United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. KOPF SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
granting Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis, 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).
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
Complaint consists of strings of unintelligible phrases that
appear to question various aspects of Plaintiff's divorce
decree entered by the District Court of Douglas County,
Nebraska, which Plaintiff has attached to the Complaint.
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 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 “[e]ach 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). Here, Plaintiff's
Complaint fails to meet this minimal pleading standard.
Claims for Relief Related to Plaintiff's State-Court
claim is subject to dismissal under the domestic-relations
doctrine. It is well-settled that the “whole subject of
the domestic relations of husband and wife, parent and child,
belongs to the laws of the states, and not to the laws of the
United States.” In re Burrus, 136 U.S. 586,
593-94 (1890). The United States Supreme Court has recognized
a domestic-relations exception “to the jurisdiction of
the federal courts in light of long-held understandings and
policy considerations.” Whiteside v. Nebraska State
Health and Human Services, No. 4:07CV3030, 2007 WL
2123754, *1 (D. Neb. July 19, 2007) (citing Ankenbrandt
v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 694-95 (1992)). Granting
Plaintiff relief by changing various provisions of her
divorce decree would require the court to entangle itself
into issues of state divorce law, an area in which it does
not have jurisdiction. See El v. Ricketts, No.
8:18CV327, 2018 WL 4006770, at *1 (D. Neb. Aug. 22, 2018).