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Sorenson v. Minnesota Department of Human Services

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 4, 2014

Erich Michael Sorenson, Petitioner,
v.
Minnesota Department of Human Services, et al, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

LEO I. BRISBOIS, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to a general assignment, made in accordance with the provisions of Title 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(A), and upon Plaintiff's Motions for Partial Default Judgment. [Docket Nos. 51, 57]. For reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Default Judgment, [Docket Nos. 51, 57], be DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

A brief background of this case was outlined in this Court's prior Order, [Docket No. 40], and need not be repeated here. For purposes of this Order, it should suffice to say that Eric Michael Sorenson ("Plaintiff"), a patient in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program ("MSOP") proceeding pro se, initiated this lawsuit on or about November 11, 2013, naming as Defendants several State of Minnesota agencies and employees (the "State Defendants"), as well as, two fellow MSOP patients. (Compl. [Docket No. 1]). On February 25, 2014, the State Defendants timely defended by making a Motion to Dismiss. [Docket No. 28].

Plaintiff filed three documents, [Docket Nos. 50-42], with this Court on or about February 28, 2014, and three additional documents, [Docket Nos. 56-68] on or about March 4, 2014. The two sets of documents are substantially identical, except that each set seeks relief against a different group of Defendants. Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, this Court must construe these documents liberally.[1] The documents are two Applications for Partial Entry of Default, [Docket Nos. 50, 56];[2] two Motions for Partial Default Judgment, [Docket Nos. 51, 57]; and two Affidavits in Support of Partial Entry of Default, [Docket Nos. 52, 58].[3] Plaintiff's Applications for Partial Entry of Default, [Docket Nos. 50, 56], and his Affidavits in Support thereof, [Docket Nos. 52, 58], are properly before the Clerk of Court, and not the undersigned.

II. PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR PARTIAL DEFAULT JUDGMENT [Docket Nos. 51]

In his first Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, [Docket No. 51], Plaintiff seeks an order of default judgment against individual State Defendants James Berg, Jannine Hebert, Lucinda Jesson, Nancy Johnston, David Paulon, and Scott Sutton; and against Defendant MSOP. In his second Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, [Docket No. 57], Plaintiff seeks an order of default judgment against individual State Defendants Jennifer Abson, Kevin Moser, Rob Rose, Mary Skalko, Troy Basaraba, and Tara Osborne; against fellow MSOP patients Joel Brown[4] ("Defendant Brown") and Jeremy Hammond ("Defendant Hammond"); and against Defendant Angelique Brewer-Ottom ("Defendant Brewer-Ottom"). Plaintiff's Motions are made pursuant to Rule 55(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[5]

A. Plaintiff's Motions as against the State Defendants should be denied.

As previously noted, the State Defendants did, in fact, timely defend by making their Motion to Dismiss. [Docket No. 28]. In making said motion on their behalf, the State expressly stated that it "represents all state entities, " and that it also represents all "individually named defendants in their individual capacity, ... and the [State] anticipates representing individually named defendants in their individual capacity as they become certified" for State representation, pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 3.736, subd. 9. (Id. at 1-2 n.1). Therefore, the Motion to Dismiss was made on behalf of all of the State Defendants, both individual and institutional, that Plaintiff has named in his present Motions. Consequently, the Court cannot recommend granting default judgment against the named Defendants.[6]

B. Defendants Brown and Hammond

The State expressly states that its Motion to Dismiss on behalf of the State Defendants was not made on behalf of Defendants Brown and Hammond, who are not represented by the State. (State Defs.' Mot. Dismiss [Docket No. 28], at 2 n.1). Additionally, the docket reflects that, as of today's date, Defendants Brown and Hammond have neither answered nor otherwise made an appearance in this matter. Nonetheless, for the reasons articulated in footnote 6 of this Report and Recommendation, supra, Plaintiff's Motion with regard to Defendants Brown and Hammond is premature, and therefore, the Court cannot recommend granting default judgment against Defendants Brown and Hammond.

C. Defendant Brewer-Ottom

Defendant Brewer-Ottom is named as a defendant in the caption of Plaintiff's Complaint, [Docket No. 1], and the record appears to reflect that she was served with the summons and complaint on February 7, 2014, (Summons Returned Executed [Docket No. 25], at 10). However, this Court, having reviewed Plaintiff's entire 68-page complaint, finds that Defendant Brewer-Ottom is named only in the caption, and is not named as a party in the body of the Complaint. (See Compl. [Docket No. 1], at 4-14[7]). Additionally, she is not named in any of the Complaint's factual allegations, (Id. at 14-21), or legal claims, (Id. at 21-63). In fact, except for her name appearing in the caption, Defendant Brewer-Ottom otherwise does not appear anywhere in the Complaint.

Under these circumstances, not only does this Court conclude that it cannot recommend granting default judgment against Defendant Brewer-Ottom, the Court also finds that it must recommend that Defendant Brewer-Ottom be dismissed from this action, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for Plaintiff's complete failure to state any claim whatsoever against her.

III. CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, and all the files, records and proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED:

1. That Plaintiff's first Motion for Partial Default Judgment, [Docket No. 51], be DENIED, as set forth above; and
2. That Plaintiff's second Motion for Partial Default Judgment, [Docket No. 57], be DENIED, as set forth above; and
3. That Defendant Angelique Brewer-Ottom be DISMISSED without prejudice from this action, as set forth above.

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