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Sanchez v. State

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

April 26, 2019

PATRICIA ANN SANCHEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF NEBRASKA, DHHS, DCFS, LICWAC, CPS, NFC, HEARTLAND FAMILY SRVC, OPPD, MUD, PARK MEADOWS PLAZA, UNION, NE, MONICA GREEN KRUGER, Attorney at Law; JANE M. MCNEIL, Attorney at Law; LAUREN J. MICEK, Assistant Public Defender; and LAW OFFICE OF SHANNON BENASH, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RICHARD G. KOPF SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff 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.

         I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff's 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. 1.)

         Plaintiff's 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 from Defendants.

         II. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW

         The 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. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         Pro se 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.”).

         “The 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).

         III. DISCUSSION

         The 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.)

         On the 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[1] 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.

         IT IS 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 ...

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