United States District Court, D. Nebraska
JACOB F. STASKA and JODIE M. FALLON, Plaintiffs,
JAMES C. STECKER, STEVEN TWOHIG, ANDREW LANGE, DEMETRIA W. HERMAN, MARY C. GILBRIDE, L. JAY MORROW, GERALD D. JOHNSON, PATRICIA L. STARR, VILLAGE OF MEAD, GREG LARSON, SAUNDERS COUNTY, CITY OF WAHOO, BROMM, FREEMAN-CADDY & LAUSTERER LAW FIRM, MAUREEN FREEMAN-CADDY, SAUNDERS COUNTY REC'S OFFICE, RHONDA ANDRESEN, MARK STEELE, DARREN L. HARTMAN, JOHN H. SOHL, SAUNDERS COUNTY CORRECTIONS, KEVIN STUKENHOLTZ, UNKNOWN SAUNDERS COUNTY DEPUTY SHERIFFS, PATRICK R. MCDERMOTT, KENNETH JACKSON, CURRENT ACTING CHIEF OF POLICE, UNKNOWN WAHOO POLICE OFFICERS, LOREN LINDAHL, PATTY MCEVOY, DEBBIE L. SLADKY, ANNE TWEEDY, LINDA LITTLE, UNKNOWN DEFENDANTS, DOES 1-50, NEBRASKA LAND TITLE AND ABSTRACT, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. BATAILLON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the defendants' respective
motions to dismiss, Filing Nos. 18, 20, 24, 27, 29, and 44.
Plaintiffs Jacob F. Staska and Jodie M. Fallon filed a
complaint in United States District Court for the District of
Nebraska on August 28, 2018, for violation of their civil
rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and sought both
declaratory and injunctive relief. Filing No. 1, complaint at
1. The plaintiffs' motions for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis were granted on August 29, 2018. Filing Nos. 6 and
fifty-page complaint, which identifies an excess of thirty
defendants, asserts federal civil rights claims against
various private individuals and public servants. The
complaint is at times difficult to discern. It appears that
Plaintiffs attempt to sue, essentially, every agency and
individual they encountered vis-à-vis their collective
experiences as litigants in the civil and criminal court
systems in Saunders County, Nebraska, and the proximate area.
Plaintiffs allege that the defendants committed acts
“under color of law conspiring in their individual and
official capacities with private actors in an agreement which
deprived Plaintiffs of rights secured under the United States
Constitution.” Filing No. 1 at 2.
complaint pursues ten federal Constitutional claims, which
are characterized as “counts” and delineated as
separate headings: (1) 42 U.S.C. § 1983: False
Imprisonment; (2) 42 U.S.C. § 1983: Sixth Amendment
Right to Counsel; (3) 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3): Conspiracy to
Deprive Constitutional Rights; (4) 42 U.S.C. § 1983:
Conspiracy to Deprive Constitutional Rights; (5) 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983: Denial of Access to the Courts; (6) Violation of
Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clauses; (7)
Violation of Substantive Due Process Rights; (8) § 1985:
Conspiracy to Violate Civil Rights [Private Individual
Defendants and Saunders County Municipalities, Agencies, and
Saunders County Courthouse Employees]; (9) 42 U.S.C. §
1983: Malicious Prosecution; and (10) 42 U.S.C. § 1983:
Private Party to § 1983 Suits. See Filing No. 1
case involves six motions to dismiss. Defendant James C.
Stecker moved to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).
Filing No. 18. Defendants the County of Saunders, Nebraska,
Steven Twohig, Andrew Lange, Demetria W. Herman, L. Jay
Morrow, Kevin Stukenholz, Rhonda Andresen, John Sohl, Patty
McEvoy, and Debbie Sladky (collectively, “County
Defendants”) moved to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a), 10(b), 12(b)(1) and (6). Filing No. 20. Defendant Mark
A. Steele moved to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1)
and (6). Filing No. 24. Defendant Gerald D. Johnson moved to
dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), 10(b), 12(b)(1) and
(6). Filing No. 27. Defendants Nebraska Land Title and
Abstract, Anne Tweedy, and Linda Little, moved to dismiss
pursuant Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Filing No. 29. Lastly,
defendant Darren Harman moved to dismiss pursuant
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8, 10(b), and 12(b)(6). Filing No. 44.
the Federal Rules, a complaint must contain “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
Additionally, “a party must state its claims or
defenses in numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as
practicable to a single set of circumstances.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b). Further, while claims for relief must be
asserted in responsive pleadings (if required), a party may
assert via a motion, inter alia, lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction or failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and (6).
rules require a “'showing,' rather than a
blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Bell
Atlantic Corp v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 n.3 (2007)
(quoting Fed R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). “Specific facts are
not necessary; the statement need only ‘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). In order to survive a
motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds for his
entitlement to relief necessitates that the complaint contain
“more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
factual allegations of a complaint are assumed true and
construed in favor of the plaintiff, “even if it
strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is
improbably and ‘that a recovery is very remote and
unlikely.'” Id. at 556 (quoting
Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232 236 (1974)).
“[O]n the assumption that all the allegations in the
complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact), ” the
allegations in the complaint must “raise a right to
relief above the speculative level.” Id. at
555-556. In other words, the complaint must plead
“enough facts to state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 547. “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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (stating that the plausibility standard does not
require a probability but asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully).
is based on the principles that (1) the tenet that a court
must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a
complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions; and (2) only
a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives
a motion to dismiss. Id. at 678-679. Determining
whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a
“context-specific task” that requires the court
“to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.” Id. at 679. Accordingly, under
Twombly, a court considering a motion to dismiss may
begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more
than conclusions, are not entitled to assumption of truth.
Id. Although legal conclusions “can provide
the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by
factual allegations.” Id. When there are
well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their
veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise
to an entitlement to relief. Id.
the court must find “enough factual matter (taken as
true) to suggest” that “discovery will reveal
evidence” of the elements of the claim.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556; Dura Pharms., Inc. v.
Broudo, 544 U.S. 336, 347 (2005) (explaining that
something beyond a faint hope that the discovery process
might lead eventually to some plausible cause of action must
be alleged). When the allegations in a complaint, however
true, could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief, the
complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Twombly, 550 U.S. at
558; Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
is not available against an official sued in his individual
capacity. SeeBrown v. Montoya, 662 F.3d
1152, 1161 n.5 (10th Cir. 2011); see alsoWill v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58,
71 (stating that a suit against a state official in his
official capacity is suit not against the official, but
rather against the official's office). Judicial immunity
is a judge's immunity from suit and assessment of
damages. Mireles v. Waco502 ...