BUCKLEY v. KING et al
ORDER denying Plaintiff's 6 Motion To Amend; denied for the present 7 Motion For Assistant With Serving Complaint; denied as premature 8 Motion to Appoint Counsel. The dismissal of the complaint will not in this instance lead to the dismissal of the action at present. Instead, Buckley shall have through December 8, 2017, in which to file an amended complaint. (Copy to Plaintiff via U.S. Mail) Signed by Judge William T. Lawrence on 11/13/2017. (JDC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
GERTIE KATRICE BUCKLEY,
KEVIN SMITH Mayor,
THOMAS J. BRODRICK Mayor,
Entry Discussing Complaint and Directing Further Proceedings
Plaintiff Gertie Buckley brings this civil complaint against a number of defendants
alleging that the defendants have violated her civil rights, the Fair Housing Act, the Americans
with Disabilities Act, and Indiana landlord-tenant law, among other things.
District courts have an obligation under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to screen complaints
before service on the defendants, and must dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous or malicious,
fails to state a claim for relief, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from
such relief. Dismissal under the in forma pauperis statute is an exercise of the Court’s discretion.
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 34 (1992). In determining whether the complaint states a
claim, the Court applies the same standard as when addressing a motion to dismiss under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir. 2006).
To survive dismissal under federal pleading standards,
[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face. 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). Thus, a “plaintiff must do better than putting a few
words on paper that, in the hands of an imaginative reader, might suggest that something has
happened to her that might be redressed by the law.” Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400,
403 (7th Cir.2010) (emphasis in original).
Buckley alleges that Debra King tricked her, breached the contract, never finished the
project on her house, and allowed her to place all of her money into an escrow account. She also
alleges that Mayors Smith and Broderick failed to help her with her situation. She also moves to
amend to add the City of Anderson as a defendant because “these people have been hired and
rehired by the City of Anderson.”
Buckley’s complaint must be dismissed because it does not provide enough facts to
allow a conclusion that the defendants are responsible for violating the rights that she mentions.
In other words, Buckley states that these defendants have violated her rights, but she does not
include enough facts to support this claim. Her motion for assistance with serving the complaint,
Dkt. No. 7, is denied for the present because the complaint has been dismissed. The motion to
amend, Dkt. No. 6, is denied because she has not stated a claim against any defendant or the City
The dismissal of the complaint will not in this instance lead to the dismissal of the action
at present. Instead, Buckley shall have through December 8, 2017, in which to file an amended
In filing an amended complaint, the plaintiff shall conform to the following guidelines:
(a) the amended 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. . . . ,” which is sufficient to provide the defendants
with “fair notice” of the claim and its basis. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per
curiam) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) and quoting Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2)); (b) the amended complaint must include a demand for the relief sought; (c) the
amended complaint must identify what legal injury she claims to have suffered and what persons
are responsible for each legal injury; and (d) the amended complaint must include the case
number referenced in the caption of this Entry. The plaintiff is further notified that “[u]nrelated
claims against different defendants belong in different suits.” George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607
(7th Cir. 2007).
Buckley also seeks appointment of counsel. “When confronted with a request . . . for pro
bono counsel, the district court is to make the following inquiries: (1) has the indigent plaintiff
made a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel or been effectively precluded from doing so; and if
so, (2) given the difficulty of the case, does the plaintiff appear competent to litigate it himself?”
Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654 (7th Cir. 2007). Based on the plaintiff’s submission, this Court
concludes that the plaintiff has made a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel. The second question
then is whether, given the difficulty of the case, the plaintiff seems competent to litigate it
himself. Id. at 653-655.
First, the motion for counsel, Dkt. No. 8, is denied as premature. The Seventh Circuit
has found that “until the defendants respond to the complaint, the plaintiff's need for assistance
of counsel . . . cannot be gauged.” Kadamovas v. Stevens, 706 F.3d 843, 845 (7th Cir. 2013). In
addition, it is this Court’s determination that the plaintiff’s current motion for counsel reflects
that she is competent to litigate this action on her own. She states that she has no difficulty
reading or writing English, she has a G.E.D. and “some college, and she appears to be familiar
with the factual circumstances surrounding her claims.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
GERTIE KATRICE BUCKLEY
2936 W 11th St.
Anderson, IN 46011
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
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