KIEFNER v. ARNOLD
ENTRY - Plaintiff Scott A. Kiefner's Motion for Clarification [dkt. 33 ] is granted consistent with the following: (See Entry.) Copy sent to Plaintiff via U.S. Mail. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 11/2/2016. (Attachments: # 1 Complaint Form) (JLS) Modified on 11/2/2016 (JLS).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SCOTT A. KIEFNER,
DOUGLAS ARNOLD Indianapolis Police
Plaintiff Scott A. Kiefner’s Motion for Clarification [dkt. 33] is granted consistent with
the following: On August 28, 2008 Plaintiff brought this cause of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment rights. On December 23, 2008 Plaintiff filed a
motion to stay proceedings or in the alternative dismiss cause without prejudice so that he could
resolve his pending criminal matters, in light of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
Plaintiff’s motion was granted and this action was dismissed without prejudice on December 29,
2009 [dkt. 19 and 20]. Because the matter was dismissed without prejudice, Plaintiff is now
seeking to re-open this action. However, he is not permitted to do so. A dismissal without prejudice
does not permit a party to re-open a dismissed action, rather, a motion to dismiss without prejudice
simply means there was no decision on the merits and the parties are free to litigate the matter in
a subsequent action without the defendant invoking the doctrine of res judicata in any later action
by the plaintiff on the subject matter. There is nothing in the judgment that was entered in this
action on December 29, 2008, that prevents the Plaintiff from filing a new action on the subject
matter. However, the Plaintiff must follow the proper procedure to open a new action which is set
There is one and only one means by which to commence a civil action in federal court.
That means is through the filing of a complaint. In re Allied Signal Corp., 915 F.2d 190, 192 (6th
Cir. 1990) (“an action is commenced with the filing of a complaint rather than a motion”); 1 James
Wm. Moore et al., MOORE'S FEDERAL PRACTICE § 3.02 (3d ed.2000) (“an action is not
commenced by . . . filing a motion with the court . . . .”).
The Plaintiff’s motion for clarification does not constitute a complaint. Accordingly, it
presents nothing for the Court to act upon. According to Rule 3 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, a civil action is commenced upon the filing of a complaint with the Court. If the
Plaintiff wishes to file a lawsuit, he must file a complaint, and in doing so he shall be guided by
the following: (a) the complaint shall comply with the requirement of Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure that pleadings contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief. . . .”; (b) the complaint shall comply with the requirement of
Rule 10 that the allegations in a complaint be made in numbered paragraphs, each of which should
recite, as far as practicable, only a single set of circumstances; (c) the complaint must identify what
legal injury he claims to have suffered and what persons are responsible for each such legal injury;
and (d) the complaint shall contain a clear statement of the relief which is sought. If the plaintiff
takes that step (submitting a complaint) he contemporaneously must either pay the $400.00 filing
fee or move for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and demonstrate that he lacks the financial
ability to pay the fee.
The clerk is instructed to attach a copy of a blank pro se prisoner complaint form to this
IT IS SO ORDERED.
NOTE TO CLERK: PROCESSING THIS DOCUMENT REQUIRES ACTIONS IN ADDITION TO DOCKETING AND DISTRIBUTION.
SCOTT A. KIEFNER
Pendleton Correctional Facility
4490 West Reformatory Road
Pendleton, IN 46064
Electronically registered counsel
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