Stephenson Johnson v. Milwaukee County Sheriffs et al
ORDER signed by Judge J.P. Stadtmueller on 9/13/2017. By 9/25/2017, Plaintiff to file a letter stating whether she wishes to proceed in this matter against the sheriff's deputies and police officers; failure to do so will result in dismissal of this action without further notice. (cc: all counsel, via mail to Grace C. Stephenson Johnson)(jm) Modified on 9/13/2017 (kah).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
GRACE C. STEPHENSON
Case No. 17-CV-942-JPS
MILWAUKEE COUNTY SHERIFFS
and MILWAUKEE POLICE
Plaintiff, Grace C. Stephenson Johnson, filed this action on July 11,
2017 against Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Sheriffs,
and Milwaukee County Police. (Docket #1). According to Plaintiff, the
hospital did not allow her to visit her daughter on July 4, 2017. She was then
arrested by sheriff’s deputies, searched, and detained for several hours.
Thereafter, she was taken to the police station and touched inappropriately
while being searched by Milwaukee police officers.
Magistrate Judge David E. Jones, to whom the case was formerly
assigned, screened Plaintiff’s complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and
allowed her to proceed on her claims against the individual sheriff’s
deputies and police officers. (Docket #4). However, Magistrate Jones
dismissed Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin as a defendant, finding that the
hospital was not a state actor as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and that federal
jurisdiction over the hospital was otherwise lacking. Magistrate Jones
further determined that supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s state-law
claim against Children’s Hospital was not warranted. He explained that she
could, if she chose, file an amended complaint attempting to plead facts
supporting the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction.
Plaintiff did indeed file an amended complaint on July 25, 2017.
(Docket #7). The amended complaint named four defendants: “Children’s
Hospital of Wisconsin,” “Security Staff,” “Nursing Staff,” and “Social
Workers.” Id. The allegations contained in the amended complaint only
slightly expanded upon the allegations contained in the original complaint.
See (Docket #9 at 2). Critically, the amended complaint did not cure the fatal
defect contained in her original complaint; namely, that Children’s Hospital
(and its security staff, nurses, and social workers) is not a state actor and
cannot be sued under Section 1983. Id. Magistrate Jones concluded that the
allegations in the amended complaint “do not give rise to a federal claim
against the defendants named in her amended complaint.” Id. Furthermore,
the amended allegations did not alter the magistrate’s previous
determination that supplemental jurisdiction is not warranted over any
claims implicating the hospital. Id. Thus, Magistrate Jones determined that
the most equitable course of action would be to strike the amended
complaint and reinstate her original complaint, as only the original
complaint pleaded viable causes of action—that is, her claims against the
individual sheriff’s deputies and police officers involved in the July 4
incident. Id. at 3.
Despite the gratuity afforded her by Magistrate Jones, Plaintiff has
again attempted to file an amended complaint which names only
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and its staff as defendants. (Docket #10).1
After she filed this second attempt at an amended complaint, Defendants
were served with the original complaint. (Docket #11). Counsel entered on their
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For the reasons previously given by Judge Jones, there are no viable claims
to be made against those parties in this Court. In particular, while Plaintiff
emphasizes in this latest amended complaint that hospital staff treated her
unprofessionally, such a claim (which could only arise under state law) has
no factual relationship to the claims against the sheriff’s deputies and police
officers. As a result, the Court cannot exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over the claim. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).
In light of her pro se status, the Court will not dismiss her case out of
hand. Instead, she will be given one more chance to proceed, but first she
must clarify her intentions. If Plaintiff wants to proceed on claims against
the hospital and its staff, she must assert those claims in state court. If, on
the other hand, she wishes to continue prosecuting this action against the
sheriff’s deputies and police officers, she may do so. To clarify her goals,
the Court will direct Plaintiff to file a letter no later than September 25, 2017
that states whether she wants to proceed in this matter against the sheriff’s
deputies and police officers. If she does, the case will continue and the
Court will issue a scheduling order. If she states that she wants to proceed
against the hospital or its staff, or if she does not file the required letter, the
case will be dismissed.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff shall file a letter no later than
September 25, 2017 that states whether she wants to proceed in this matter
against the sheriff’s deputies and police officers. Failure to file this letter
will result in dismissal of this action without further notice. Civ. L. R. 41(c).
behalf and refused to consent to Judge Jones’ jurisdiction, (Docket #13), which led
to the case being reassigned to this branch of the Court.
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Dated at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this 13th day of September, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
J. P. Stadtmueller
U.S. District Judge
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