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Triemert v. Washington County

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

August 16, 2013



JANIE S. MAYERON, Magistrate Judge.

The above matter came on before the undersigned upon plaintiff's Motion for Emergency Injunctive Relief [Docket No. 4]. Plaintiff David Triemert appeared pro se. Nigel H. Mendez, Esq. appeared on behalf of Washington County and the Washington County defendants. Ryan M. Zipf, Esq. appeared on behalf of defendant Tom McCarthy.[1]

This matter has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation by the District Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), (B) and Local Rule 72.1(c).


A. Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff David B. Triemert, who is pro se, sued Washington County, Minnesota; Sheriff William Hutton; Chief Deputy Sheriff Dan Starry; Commander Cheri Dexter; Sheriff's Deputy Nick Sullivan (collectively, the "Washington County defendants"); and Tom McCarthy, Mayor of Lake St. Croix Beach, following a traffic stop on May 29, 2013, at which time Triemert could not produce a valid driver's license, vehicle registration or proof of insurance. Complaint, ¶¶24-35. At this traffic stop, Triemert told defendant Deputy Sullivan that he was not "driving" the vehicle and handed Deputy Sullivan a "Private Property Notice to Law Enforcement Officers, " which appears to be a notice Triemert created stating that he had removed his motor vehicle from registration and jurisdiction of "this state." Complaint, Ex. A. Triemert also handed Deputy Sullivan a Notice to the State of Minnesota Removing a Motor Vehicle from Jurisdiction of this State. Id., Ex. B. This appears to be another notice Triemert drafted informing the Minnesota Department of Public Safety that he was "removing" his vehicle from registration by "the State" and enclosing his Minnesota license plates. Id . In lieu of displaying state-issued license plates on his car, Triemert attached "message plates" that state "Private Property-Not a Motor Vehicle under the jurisdiction of Minn. Stat. 168/169 or U.S. Code 18-31, or This State.' WashingtonCountyCorruption.Com."[2] Complaint, ¶50. Triemert refused to answer Deputy Sullivan's questions and refused to cooperate with tests Deputy Sullivan attempted to administer.[3] Deputy Sullivan arrested Triemert for obstructing legal process, had Triemert's vehicle towed, and transported Triemert to jail. Id., ¶¶36, 42, 43. Triemert was booked and alleged that he spent the next twenty-four hours "with a group of the most hardened criminals in the county jail, " awaiting a hearing. Id., ¶68.

Triemert alleged that he was arrested and detained in retaliation for "linking" Sheriff Hutton to public corruption and for publicly opposing the addition of a police substation to the Lake St. Croix Beach City Hall. Id., ¶¶54-59. Triemert had attended a Lake St. Croix Beach City Council meeting on May 20, 2013, and parked his vehicle in front of City Hall. Id., ¶56. Triemert alleged that Mayor McCarthy asked him to park around the corner and that Mayor McCarthy was "not fond" of Triemert's "message" plates. ¶ Id., ¶¶56, 59.

Triemert claimed that Mayor McCarthy set him up for the illegal traffic stop by contacting either Deputy Sullivan or the Washington County Sheriff's Department to notify them that Triemert was in the area with his "message" plates. Id., ¶60. Triemert also claimed that Deputy Sullivan and another deputy, Deputy Volk, were "lying in wait" to pull him over to "satisfy certain individuals, including McCarthy."[4] Id., ¶61.

Triemert spent the next day in jail and on the third day, May 31, 2013, he was notified that he would appear before Judge John Hoffman. Id., ¶76. Triemert had previously filed eight criminal charges against Judge Hoffman. Id . Judge Hoffman released Triemert on his own recognizance. Id., ¶77.

Based on the stop and arrest, Triemert alleged the following causes of action: (1) his Fourteenth Amendment right to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" was violated; (2) he was subjected to unreasonable seizure and illegal arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (3) he was falsely imprisoned by Deputies Sullivan and Volk[5];

(4) defendants are liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress; (5) Deputies Sullivan and Volk committed aggravated assault on him; (6) defendants violated his Fifth Amendment rights; (7) defendants engaged in a civil conspiracy or colluded to deprive him of his "rights property and personal freedom while aimed at destroying [him] financially, and ruining his family relationships...." Id., ¶¶97-128. As relief, Triemert sought a declaratory judgment regarding defendants' alleged constitutional violations, compensatory and punitive damages, and an injunction against Washington County sheriff's deputies and "law enforcement agencies within this Court's jurisdiction" to cease interfering with Triemert's ability to drive. Id., Request for Relief, ¶¶a-i.

The gist of Triemert's legal theory is that the definition of "driving" in the United States Transportation Code ("USTC")[6] and all state transportation codes derived from the USTC, "refers to persons who are licensed by occupation and operating a motor vehicle in commerce engaged in the commercial purpose of hauling freight/cargo or passengers or both." Id., ¶25. When he was arrested on May 29, 2013, Triemert was not "driving" or operating a "motor vehicle" or "engaged in any activity or "engaged in any commercial activity or purpose in the hauling of freight or passengers, according to this definition. Id., ¶26. Additionally, the Code defines "motor vehicle" as a contrivance used for commercial purposes. Id., Ex. A (Private Property Rights Notice referencing United States Code "18/31").[7] Triemert claimed he was "traveling" (not driving) in a "private automobile" (not a motor vehicle) when he was unlawfully stopped and arrested.

B. Triemert's Motion for Emergency Injunctive Relief

After filing his lawsuit, Triemert moved for emergency injunctive relief. [Docket No. 4]. Triemert claimed that he was living in fear for his safety and has been unable to travel displaying his "message" plates without risking being "unlawfully pulled over, assaulted, arrested, kidnapped and jailed or experiencing great bodily harm or death." Pl. Mem., p. 3. Triemert stated that he has been unable to go to work to support his family because he is "living in fear" that he will be pulled over again and charged. Text of Plaintiff's Oral Argument on Emergency Motion for Injunctive Relief ("Pl. Text Mem."), p. 3 [Docket No. 23].[8] Triemert sought an order "telling the Washington County Sheriff's ...

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