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Shugri v. Home Depot USA

United States District Court, District of Minnesota

April 16, 2015

Halima Shugri, Plaintiff,
v.
Home Depot USA and City of Plymouth, Defendants.

Michael A. Fondungallah, Esq., Fondungallah & Kigham, LLC, counsel for Plaintiff.

Ryan M. Zipf, Esq., League of Minnesota Cities, counsel for Defendant City of Plymouth.

Benjamin M. Weston, Esq., and Gregory M. Lederer, Esq., Lederer Weston Craig PLC; and Michael S. Ryan, Esq., and Kathryn R. Downey, Esq., HKM Law Group, counsel for Defendant Home Depot U.S.A., Inc.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DONOVAN W. FRANK United States District Judge

INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss brought by Defendant City of Plymouth (Doc. No. 12) and a Motion to Dismiss brought by Defendant Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. (“Home Depot”) (Doc. No. 24). For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants both motions.

BACKGROUND

In her complaint, Plaintiff Halima Shugri (“Shugri” or “Plaintiff”) makes the following allegations. Shugri is an African female who resides in Plymouth, Minnesota and who is a practicing Muslim. (Doc. No. 4 (“Am. Compl.”) ¶¶ 2, 11.)

On May 8, 2012, Shugri went shopping for window blinds with her mother (Aweys Hassan), daughter (Nafisa Iman), and contractor (Kim Nunn (“Nunn”)) at one of Home Depot’s stores in Plymouth, Minnesota. (Id. ¶ 12.) A Home Depot associate assisted them with the blinds and Shugri paid for the blinds at the checkout register. (Id. ¶ 13.) After paying for the blinds, they began walking out with the blinds on a cart; Nunn pushed the cart. (Id. ¶ 14.) Nunn was then stopped by a Home Depot employee and asked for a receipt while Shugri walked with her mother. (Id. ¶ 15.) Shugri alleges that other white customers were not being stopped. (Id.) Nunn asked the employee why other white customers were not being stopped and the employee again requested a receipt from Nunn. (Id.) Nunn walked away without showing a receipt and then loaded the blinds into Shugri’s van; he then went to his car, from which he followed Shugri as she left Home Depot. (Id. ¶¶ 15, 16.)

Shortly thereafter, Shugri was pulled over on County Road 6. (Id. ¶ 17.) Shugri rolled down her window and the officer asked her to get out of the car and allegedly did not tell her why she was being stopped. (Id. ¶¶ 17, 18.) Shugri alleges that she was fully cooperative, but was repeatedly patted down, which was particularly humiliating as a Muslim woman. (Id. ¶ 19.) Shugri was then placed in the squad car and her mother was ordered back into Shugri’s van when she exited to see what was going on. (Id. ¶ 20.)

After approximately thirty minutes, a Home Depot employee arrived. (Id. ¶ 21.) At that time, Shugri gave the officer her receipt. (Id.) The employee and officer checked the purchase against the receipt. (Id.) Shugri and her family were then told they were free to go. (Id.)

According to Shugri, she learned the Home Depot store manager had called the police. (Id. ¶ 22.) Shugri returned to Home Depot and spoke with the manager about how Home Depot had treated her. (Id.) Shugri alleges that the manager did not apologize and said it was simply a misunderstanding. (Id.¶ 23.) Shugri also alleges that the manager asked her to stop crying in the front of the store and asked her to leave, but also refunded her money for the blinds. (Id. ¶ 24.)

In her Amended Complaint, Shugri asserts the following claims: (1) Consumer Racial Profiling in Violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Count I); (2) Race Discrimination in Violation of Minn. Stat. § 363A.12, subd. 1 (Count II); (3) Police Misconduct in Violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (Count III); (4) Violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”), Minn. Stat. § 363A.14 (Count IV); and (5) punitive damages and attorney’s fees (Counts V and VI). (Id. ¶¶ 25-42.)

Home Depot and the City of Plymouth (together, “Defendants”) both, but separately, now move to dismiss the complaint in its entirety. (Doc. Nos. 12 & 24.) The City of Plymouth moves to dismiss Counts I, III, IV, and the punitive damages and attorney’s fees claims (Counts V and VI) (Doc. Nos. 12 & 14), and Home Depot moves to dismiss Counts I and II, and the ...


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