Hasenbank v. State of Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER that the Plaintiff must file a third amended complaint within 30 days. The Plaintiff is ordered not to file any document aside from the one contemplated above without first obtaining leave of the court. The clerk of the court i s directed to set the following pro se case management deadline: June 17, 2015: check for amended complaint. The clerk of the court is directed to send to plaintiff a blank civil complaint form. Ordered by Judge John M. Gerrard. (Copy mailed to pro se party as directed) (JSF)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
STATE OF NEBRASKA, CPS,
RYAN MARTIN, and DALE WEIS,
This matter is before the court for case management. For the reasons discussed
below, the court will require Plaintiff Heather Hasenbank (“Hasenbank”) to file a third
Hasenbank filed a complaint (Filing No. 4) on March 11, 2015, naming the
State of Nebraska and “CPS” as the defendants. She generally alleged that CPS
removed her children from her home without a court order. (Id. at CM/ECF pp. 2-3.)
For relief, Hasenbank asked that she be allowed to sue the defendants. (Id. at
CM/ECF p. 5.)
Since filing her complaint, Hasenbank filed several supplements and amended
complaints. On March 12, 2015, she filed a civil complaint form in which she, once
again, named the State of Nebraska and CPS as the defendants and alleged that CPS
removed her children from her home without a court order. (Filing No. 5.) For relief,
she asked for $4.9 million. (Id. at CM/ECF p. 4.)
On March 27, 2015, Hasenbank filed a supplement alleging CPS violated her
Fourth Amendment rights when officials removed her children without a court order
and without exigent circumstances. (Filing No. 9.) She filed a second supplement on
March 27, 2015, alleging CPS removed her children “because they thought
[Hasenbank and her family] were going to move.” (Filing No. 10.)
Finally, on May 11, 2015, Hasenbank filed an 18-page amended complaint.
(Filing No. 11.) She named the State of Nebraska, CPS, Ryan Martin, and Dale Weis
as the defendants. (Id. at CM/ECF p. 1.) All but the first page of the document
appears to be excerpts from briefs Hasenbank filed in state appellate court
proceedings, though it is clear she intended for the excerpts to serve as a part of her
amended complaint. (See id. at CM/ECF pp. 2-18.) She argued that the state juvenile
court erred when it adjudicated her minor children pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43247(3)(a),1 that the State of Nebraska did not meet its burden of proof in the
adjudication proceedings, and that the juvenile court erred in overruling objections to
the testimony of a witness at trial. (Id. at CM/ECF pp. 2-18.) For relief, Hasenbank
This section provides, in relevant part, that the juvenile court in each county
shall have jurisdiction of:
(3) Any juvenile (a) who is homeless or destitute, or without proper
support through no fault of his or her parent, guardian, or custodian; who
is abandoned by his or her parent, guardian, or custodian; who lacks
proper parental care by reason of the fault or habits of his or her parent,
guardian, or custodian; whose parent, guardian, or custodian neglects or
refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, education, or other
care necessary for the health, morals, or well-being of such juvenile;
whose parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to provide or neglects or
refuses to provide special care made necessary by the mental condition
of the juvenile; or who is in a situation or engages in an occupation,
including prostitution, dangerous to life or limb or injurious to the health
or morals of such juvenile(.)
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a).
asked for the court to reverse the decision of the juvenile court.2 (Id. at CM/ECF p.
Hasenbank’s filing of supplements and amended complaints frustrates the
court’s ability to effectively manage and progress this case. In particular, it is unclear
whether Hasenbank intended for her latest-filed amended complaint (Filing No. 11)
to replace her previous pleadings. Hasenbank’s latest-filed amended complaint does
not set forth any constitutional claims, and it is unclear whether Hasenbank intended
to abandon the Fourth Amendment claims she raised in previous complaints and
supplements. The court will not undertake the task of sorting through Hasenbank’s
complaints and supplements in order to piece together Hasenbank’s cause of action.
While the court may consider amended pleadings as supplemental to an original
pleading in pro se cases (see NECivR 15.1(b)), the court will no longer permit the
piecemeal filing of supplements in this case.
In order to ensure a just and fair resolution of this case, Hasenbank is directed
to file a third amended complaint that does the following:
This court lacks jurisdiction over any challenge to the juvenile court’s
judgments in Hasenbank’s state court case. Federal district courts are courts of
original jurisdiction and have no authority to review final judgments of a state court.
See Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 416 (1923) (the jurisdiction of the
federal district courts “is strictly original”); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482 (1983) (“a United States District Court has no authority
to review final judgments of a state court in judicial proceedings.”).
(1) identifies each defendant and clearly explains what each defendant did to
Hasenbank, when the defendant did it, how the defendant’s actions harmed her,
and what specific legal right she believes the defendant violated;
(2) explains whether there are proceedings currently pending in Nebraska’s
state courts concerning the removal of Hasenbank’s children from her home;
(3) explains what relief Hasenbank seeks in this matter.
The third amended complaint must not incorporate any part of the original
complaint, the amended complaints, or the supplements. The third amended
complaint will supersede Hasenbank’s prior pleadings in this matter. Hasenbank is
encouraged to use the court-approved form to draft her third amended complaint,
which the clerk of the court will provide to her. Hasenbank must clearly designate on
the face of the document that it is the “Third Amended Complaint” in this case.
Plaintiff is ordered not to file any other document, aside from the one
contemplated above without first obtaining leave of the court.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
Hasenbank must file a third amended complaint within 30 days. Failure
to file a third amended complaint in compliance with this Memorandum and Order
will result in the court dismissing this action without prejudice and without further
notice for failure to prosecute it.
Hasenbank is ordered not to file any document aside from the one
contemplated above without first obtaining leave of the court.
The clerk of the court is directed to set the following pro se case
management deadline: June 17, 2015: check for amended complaint.
The clerk of the court is directed to send to plaintiff a blank civil
DATED this 18th day of May, 2015.
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.
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