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Sasse v. Wetzel

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

October 18, 2019

CHAD ALLEN SASSE, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN WETZEL, et al., Defendants.

          District Judge Kim R. Gibson

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          Lisa Pupo Lenihan United States Magistrate Judge

         Upon review of the Complaint dated August 8, 2019, the Court finds that it is deficient because it does not comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[1] As such, it is necessary for Plaintiff to file an amended complaint that complies with those Rules and with the following instructions.

         Instructions for Filing an Amended Complaint

         A. Caption and Heading

         The caption should include the name of the court, the parties, their capacities (i.e., whether they are being sued in their individual or representative (official) capacity), and the title of the pleading (i.e., Amended Complaint). To do this, Plaintiff must place his full name at the top left of the amended complaint and also add the names of each defendant. Plaintiff must name as defendants only those persons who are responsible for the alleged constitutional violation(s).[2]

         B. Parties

         As the person initiating the lawsuit, Plaintiff must identify himself as such. Also, for each defendant named in the amended complaint, Plaintiff should list their current address and description of their employment. In addition, Plaintiff should explain briefly how or in what capacity each defendant acted under authority given to them by state or local government.

         C. Jurisdiction

         Because federal court is a court of limited jurisdiction, Plaintiff must inform the Court why the case should be heard in federal court rather than state court or some other forum. If Plaintiff's action is generally one for a violation of civil rights, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 will normally be the basis for the claim. In order for Plaintiff's action to be heard in federal court under Section 1983, he must be able to show that the defendant(s), at the time of the claims alleged in the amended complaint, were acting under the authority or color of state law.

         D. Statement of Claim

         This is the time to present the facts of the case: what happened, where it happened, when it happened, how it happened and who was involved. In this section, Plaintiff should write a summary of the facts relevant to this lawsuit. Additionally, any document referred to in this section must be cited as an exhibit and attached at the end of the amended complaint.

         In this section, Plaintiff must provide specific details of precisely how his civil rights were allegedly violated. Plaintiff should note that, in civil rights cases, more than conclusory and vague allegations are required to state a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff should clearly describe how each named defendant is involved in the alleged constitutional violation(s). This description should include references to relevant dates, times, and locations. It should explain to the Court what happened by specifically describing each defendant's behavior or action and how that behavior or action - or lack of action - resulted in the alleged violations. Plaintiff should not include legal argument in his amended complaint. Citations to case law and other statutes are not appropriate in the complaint, but rather may be included in a response to a dispositive motion or at the time of trial. However, Plaintiff should be specific about the particulars of the event, each defendant's misconduct, and how such misconduct resulted in a violation or denial of the civil right at issue.

         Where the amended complaint includes more than one incident, Plaintiff should clearly distinguish between them by preparing a separate description - usually a paragraph - for each incident. Each incident should be identified as a separate count, and each count must include appropriate facts and evidence in support of the claims made in the count. Each incident must be clearly and specifically described; it should include the relevant time, date, and location. Each incident description also should clearly identify the relevant defendant and what that defendant's role was ...


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