Russell v. Glaser et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - Plaintiff shall have until 30 days from the date of this Memorandum and Order to file an amended complaint that clearly states a claim upon which relief may be granted against Defendants in accordance with this Memorandum and Order. If Plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint, her claims against Defendants will be dismissed without further notice. The clerk's office is directed to send to Plaintiff a copy of the civil complaint form. Plaintiff shall keep the court informed of her current address at all times while this case is pending. Failure to do so may result in dismissal without further notice. Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel (Filing No. 3 ) is denied. ( Pro Se Case Management Deadline set for 6/23/2014:Check for amended complaint on June 23, 2014). Ordered by Judge John M. Gerrard. (Copy mailed to pro se party with complaint form)(MKR)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
MARY JO RUSSELL,
RON GLASER, et al.,
Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this matter on January 28, 2014. (Filing No.
1.) Plaintiff has been given leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Filing No. 7.) The
court now conducts an initial review of the Complaint to determine whether summary
dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
Plaintiff’s list of named defendants is very difficult to decipher. (See Filing
No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 1.) As best as the court can tell, she brings this lawsuit against
Ron Glaser, the Douglas County Housing Authority, the Human Rights and Relations
Department, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and
the Omaha Health Department.
Plaintiff’s allegations are also very difficult to decipher. As best as the court
can tell, Plaintiff alleges that she faced poor living conditions at The Reserve at the
Knolls in Omaha, Nebraska. She alleges, in relevant part:
Gross violation of my civil rights-civil liberties in matter of all
parties involved through the act of concealment of the truth in official
documented letters - fraud - fraudulent[.]
Orion Property gross violation of my civil rights of no equal
opportunity through Act of knowing fully of putting my Health and life
at great risk because of my disability and all other agencies involved
lies-concealment of truth in documented official documents - fraud to
hide the truth gross violation of my civil right of no equal opportunity[.]
I have suffered much immeasurable pain and suffering physically
and emotionally with still my health and life in questioned Orion
property knew, concealed, willfully put in unit with a massive
infestation of parasite, parasitic organisms with other bad biting insects
that would come to eat eggs only to their demise become host to the
hatched egg and die.
Disaster, devastation, life in grave danger still don’t know about
my health in the future - could die[.] This happened at “The Reserve at
the Knolls” . . .
(Id. at CM/ECF p. 3.)
Plaintiff does not explain who Defendant Ron Glaser is or how he is
responsible for her living conditions, though it appears he may be the property
manager at The Reserve at the Knolls. (See id. at CM/ECF p. 1.) Plaintiff also does
not explain how the other named Defendants are responsible for her living conditions
or what specific legal rights Plaintiff believes Defendants violated.
As relief, Plaintiff seeks “immeasurable damages” for her pain, suffering, and
loss of property. (Id. at CM/ECF p. 5.)
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)(2). The court
must dismiss a complaint or any portion thereof 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. §
A pro se plaintiff must set forth enough factual allegations to “nudge their
claims across the line from conceivable to plausible,” or “their complaint must be
dismissed” for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 569-70 (2007); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct.
1937, 1950 (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.”). Regardless of whether a plaintiff is represented
or is appearing pro se, the plaintiff’s complaint must allege specific facts sufficient
to state a claim. See Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985).
However, a pro se plaintiff’s allegations must be construed liberally. Burke v. North
Dakota Dep’t of Corr. & Rehab., 294 F.3d 1043, 1043-44 (8th Cir. 2002) (citations
DISCUSSION OF CLAIMS
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).
Here, Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to meet this minimal pleading standard.
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 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. 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.
MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL
Plaintiff has filed a motion seeking the appointment of counsel. (Filing No. 3.)
The court cannot routinely appoint counsel in civil cases. In Davis v. Scott, 94 F.3d
444, 447 (8th Cir. 1996), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals explained that
“[i]ndigent civil litigants do not have a constitutional or statutory right to appointed
counsel. . . . The trial court has broad discretion to decide whether both the plaintiff
and the court will benefit from the appointment of counsel . . . .” Id. (quotation and
citation omitted). No such benefit is apparent here. Thus, the request for the
appointment of counsel is denied without prejudice to reassertion.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
Plaintiff shall have until 30 days from the date of this Memorandum and
Order to file an amended complaint that clearly states a claim upon which relief may
be granted against Defendants in accordance with this Memorandum and Order. If
Plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint, her claims against Defendants will be
dismissed without further notice.
The clerk’s office is directed to send to Plaintiff a copy of the civil
The clerk’s office is directed to set a pro se case management deadline
in this case using the following text: Check for amended complaint on June 23, 2014.
Plaintiff shall keep the court informed of her current address at all times
while this case is pending. Failure to do so may result in dismissal without further
Plaintiff’s Motion to Appoint Counsel (Filing No. 3) is denied.
DATED this 22nd day of May, 2014.
BY THE COURT:
s/ John M. Gerrard
United States District Judge
*This opinion may contain hyperlinks to other documents or Web sites. The U.S. District Court for the District
of Nebraska does not endorse, recommend, approve, or guarantee any third parties or the services or products they
provide on their Web sites. Likewise, the court has no agreements with any of these third parties or their Web sites. The
court accepts no responsibility for the availability or functionality of any hyperlink. Thus, the fact that a hyperlink ceases
to work or directs the user to some other site does not affect the opinion of the court.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?