Vue, Kong v. Echo Bridge
ORDER denying plaintiff Khong Pheng Vue's request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismissing his complaint without prejudice for violation of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8. Proposed Amended Complaint due 5/16/2013. Signed by District Judge Barbara B. Crabb on 4/29/2013. (jef),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - KONG PHENG VUE,
OPINION AND ORDER
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - In this proposed civil action, plaintiff Kong Pheng Vue, who is acting pro se, alleges
that employees of defendant Echo Bridge threatened him physically and then fired him.
Dkt. #7. Plaintiff has paid his initial partial filing fee and the complaint is ready for
In addressing any pro se litigant's complaint, the court must construe the
complaint liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972). However, if the action
is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief, the case must be
dismissed promptly pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2). After reviewing the complaint, I
conclude that it must dismissed without prejudice under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 for plaintiff’s
failure to allege sufficient facts showing that he is entitled to relief.
The factual allegations in the complaint are sparse. Plaintiff alleges that on April 1,
2013, Sheryl Bron hired him to work at Echo Bridge. The next day, Billy, one of the
supervisors at Echo Bridge, threatened plaintiff physically. Plaintiff was doing his job and
Billy “[came] over and [said] beat down.” Another employee jumped into their conversation
and offered to “beat [plaintiff] down for a raise.” Then, the second supervisor said “We don’t
need you.” Plaintiff quickly ran out of Echo Bridge. The next day, he called Sheryl Bron to
tell her what had happened. She ignored his explanation and terminated him for leaving
work early. In his request for relief, plaintiff says he wants to “commence a money judgment
for wages lost and/or losing a perfect job due to differences in race, color, religion.”
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires a complaint to include a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,” which means that
the complaint must include enough allegations of fact to make a claim for relief “plausible”
on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009) (citation omitted). To state a
“plausible” claim, the complaint must include enough detail about what each defendant did
to show a real possibility (and not just a guess) that plaintiff might be able to prove each
element of his claims after he has an opportunity to fully investigate them. Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Plaintiff need not plead “specific facts,” but
he must provide enough detail to “present a story that holds together.”
Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010). In determining whether the details in
the complaint satisfy this standard, a district court should consider only factual allegations
and disregard “mere conclusory statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A complaint consisting
of nothing more than “naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement” must be
dismissed for failing to meet the requirements of Rule 8. Id.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination
because of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). In
plaintiff’s request for relief, he asks for damages because he lost the job “due to differences
in race, color, religion.”
However, this vague and conclusory statement is wholly
disconnected from the other facts and insufficient to “present a story that holds together.”
Swanson, 614 F.3d at 404. Plaintiff does not allege that Billy, the new employee, the second
supervisor or Bron were motivated by racial or religious hostility. Nothing in the complaint
so much as hints at their motivation for harassing plaintiff. Race, color and religion are
never mentioned in the facts section of the complaint. Moreover, it is not clear whether
plaintiff wants to bring a claim that he was discriminated against on the basis of his race, his
color or his religion or all three characteristics.
Because plaintiff’s allegations are insufficient to state a plausible claim for relief under
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8, the complaint must be dismissed without prejudice. Plaintiff is free to file
an amended complaint that fixes this problem. His amended complaint should contain short
and plain statements of fact made in numbered paragraphs. These factual statements should
explain what happened to plaintiff to make him believe his rights were violated, when it
happened and who did it. In other words, plaintiff should write his complaint as if he is
telling a story to someone who knows nothing about his situation. He should take care to
identify the actions taken by each individual that he believes violated his rights and explain
whether he believes their actions were motivated by racial or religious discrimination.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff Kong Pheng Vue’s request for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis in this action is DENIED and his complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE for violation of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8. Plaintiff may have until May 16, 2013, to
submit a proposed amended complaint. If plaintiff fails to respond by that date, then the
clerk of court is directed to close this case for plaintiff’s failure to prosecute it. If plaintiff
submits a revised complaint by that date, I will take that complaint under advisement for
screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Entered this 29th day of April, 2013.
BY THE COURT:
BARBARA B. CRABB
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