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Hartleib v. Carey

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 15, 2016

Lloyd A. Hartleib, Plaintiff,
v.
Blake Carey, Paul Mayfield, Heidi Menard, Stephanie Saxe, Joseph Miller, Jordan Goodman, Lori Aldrin, Cindy Churro, Randal Gordon, Nathan Johnson, Sara Kulas, and Kevin Moser, Defendants.

          David A. Goodwin, Esq. and Daniel E. Gustafson, Esq., Gustafson Gluek PLLC, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Lloyd Hartleib.

          Jeffrey Weber, Esq., Assistant Minnesota Attorney General, St. Paul, MN, on behalf of Defendants Blake Carey, Paul Mayfield, Heidi Menard, Stephanie Saxe, Jordan Goodman, Lori Aldrin, Cindy Churro, Randal Gordon, Nathan Johnson, Sara Kulas, and Kevin Moser.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ANN D. MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge for a ruling on Plaintiff Lloyd A. Hartleib's (“Hartleib”) Objections [Docket No. 54] to Magistrate Judge Franklin L. Noel's August 22, 2016 Report and Recommendation [Docket No. 53] (“R&R”). In the R&R, Judge Noel recommends granting Defendants Blake Carey, Paul Mayfield, Heidi Menard, Stephanie Saxe, Jordan Goodman, Lori Aldrin, Cindy Churro, Randal Gordon, Nathan Johnson, Sara Kulas, and Kevin Moser's (collectively, “Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 40].[1] After a de novo review of the record, and for the reasons stated below, Hartleib's Objections are overruled and the R&R is adopted.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Hartleib is a civilly committed involuntary detainee in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (“MSOP”) in Moose Lake, Minnesota. Am. Compl. [Docket No. 34] ¶ 6. Defendants are employees at the Moose Lake MSOP facility. Id. ¶¶ 7-18. Hartleib filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 after allegedly being physically assaulted by his roommate, who is also an MSOP detainee in Moose Lake. See generally Am. Comp.

         The Amended Complaint asserts the assault occurred the night of May 24, 2015, when Hartleib's roommate was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Id. ¶ 32. The roommate jumped on Hartleib while he was in his bed and punched him, giving him a swollen black eye. Id. The day after the assault, Hartleib approached the staff desk and informed the staff that he had tripped and fallen in his room during the night. Id. ¶ 33. He denied that there had been a physical altercation with his roommate. Id. On May 28, 2015, four days after the assault, Hartleib informed Defendant Carey that his roommate was the person who had hit him in the eye. Id. ¶ 35. Hartleib stated that he was reporting the assault because his roommate had been “bragging to his peers about it, ” and his friends “were making comments about him being hit.” Id. ¶ 35.

         Hartleib has brought three claims: failure to protect (Count I); failure to train and supervise (Count II); and unconstitutional custom or practice (Count III). Defendants moved to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Judge Noel granted the motion as to all counts and dismissed the case with prejudice. R&R at 4-7.

         Hartleib objects to the dismissal of the failure to protect claim (Count I). Judge Noel determined that dismissal of this claim was appropriate because Hartleib had not alleged sufficient facts to show that Defendants knew of and disregarded the risk he faced from his roommate. R&R at 5-6.

         Hartleib argues that the Amended Complaint alleges facts showing that he repeatedly raised concerns about his roommate's drug and alcohol use and Hartleib's fear of being labeled a snitch. Hartleib contends that these allegations clearly demonstrate Defendants' knowledge of, and disregard for, the risks he faced from his roommate.

         Specifically, the Amended Complaint alleges that on April 9, 2015, Hartleib informed Defendant Mayfield that his roommate was using drugs and pushing Hartleib to participate in “criminal activity.” Am. Compl. ¶ 25. Hartleib stated that his roommate is a “good guy” but is “too mixed up in stuff.” Id. Hartleib also told Mayfield that he (Hartleib) was concerned about being labeled a snitch by his peers, and that he would begin looking for a new roommate. Id. On April 14, 2015, Hartleib told Mayfield that his roommate was crushing and snorting contraband pills and refused to stop. Id. ¶ 27. On April 19, 2015, Hartleib approached a staff desk and gave Defendant Churro a hand written note that his roommate “will start drinking at 1:30.” Id. ¶ 28. The note stated that Hartleib had been blamed for stealing his roommate's food, so he asked that Churro “not do nothing right away but just watch him closely. I am giving you this information because I am sick of it all.” Id. On April 23, Hartleib again reported that his roommate was “messed up, ” meaning he was “intoxicated in some way.” Id. ¶ 29. On May 20, 2015, Hartleib submitted a Client Request Form to Defendants Carey, Menard, and Mayfield expressing that he wanted “[n]o roommate.” Id. ¶ 31.

         Hartleib contends that these allegations sufficiently allege that Defendants had subjective knowledge of the risk to Hartleib posed by his roommate, because being locked in a cell at night with an intoxicated sex offender and being labeled a snitch in the prison-like environment of MSOP were obvious risks to his safety.

         Hartleib also argues that if this Court adopts the R&R, he should be given the opportunity to file a Second Amended Complaint because he has now learned that on at least two occasions in recent years, his assailant was transferred from MSOP ...


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