Lueck, Allen v. LaCrosse County et al
ORDER that plaintiff Allen L. Lueck's complaint is DISMISSED for failure to comply with the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. He may have until March 27, 2018, to submit an amended complaint that fixes the problems discussed above. Signed by District Judge James D. Peterson on 3/6/2018. (jef),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
ALLEN L. LUECK,
OPINION & ORDER
LA CROSSE COUNTY, KEITH BACK, DENNIS
OSGOOD, TIM HAMMES, STEVE O’MALLEY,
ROBERT TAUNT, DAVIN LANGE, TIM GRUENKE,
and TARA JOHNSON,
Allen L. Lueck, appearing pro se, has filed this lawsuit in which he states that various
defendants, including La Crosse County, county highway officials, and the district attorney,
retaliated against him and wrongfully terminated him. Lueck has paid the full filing fee for this
action, and therefore the complaint does not have to be screened under the in forma pauperis
statue, 28 U.S.C. § 1915. But this court has the inherent authority to screen the case on its
own. See Rowe v. Shake, 196 F.3d 778, 783 (7th Cir. 1999) (“district courts have the power to
screen complaints filed by all litigants, prisoners and non-prisoners alike, regardless of fee
status.”). The court ordered that summons not be issued to Lueck until I reviewed the
In reviewing the complaint, I must construe Lueck’s pro se pleading generously.
See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972). After doing so, I conclude that the complaint
does not contain enough detail about Lueck’s claims for defendants to be able to answer it.
The sole factual allegation in the complaint is that Lueck “was intentionally retaliated against
and subsequently wrongfully terminated.” Dkt. 1, at 6. He filed a supplement that appears to
be a form complaint pre-filling some of the information a plaintiff would usually need to file a
lawsuit, but containing no case-specific information about what any of the defendants actually
did to harm him.
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.” Under Rule 8(d),
“each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.” The primary purpose of these rules is fair
notice. A complaint “must be presented with intelligibility sufficient for a court or opposing
party to understand whether a valid claim is alleged and if so what it is.” Vicom, Inc. v. Harbridge
Merchant Serv’s, Inc., 20 F.3d 771, 775 (7th Cir. 1994).
Lueck’s allegations do not meet this standard. He says he was fired and retaliated
against, but he does not say for whom he worked, who fired him, or how any of the defendants
actually retaliated against him. None of the defendants would be able to admit or deny any of
the allegations because Lueck does not explain what each defendant did to harm him. He
cannot assume that defendants know what he is talking about. He needs to put a brief summary
of his allegations in his complaint.
Because Lueck’s complaint does not comply with Rule 8, I will dismiss it and give him
a chance to file an amended complaint that fixes these problems. He should draft his amended
complaint as if he were telling a story to people who know nothing about his situation. In
particular, he should explain the basic background facts about his employment and
termination, and explain how each of the defendants violated his rights. It is not enough to use
conclusory phrases like “retaliation.” He needs to say what defendants did and why he believes
each defendant’s actions were improper.
I will give Lueck a short time to submit an amended complaint that fixes the problems
discussed above. If he does not submit an amended complaint by the deadline set below, I will
dismiss the case.
IT IS ORDERED that plaintiff Allen L. Lueck’s complaint is DISMISSED for failure to
comply with the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. He may have until March 27, 2018, to
submit an amended complaint that fixes the problems discussed above.
Entered March 6, 2018.
BY THE COURT:
JAMES D. PETERSON
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