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Miller v. Sedlmeier

United States District Court, D. Arizona

September 22, 2016

Amanda F Miller, Plaintiff,
v.
Adam Sedlmeier, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ERIC J. MARKOVICH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Amanda F. Miller filed this action on February 16, 2016 in the Eastern District of New York (Doc. 1), and this matter was subsequently transferred to the District of Arizona on March 8, 2016. On April 19, 2016, this Court dismissed Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and granted Plaintiff leave to file an Amended Complaint. (Doc. 13).

         Plaintiff filed her Amended Complaint against Defendant Tucson Police Department (“TPD”) on May 16, 2016. (Doc. 15).[1] Plaintiff's Amended Complaint alleges claims for: (1) conspiracy to defraud the government; (2) false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims; (3) conspiracy against rights, deprivation of rights under color of law, and violation of freedom of religion and expression; and (4) neglect for failing to prevent officers from committing offenses. Plaintiff demands $48, 000 in damages for pain and suffering.

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint for failure to comply with the Rule 8 pleading standard. (Doc. 17). Defendants also argue that TPD is a non-jural entity and must be dismissed as a party to this suit. Id. Plaintiff filed a Response (styled as an “Answer”) (Doc. 21), and Defendants filed a Reply (Doc. 23). Plaintiff also filed a Clarification of Answer (Doc. 28), which Defendants move to strike as an improper response to Defendants' Reply (Doc. 31).

         Also pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Permission to Correct Form of Pleading Complaint. (Doc. 26). Defendants filed a Response (Doc. 27), but Plaintiff did not file a Reply.

         Also pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Statement of Facts. (Doc. 36). Defendants filed a Motion to Strike the Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 46).

         Additional pending documents include the following: Plaintiff's Interrogatory (Doc. 32) and Defendants' Motion to Strike (Doc. 33); Plaintiff's Motion for Permission to Serve Supplementary Pleading and Questionnaire/Opposition to Defendant's Motions to Strike (Doc. 34) and Defendants' Response (Doc. 35); Plaintiff's Evidence of Damages (Doc. 39); Plaintiff's Motion to File Damages under Seal (Doc. 44); Plaintiff's Lodged Proposed Hospital Records (Doc. 45); two Judgment in a Civil Action forms filed by Plaintiff (Docs. 47 & 48); and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Notice of Removal (Doc. 50). Plaintiff also filed several documents from a Maricopa County Superior Court case. (Docs. 40, 41, 42, & 43).

         Pursuant to the Rules of Practice of this Court, this matter was referred to the undersigned for a Report and Recommendation. (Doc. 16). For the reasons stated below, the Magistrate Judge recommends that the District Court grant Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. 17) and grant Plaintiff's Motion for Permission to Correct Form of Pleading Complaint (Doc. 26). The Magistrate Judge further recommends that Documents 28, 32, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 47, and 48 be struck from the record, that that Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 36), Plaintiff's Motion for Permission to Serve Supplementary Pleading and Questionnaire/Opposition to Defendant's Motions to Strike (Doc. 34), and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Notice of Removal (Doc. 50) be denied. Finally, the undersigned recommends that Plaintiff's Motion to File Damages under Seal (Doc. 44) be granted.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         Defendants request that the Court dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint for failure to comply with Rule 8 and Rule 10(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and failure to comply with the Court's order requiring Plaintiff to plead her claims with specificity. Defendants also note that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint omits the originally named defendants but adds TPD as a defendant, which Defendants argue is a non-jural entity incapable of being sued.

         i. Rule 8 Pleading Standard

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, ” a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” and “a demand for the relief sought . . .” While Rule 8 does not demand detailed factual allegations, “it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id.

         In order to state a claim on which relief may be granted, a pleading must contain “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. Facial plausibility is present when the plaintiff pleads factual content, as opposed to legal conclusions, that allows a court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id. The Plaintiff must allege enough facts, if taken as true, to suggest that a claim exists. This does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence to support the claim(s). Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1966 (2007). “[F]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ” or the complaint is subject to dismissal. Id. at 1965.

         Here, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint invokes this Court's jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, which grants the district courts jurisdiction over “all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” However, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint fails to comply with the Rule 8 pleading standard because it is not clear what actions, if any, form the basis of Plaintiff's claim for relief against the Defendants. The Court is unable to guess at what transpired between the parties, and it is impossible to attribute any specific acts to any specific defendant. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir.1996) (the complaint must set forth “who is being sued, for what relief, under what theory, with enough detail to guide discovery”). As Defendants note, they have “labored to understand the confusing and incoherent allegations of the Plaintiff's complaint, but have been unable to make any sense of it and do not have an understanding of the claims made by the Plaintiff.” (Doc. 17 at 2).

         Further, while this is a civil action, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint does not actually cite any federal civil law in support of her claims against Defendants, but rather cites to various federal criminal statutes. While Plaintiff appears to allege claims for violation of her rights to freedom from government oppression, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression, she fails to cite any federal law in support of these claims, or any relevant facts to explain the basis of the claims.

         It is clear that Plaintiff feels she was wronged in some way. However, Plaintiff cannot file a civil action as a means to compel the federal court to pursue federal criminal charges against Defendants. Further, the Court will not require Defendants to answer a complaint that fails to comply with the Rule 8 pleading standard and fails to properly apprise Defendants of the nature of the claims against them and the legal theories behind those claims. Accordingly, the undersigned recommends that the District Court grant ...


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