plaintiff brings this lawsuit against the State of Nebraska;
DHHS; DCFS; LICWAC; CPS; NFC; Heartland Family Services;
OPPD; MUD; “Park Meadows Plaza, Union, NE;”
Monica Green Kruger; McNeil Law Office; Jane M. McNeil;
Assistant Public Defender Lauren J. Micek; Law Office of
Shannon Benash; Ivan, Lynn, and Bob Johnson; Christopher J.
Petty; Immanuel Hospital; Nebraska Humane Society; Dr.
Michael Reed, OBGYN; Dr. Dada; and Lasting Hope Recovery.
(Id.) In her Amended Complaint, Plaintiff appears to
sue these Defendants not only on her own behalf, but also on
behalf of her minor children. (Filing No. 6 at CM/ECF p.
allegations are incomprehensible. In both the Complaint and
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff's “Statement of
Claim” merely lists several names, entities, and what
appear to be case numbers for Nebraska state juvenile and
probate cases. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 4;
Filing No. 6 at CM/ECF p. 5.) Plaintiff attached to
her Complaint two separate acknowledgements of paternity
listing Plaintiff and Christopher Petty as the parents of
children born in 2011 and 2015 respectively. (Filing No.
1-1.) As best the court can tell, Plaintiff's
Complaint bears some relation to the juvenile and/or probate
cases referenced in the Complaint. However, Plaintiff does
not explain who any of the parties are, what they have
allegedly done to her, what specific legal rights Plaintiff
believes Defendants violated, or even what relief she seeks
APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW
court is required to review in forma pauperis complaints to
determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate.
See 28 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. §
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).
court has carefully reviewed Plaintiff's Complaint,
keeping in mind that complaints filed by pro se litigants are
held to less stringent standards than those applied to formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, as set forth above, even
pro se litigants must comply with the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 requires that
every complaint contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief” and that “each allegation . . . be
simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2),
(d)(1). A complaint must state enough to “‘give
the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.'” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555). Complaints filed in federal court must also
contain “a demand for the relief sought.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(3). Here, Plaintiff's Complaint fails
to meet the minimal pleading standard and does not specify
the relief she seeks. (See generally Filing Nos.
1 & 6.)
court's own motion, Plaintiff shall have 30 days from the
date of this Memorandum and Order to file an amended
complaint that sufficiently describes her
claims against Defendants. Plaintiff should
be mindful to clearly explain what Defendants did to her,
when Defendants did it, how Defendants' actions harmed
her, and what specific legal rights Plaintiff believes
Defendants violated. Plaintiff is warned that an amended
complaint will supersede, not supplement, her Complaint. If
Plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint in accordance
with this Memorandum and Order, her claims against Defendants
will be dismissed without prejudice and without further
notice. The court reserves the right to conduct further
review of Plaintiff's claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2) after she addresses the matters set forth in this
Memorandum and Order.
THEREFORE ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff shall have until May 28, 2019,
to file an amended complaint in accordance with this
Memorandum and Order. Failure to file an amended complaint
within the time specified by the court will result in the
court dismissing this case without further notice to
Plaintiff. If Plaintiff decides to file an amended complaint,
Plaintiff must include all of the claims she wishes to pursue
against all of the defendants she wishes to proceed against
in the amended complaint. Plaintiff should be mindful to
explain in her amended complaint what each defendant did to
her, when the defendant did it, how the defendant's
actions harmed her, and what ...