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Henke v. South Lake Minnetonka Police Department

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 6, 2015

Charles Henke, Plaintiff,
v.
South Lake Minnetonka Police Department, Bryan Litsey, William Markham, Hennepin County Sheriff Department, and Richard W. Stanek, Defendants.

Charles Henke, pro se.

Ryan M. Zipf, Esq., League of Minnesota Cities, St. Paul, MN, on behalf of Defendants South Lake Minnetonka Police Department, Bryan Litsey, and William Markham;

James W. Keeler, Jr., Esq., Hennepin County Attorney, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Defendants Hennepin County Sheriff Department, and Richard W. Stanek.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ANN D. MONTGOMERY, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On December 18, 2014, the undersigned United States District Judge heard oral argument on Defendants South Lake Minnetonka Police Department ("SLMPD"), Bryan Litsey, and William Markham's Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 7] and Defendants Hennepin County Sheriff Department ("HCSD") and Richard W. Stanek's Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 12]. As stated at the hearing, and for the reasons discussed below, both motions are granted.

II. BACKGROUND

On September 11, 2014, Officer William Markham of the SLMPD ran a computer check on a vehicle being driven by Charles Henke ("Henke"). Compl. [Docket No. 1] ¶ 12. Markham learned that Henke had a misdemeanor warrant for failing to appear on a disorderly conduct charge in Hennepin County. Id . Markham arrested Henke pursuant to the warrant. Id . At this time, Officer Markham informed Henke that bail for the warrant was $78.00. Id . Henke had $700 cash in his wallet and offered to pay the bail amount, but Officer Markham declined Henke's offer, stating "we don't do that here." Id . Henke's vehicle was towed and Officer Markham transported Henke to the Hennepin County Jail. Id . ¶ 13.

The Hennepin County Jail assumed custody of Henke around 1:00 p.m. Id . ¶ 14. Sometime thereafter, Henke posted the $78.00 bail. Id . However, Henke was not released from jail until around 11:00 p.m., nearly 10 hours after he arrived. Id . When he was released, the $700.00 cash in Henke's possession when he was booked and processed was converted into a check. Id . A Hennepin County Deputy said the check could not be cashed for four hours. Id.

Henke later learned that the SLMPD may allow individuals arrested on warrant stops to pay the bail amount on the spot if they have the necessary cash. Id . ¶ 15.

While not perfectly clear, Henke's Complaint appears to allege constitutional and civil rights violations stemming from both the traffic stop and his booking and eventual release from the Hennepin County Jail. The constitutional violations are predicated on Officer Markham not accepting Henke's offer to pay the $78.00 bail at the time of his arrest and the treatment Henke received at the Hennepin County Jail. The theory of Henke's civil rights claims are based on the alleged failure of the SLMPD and its Chief of Police in supervising Officer Markham.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Motion To Dismiss Standard

Under Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, pleadings "shall contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A pleading must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." 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 a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id . "But where the wellpleaded facts ...


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