United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART AND DIRECTING
SERVICE IN PART
LAWRENECE L. PIERSOL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Logan Lundahl and Holli Lundahl, appearing pro se, filed a
complaint alleging causes of actions ranging from civil
rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to the Racketeering
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) under 18
U.S.C. § 1601 to state law tort claims. Docket 1. This
case follows in a series of cases filed by Holli Lundahl that
relate to property in Provo, Utah. Holli Lundahl filed
several cases in state and federal courts in Texas, Idaho,
> Wyoming, Nebraska. Plaintiffs contend that "the
courts obstructed plaintiffs rights to seek any future relief
by fraudulently constructing orders that were patently false
to impede Plaintiffs fair and just access to the courts to
try her claims, and by issuing a filing injunction that
basically barred Plaintiffs from filing documents that
attacked the facially fraudulent orders." Docket 1 at 7.
In addition to the instant complaint, plaintiffs filed
motions requesting leave to proceed in forma pauperis,
(Docket 3 and 4), motions to electronically file documents
(Docket 9), a motion to seal certain exhibits (Docket 12),
and a request for judicial notice (Docket 13).
is a two-step screening process with in forma pauperis
litigants. Martin-Trigona v. Stewart, 691 F.2d 856,
857 (8th Cir. 1982); see also Key v. Does, 217
F.Supp.3d 1006, 1006 (E.D. Ark. 2016). First, district courts
must determine whether a plaintiff is financially eligible to
proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
Id. Second, district courts are to determine whether
the complaint should be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. §
court may authorize the commencement of suit without
prepayment of fees when an applicant files an affidavit
stating he is unable to pay the costs of the lawsuit. 28
U.S.C. § 1915. Determining whether an applicant is
sufficiently impoverished to qualify to proceed in forma
pauperis under § 1915 is committed to the court's
discretion. Cross v. Gen. Motors Corp., 721 F.2d
1152, 1157 (8th Cir. 1983). "In forma pauperis status
does not require a litigant to demonstrate absolute
destitution." Lee v. McDonald's Corp., 231
F.3d 456 (8th Cir. 2000).
upon Logan Lundahl's application, he indicates that he is
disabled, qualifies for public assistance, and has very
limited assets. Docket 3. Considering the information in the
financial affidavit, the court finds that Logan Lundahl has
made the requisite financial showing to proceed in forma
upon Holli Lundahl's application, she indicates that she
is disabled, receives public assistance, and has very limited
assets. Docket 4. Considering the information in the
financial affidavit, the court finds that Holli Lundahl has
also made the requisite financial showing to proceed in forma
inquiry does not end there. Under § 1915, the court must
review the claims in the complaint to determine if they are
(1) frivolous or malicious; (2) fail to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or (3) seek monetary relief
against a defendant who has immunity. See 28 U.S.C.
se complaint should be given liberal construction. Stone
v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 915 (8th Cir. 2004).
A pro se complaint, regardless of how inartfully pleaded, is
held to less stringent standards than pleadings drafted by
lawyers and may only be dismissed for failure to state a
claim if it appears "beyond a doubt that the plaintiff
can prove no set of facts in support of [her] claim which
would entitle [her] to relief." Hughes v. Rowe,
449 U.S. 5, 10 n.7 (quoting Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972)). This policy of liberal
construction, however, "does not mandate that a Court
sustain every pro se complaint even if it is incoherent,
rambling, and unreadable." Barsella v. U.S.,
135 F.R.D. 64, 66 (S.D.N.Y.1991). Rule 8 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint
set forth "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that [Plaintiff] is entitled to relief." FRCP
8(a)(2). This Rule also requires that each claim be
"simple, concise and direct." FRCP 9(e)(2). The
purpose of this rule is that a defendant be given fair notice
of what the plaintiffs claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests. Romine v. Acxiom Corp., 296 F.3d 701, 711
(8th Cir. 2002) citing Swierkiewcz v. Sorema
N.A., 534 U.S. 506 (2002).
Official Capacity Defendants
sue Michele M. Christiansen, Travis O'Gorman, Derek
Weimer, Carol Stouffer, Frankie Moore, Carolyn Olsen, and
Neil Lund in their official capacities. Claims against a
government officer in his or her official capacity are claims
against the government entity for which the officer works.
Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 167 (1985).
"Because the real party in interest in an official
capacity suit is the governmental entity and not the named
official, 'the entity's "policy or custom"
must have played a part in the violation of federal
law.'" Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21,
M. Christiansen was a state court judge in Utah. See
Docket 1-23. Travis O'Gorman, Derek Weimer, and Frankie
Moore were state court judges for the State of Nebraska.
See Docket 1-15; 1-19. Carol Stouffer was Clerk of
Court for Sheridan County, Nebraska. See Docket
1-19. Carolyn Olsen was a prosecutor in Pennington County,
South Dakota. See Docket 1-1 at 5. Neil Lund was a
prosecutor in Daggett County, Utah. See Docket 1-1
must establish the prerequisite to governmental liability
under § 1983 against the state of Utah, the state of
Nebraska, Sheridan County Nebraska, Pennington County, South
Dakota, and Daggett County Utah: plaintiffs must allege that
an official custom or policy brought about the alleged
constitutional deprivation. Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S.
21, 25 (1991); Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of
N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978). Plaintiff makes no
such allegation against any of these government entities and
thus fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
There are no facts alleged in the complaint to reasonably
suggest that plaintiffs have a viable claim against any of
these government entities. Consequently, the complaint
against defendants Michele M. Christiansen, Travis
O'Gorman, Derek Weimer, Carol Stouffer, Frankie Moore,
Carolyn Olsen, and Neil Lund will be dismissed under
l9l5(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 28 U.S.C. § l9l5A(b)(1).
sixth claimed cause of action requests "prospective
declaratory and injunctive relief against the judicial and
prosecutorial defendants." Docket 1-1 at 5. There is no
adequate pleading for any such relief.