United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Joseph Anthony Favors, No. 100988, Minnesota Correction Facility - Moose Lake, 1111 Highway 73, Moose Lake, MN 55767, Pro se.
Angela Helseth Kiese, Assistant Attorney General, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, 445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1800, St. Paul, MN 55101, for defendant Michelle Hoover.
Anthony R. Noss and Ricardo Figueroa, Assistant Attorneys General, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, 445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1100, St. Paul, MN 55101, for "State Defendants" Eyvette Anderson, Craig Berg, Tracy Gebhart, (O.D.) Gullickson, Jon Hibber, Deb James, Jena Jones, Terry Kniesel, Jamie Kozisch, Ann Linkert (Zimmerman), Thomas Lundquist, Dianna Magaard, Chad Mesojedec, Rick O'Conner, Rebbeca Ranem, Juli Rose, Rob Rose, Kevin Schlerer, Ralph Schmidt, Lori Swanson, Mandy Torgerson, Beth Virden, Todd White, Steve Youngst, Jeanine Hebert, Jean Seykora, Daniel Storkamp, Lucinda Jesson, Office of Licensing for the Security Hospital, DHS Office of Maltreatment Complaints, and State of Minnesota.
Anthony R. Noss and Ricardo Figueroa, Assistant Attorneys General, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, 445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1100, St. Paul, MN 55101, for defendant Dennis Benson.
Kelly S. Kemp, Assistant Attorney General, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, 445 Minnesota Street, Suite 900, St. Paul, MN 55101, for defendants Joann Fabian, Jeffrey L. Peterson, Deborah J. Schadegg, John King, and Office of Health Facility Complaints.
Jeffrey A. Timmerman, Assistant County Attorney, DAKOTA COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, 1560 Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033, for defendants Christopher Boreland and Mark Mehl.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHN R. TUNHEM, District Judge.
Plaintiff Joseph Anthony Favors is civilly committed at the Minnesota Sex Offender Treatment Program ("MSOP") in Moose Lake, Minnesota. On February 21, 2013, Favors filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1986 alleging various civil rights violations and naming fifty-six individuals and state agencies as defendants, sixteen of which were later dismissed. Defendants Hoover, Boreland, Mehl, Benson, and the "State Defendants" all filed motions to dismiss Favors's federal claims against them. On May 13, 2014, United States Magistrate Judge Leo I. Brisbois issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") recommending the Court deny Favors's motion for default judgment against Boreland and Mehl. On that same date, Judge Brisbois issued a second Report and Recommendation, recommending the Court grant all four motions to dismiss without prejudice and decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. Favors objected to the second R&R on various grounds. Because, even considering his objections and especially in light of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), Favors has failed to state a plausible civil rights claim on which relief may be granted, the Court will adopt both R&Rs, dismiss Favors's claims against Hoover, Boreland, Mehl, Benson, and the State Defendants without prejudice, and decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Favors's state law claims.
I. CIVIL COMMITMENT AND PAROLE REVOCATION
Favors is currently civilly committed as a "sexually dangerous and... sexually psychopathic person" at MSOP in Moose Lake. (Compl. ¶ 21, Feb. 21, 2013, Docket No. 1.) In 2008, Favors was serving a prison sentence for a criminal sexual conduct conviction with the Minnesota Department of Corrections ("DOC") in Stillwater. Favors v. Jesson, No. 13-cv-108 (JRT/LIB), 2013 WL 4052668, at *1 (D. Minn. Aug. 9, 2013). The Dakota County District Court ordered Favors civilly committed in August 2008 and the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the commitment. In re Civil Commitment of Favors, No. A09-2306, 2010 WL 2486349, at *9 (Minn.Ct.App. June 22, 2010); (Order Partially Dismissing Habeas Pet. & Changing Venue ("Habeas Order"), Ex. 48, at 103, Oct. 31, 2013, Docket No. 106-3.) On November 25, 2008, the Minnesota Department of Corrections imposed on Favors conditional supervised release from his prison sentence, so that he could be civilly committed at MSOP. ( Id. ) The release period was initially set to run through February 22, 2011. ( Id. ) Favors's release was predicated on twenty-nine conditions, including that he would not stalk or harass others. ( Id. at 104.)
Favors's suit against Hoover and some fifty-five other individuals and state entities primarily arises out of his parole revocation and imprisonment for stalking Hoover at MSOP. (Compl. ¶ 2.) Favors makes many other allegations, including that he was subjected to punitive confinement; a counter-therapeutic environment; inadequate treatment; retaliation; interference with and threats of punishment related to complaints; retaliatory isolation, discharge from treatment, and imprisonment; a retaliatory criminal charge; cruel and unusual abuses; loss of personal property and wages, and lack of access to the courts. ( Id. ¶¶ 100-02, 103-95, 196-204, 205-14, 229-66, 267-70, 330, 434-36, 439-43.) He also alleges that MSOP officials, and other related state officials, failed to properly supervise and train MSOP employees like Hoover. (See, e.g., id. ¶¶ 23, 25-27, 38-41, 43, 47-49, 75-77.)
Favors's allegations focus on his interactions with Hoover, a MSOP Security Counselor, during part of his time at the facility. ( Id. ¶ 42.) Starting in December 2009, Favors began to make allegations that Hoover was having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a person civilly committed at MSOP, Michael Crow. (Habeas Order, Ex 48 at 104; Compl. ¶ 112.) Favors alleges that starting on December 8, 2009, in response to his allegations, Hoover made ten retaliatory and false reports against him. (Compl. ¶¶ 42, 103-28, 130-33, 150-55, 165-83, 187-95.) Favors claims that in these reports, Hoover falsely stated that Favors treated other patients, particularly Crow, poorly, broke MSOP rules, and was stalking and harassing Hoover. ( Id. )
At the same time, Favors filed multiple complaints against Hoover with the Office of Special Investigations ("OSI") for MSOP, along with other officials, refuting accusations she made in her reports, and claiming both that she was having an inappropriate relationship with Crow and that she was filing false reports and retaliating against Favors because he was reporting her inappropriate behavior. ( E.g., Compl. ¶¶ 44-45, 111-12, 115, 118, 122, 129, 133, 134-38, 144-49, 153, 156-64, 168.) His complaints were frequently detailed; his January 8, 2010 complaint, for example, contained multiple supporting affidavits from other MSOP patients, one of whom took and passed a polygraph test. ( Id. ¶ 129.) He alleges, however, that the officials who received his complaints did nothing to investigate his allegations, particularly his March 12, 2010 complaint that urged OSI officials to watch security camera footage that Favors claims refutes Hoover's stalking allegations. ( Id. ¶¶ 175-76.)
In her tenth report on Favors, filed in May 2010, Hoover recommended he be placed on an Individual Program Plan ("I.P.P."). ( Id. ¶¶ 187-95.) The I.P.P., initiated on May 26, 2010, restricted his access to recreation and education activities between noon and 9:00p.m., when Hoover was working in those areas of the MSOP facility. ( Id. ; Individual Program Plan Method, Ex. 35, Oct. 31, 2013, Docket 106-3.) Following the I.P.P., Defendant Deborah Konieska, who has since been dismissed from this suit, authored Favors's Quarterly Treatment Review Report ("QRR"), which was completed on June 10, 2010. (Quarterly Treatment Review Report, Ex. 40, Oct. 31, 2013, Docket 106-3.) The QRR accused Favors of targeting "several female security counselors and group facilitators, " submitting requests that female staff members be disciplined when he disagrees with their feedback, making "false allegations" against Hoover, and consistently following and observing Hoover and filing new complaints about her, despite being told to stop. ( Id. at 42.)
In response to the I.P.P., and in addition to the other complaints he had filed with the OSI, Favors filed a complaint with the Hospital Review Board ("HRB") on January 23, 2012, alleging that the I.P.P. was retaliatory. (Compl. ¶ 201.) He also appeared before the HRB in April 2010 and filed a different complaint with the HRB in June 2010. (Hospital Review Board Compl., Ex. 43(2), Oct. 31, 2013, Docket 106-3.) In one of his HRB complaints, he challenged the QRR. (Compl. ¶ 217; Formal Compl., Ex. 41, Oct. 31, 2013, Docket No. 106-3.) Favors alleges the QRR was false and retaliatory. (Compl. ¶¶ 215-28.)
Following his June 2010 complaint, the HRB directed MSOP to respond, (Findings and Recommendations of the HRB, Ex. 43(1), Oct. 31, 2013, Docket No. 106-3), and Dennis Benson, MSOP's director, responded on July 29, 2010 that Favors needed to work toward his treatment plan goals and that his allegations regarding staff misconduct had been received and investigated, (Resp. to HRB Recommendations, Ex. 38, Oct. 31, 2013, Docket 106-3; Compl. ¶¶ 205-07). The response also stated that Favors had been told "to stop reporting false allegations and harassing staff" and that future such behavior could lead to him receiving "Behavior Expectations Violations." (Resp. to HRB Recommendations, Ex. 38, Oct. 31, 2013, Docket 106-3.)
On the same date that the QRR was issued, June 10, 2010, Favors was placed in isolation in a High Security Area ("HSA"), so that MSOP could conduct a criminal investigation into claims that Favors was stalking Hoover. (Compl. ¶¶ 229-40.) At that point, Favors alleges he was discharged from sex offender treatment at MSOP, through March of 2011. ( Id. ¶ 240.) Favors was informed that he had violated the conditions of his supervised release by engaging in stalking and harassing behaviors. (Habeas Order, Ex. 48, at 105.) The Hearings and Release Unit of the Minnesota Department of Corrections held a parole revocation hearing on August 23, 2010. (Compl. ¶ 253.) Favors alleges that Hoover testified falsely at the hearing that Favors had stalked her and that she did not have an inappropriate relationship with Crow. ( Id. ¶¶ 253-62.) Favors alleges that Defendant Dianna Magaard also testified falsely at the hearing. ( Id. ¶¶ 210-14.)
Following the hearing, the revocation hearing officer, Deborah Schadegg, revoked Favors's parole and he was then transferred back to the DOC in Stillwater. ( Id. ¶¶ 263, 267; Habeas Order, Ex. 48, at 106.) The imprisonment term was set to last until February 11, 2011. (Compl. ¶ 263.) Favors appealed the parole revocation, but Hearings and Release Unit Executive Officer Jeffrey Peterson affirmed the revocation. (Habeas Order, Ex. 48, at 106.) A criminal complaint was initially filed against Favors for stalking Hoover, which resulted in Favors having to make a trip to the Carlton County District Court in chains and shackles. ( Id. ¶¶ 267-70.) That complaint was dropped in the "interests of justice." (Mot. & Order for Dismissal Without Prejudice, Ex. 58, Oct. 30, 2013, Docket No. 106-3.).
Favors alleges that in October 2010, Crow also faced parole revocation due to having a weapon in the MSOP facility. (Compl. ¶ 276.) Favors claims that Crow made a deal to inform Defendant Jungers about his relationship with Hoover, in order to avoid having his parole revoked. ( Id. ) Hoover was terminated from MSOP on October 15, 2010 and a criminal complaint was filed against her on May 9, 2011, alleging that she introduced contraband - marijuana - into the MSOP facility at Moose Lake and engaged in third-degree criminal sexual conduct. ( Id. ¶¶ 274, 282-83; see also Habeas Order, Ex. 48, at 107.) Favors concludes that the charges against Hoover are the most compelling proof available of his various claims and show indifference on the part of the officials he is suing since nobody sought his release after Hoover was terminated. (Compl. ¶¶ 285-92.) Upon his release from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater, Favors was transferred back to MSOP at Moose Lake. ( Id. ¶¶ 293-95.)
II. FAVORS'S HABEAS PETITIONS
Four days before his release from Stillwater, Favors filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in Washington County District Court. Favors, 2013 WL 4052668, at *1. He sought release from his confinement with the DOC in Stillwater and discharge from his civil commitment with MSOP. Id. Respondents erroneously filed their response with the wrong court, the Carlton County District Court (the county in which Moose Lake is located). Id. The Carlton County District Court then dismissed Favors's constitutional challenge on the merits. Id. The Washington County court partially dismissed the petition. It dismissed his request for release from the custody of the DOC in Stillwater because he was no longer in custody there and had been returned to Moose Lake. (Habeas Order, Ex. 48, at 108-09.) The remainder of his habeas claims - including his retaliation claims and the challenge to the revocation of his supervised release - were transferred to the Carlton County District Court. ( Id. at 109.) The Washington County court stated the following, however:
Petitioner has served his time and is no longer subject to DOC custody, as Petitioner's criminal sentence ended on February 11, 2011, and is therefore no longer subject to supervised or conditional release. He may be entitled to a change in the record or in credit to be applied to any future sentence or some such remedy given the total picture of what happened here. At a minimum he is entitled to have the Respondents and any other staff person or tribunal member receive a copy of this order so that if they [are] capable of "lessons learned" about animus, misplaced or premature conclusions, or other bias they can take the lesson to heart.
It appears that Petitioner may have been engaging in inappropriate behaviors, but the so-called "unfounded" claims about Respondent Hoover now have merit to warrant her arrest and current prosecution for inappropriate behaviors with clients at MSOP - Moose Lake. Hoover's reports about Petitioner's behavior came at the same time, or shortly very after, Petitioner was making these accusations against Hoover. Given the sequence of events leading to revocation of Petitioner's conditional release, Petitioner may very well have a cognizable retaliation claim. The retaliation is now part of Petitioner's record and could adversely affect any future proceedings, which means that the revocation could have collateral consequences for Petitioner in the future.
Even though the Court is dismissing Petitioner's Habeas Petition with respect to his confinement in Stillwater prison, the Court also notes that Petitioner is not precluded from pursuing an action under 42 U.S.C. [§] 1983.
( Id. at 108-09.)
The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the Washington County order partially dismissing the habeas petition and transferring the remainder of the petition to Carlton County. Favors v. Jungers, Nos. A11-2055, A11-2104, 2012 WL 2079848, at *3-4 (Minn.Ct.App. June 11, 2012). It vacated, however, the prior Carlton County court order, since that court did not have the authority to dismiss a habeas petition filed in Washington County. Id. at *3. The Carlton County District Court has yet to rule on Favors's habeas petition.
III. THIS PROCEEDING
On February 21, 2013, Favors filed his complaint in this case against some fiftysix individual and institutional defendants. (Compl.) The Court subsequently dismissed sixteen defendants. (Mem. Opinion & Order, Dec. 12, 2013, Docket No. 167; Order, Feb. 4, 2014, Docket No. 202.) In his complaint, as discussed above, Favors alleges that defendants committed a number of wrongs, including wrongful and retaliatory imprisonment, retaliation, and inadequate treatment. Favors alleges violations of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution, along with his Minnesota constitutional rights. (Compl. ¶¶ 387-91.) He also alleges violations of various state statutes, rules, and MSOP policies. ( Id. ¶¶ 378-86, 392-431.) He seeks monetary and injunctive relief, costs, and attorneys' fees. ( Id. ¶¶ 432-87.)
Defendants Hoover, Boreland, Mehl, Benson, and the "State Defendants" all filed motions to dismiss Favors's federal claims against them. (Def. Hoover's Mot. to Dismiss, Jan. 27, 2014, Docket No. 195; Dakota County's Mot. to Dismiss, Nov. 15, 2013, Docket No. 139; Def. Benson's Mot. to Dismiss, Nov. 15, 2013, Docket No. 132; State Defendants' Mot. to Dismiss, Oct. 21, 2013, Docket No. 88.) The Office of Health Facility Complaints and employees of the DOC did not file a motion to dismiss but did file their own answer. (Answer, Oct. 18, 2013, Docket No. 87.) Favors also filed a motion for default judgment against Boreland and Mehl. (Mot. for Default J., Nov. 14, 2013, Docket No. 143.)
On May 13, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") recommending the Court deny Favors's motion for default judgment against Boreland and Mehl. (R&R ("Default Judgment R&R"), May 13, 2014, Docket No. 207.) On that same date, the Magistrate Judge issued a second Report and Recommendation, recommending the Court grant all four motions to dismiss without prejudice and decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. (R&R.) Favors filed objections, focusing on the second R&R. (Objections to R&R ("Objections"), May 29, 2014, Docket No. 210.)
I. STANDARD OF ...