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Holl v. Otis R. Bowen Center for Human Services, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

February 14, 2019




         Plaintiff Ryan Holl, who is representing himself in this matter, filed this action after he was psychologically evaluated and then detained at the Otis R. Bowen Center for Human Services, Inc. (“Bowen Center”), in Plymouth, Indiana. In his initial complaint, he alleged that the Bowen Center violated his rights under the federal constitution, Indiana state constitution, Indiana state law, and international human rights laws. The Bowen Center moved to dismiss, and I dismissed Holl's claims, but gave him an opportunity to amend his complaint.

         Holl filed an amended complaint [DE 27] in which he added two defendants -Gina Haspial and Randolph Alles. However, he soon thereafter requested to withdraw his claims against Haspial and Alles, and I dismissed those claims without prejudice against those defendants. [DE 33 at 1.] Therefore, what remains in this lawsuit are the claims in the amended complaint against the Bowen Center.

         This matter is before me on the Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, filed by Defendant, the Bowen Center. [DE 29.] The Bowen Center once again moves to dismiss Holl's amended complaint for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the reasons set forth below, I will grant the Bowen Center's motion to dismiss Holl's amended complaint.


         Holl's amended complaint is brief (only three pages). It alleges as follows: during his stay at the Bowen Center, from September 1 - September 8, 2017, Holl was assaulted by three staff members, and he was denied access to the banking system, legal system, his business data, his legal counsel, and his doctors. [DE 27 at 1.] Holl states claims for fraud, libel, slander, destruction of legal property, withholding access to the court system, violating contracts, and violating HIPPA. [Id. at 1-2.]

         I note that Holl's initial complaint contained much more detail about the events. These are set forth in my opinion and order dated July 12, 2018[1] (and need not be repeated here), in which I granted the Bowen Center's motion to dismiss, but afforded Holl a chance to amend his complaint. [Op. at 1-5.] Additionally, I have reviewed the sealed documents Holl submitted at docket entry 39.


         The Bowen Center moves to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to both Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) provides for a dismissal of an action for “lack of subject matter jurisdiction.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). On a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the plaintiff bears the burden of persuading the court that subject-matter jurisdiction exists. Kontos v. U.S. Dep't of Labor, 826 F.2d 573, 576 (7th Cir. 1987). When a party moves for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(1) challenging the factual basis for jurisdiction, the nonmoving party must support its allegations with competent proof of jurisdictional facts. Id.

         In reviewing a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), I “‘must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint' that are not legal conclusions.” Toulon v. Continental Casualty Co., 877 F.3d 725, 734 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). The complaint must be construed in the light most favorable to Holl, and all possible inferences must be drawn in his favor. Fields v. Wharrie, 672 F.3d 505, 510 (7th Cir. 2012). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must allege ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Boucher v. Fin. Sys. of Green Bay, Inc., 880 F.3d 362, 365-66 (7th Cir. 2018) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “Plausibility” does not require “probability, ” but “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully” is required to survive a challenge under Rule 12(b)(6). Id.

         “A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While I should give the pleadings of a pro se plaintiff a liberal construction, a pro se plaintiff is nevertheless bound to comply with the rules governing the filing of a claim and to comply with court rules. Anderson v. Hardman, 241 F.3d 544, 545 (7th Cir. 2001); Members v. Paige, 140 F.3d 699, 702 (7th Cir. 1998) (“[R]ules apply to uncounseled litigants and must be enforced.”).

         Speaking of following the rules, I have warned Holl in a separate lawsuit that was in front of me against three other defendants but appearing to bring similar claims, Holl v. Indiana, et al., No. 3:18-cv-1 (N.D. Ind. filed Jan. 3, 2018), that his abusive and offensive language in his filings have come “dangerously close to constituting an abuse of the judicial process.” [Case No. 3:18-cv-1 DE 42 at 5-6 (citing DE 20, 21, 22, 25, 28, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41).] Yet the amended complaint in this case is entitled “Holl Amended Complaint - SUMMARY OF EVENTS for JUDGE PHIL.” [DE 27 at 1] While I appreciate the casual nature of Mr. Holl's filings, responding to my earlier dismissal order with a ”WTF” - as Holl has done in his most recent filing, see DE 35 at 2 - isn't particularly illuminating and, in all events, flies in the face of my earlier admonitions to him.

         As noted earlier, Holl's amended complaint is very brief. “[W]hen a plaintiff files an amended complaint, the new complaint supersedes all previous complaints and controls the case from that point forward . . . a plaintiff's new complaint wipes away prior pleadings.” Massey v. Helman, 196 F.3d 727, 735 (7th Cir. 1999). Thus, the first complaint is rendered void. Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass'n of Am., 354 F.3d 632, 638 n.1 (7th Cir. 2004). Nevertheless, I have done my best to interpret, as liberally as possible, what claims Holl appears to be asserting against the Bowen Center. Even applying this most liberal construction, the amended complaint fails to fix the deficiencies of the initial complaint, and fails to state a claim.

         The amended complaint sets forth a list of alleged wrongdoings (“fraud, libel, slander, destruction of legal property, withholding access to the court system, violating contracts, ” and violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPPA”), without supporting any such claims with facts. [DE 27 at 1.] This violates Rule 8 which requires that a complaint provides “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” so the defendant is given “fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” AGM v. Mental Health Center, No. 2:16-cv-25, 2016 WL ...

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