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Meyer v. Haeg

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 21, 2016

Harley Dean Meyer, Plaintiff,
v.
Thomas Haeg, Hennepin County Referee, in his official capacity, et al., Defendants.

          Harley Dean Meyer, % Ladapa Tiwasingha, 96 Moo 3 Vibabadee Randsit Road, Laksi, Bangkok, Thailand 10210, pro se.

          Andrew Tweeten, Richard S. Reeves, David Grobeck, Ronald S. Stadler, Mallery & Zimmerman, S.C., Stacy A. Broman, Laura J. Hanson, Meagher & Geer, PLLP, Bryon Glen Ascheman, Burke & Thomas, PLLP, Virginia K. Ekola, Amie E. Penny Sayler, Jonathan P. Norrie, Bassford Remele, P.A., Angela B. Brandt, David M. Wilk, Larson King LLP, Ann-Marie Anderson, Wright Welker & Pauole, PLC, Steven C. Kerbaugh, Steven M. Phillips, Anthony Ostlund Baer & Louwagie P.A., Barry G. Vermeer, Jennifer M. Waterworth, Gislason & Hunter, Lindsey A. Streicher, Patrick M. Biren, Brownson & Linnihan, PLLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402, Erin M. Secord, Ashley M. DeMinck, and Ellen B. Silverman, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, for Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the undersigned United States District Judge for consideration of Plaintiff Harley Dean Meyer's Objections [Doc. No. 389] to United States Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer's Report and Recommendation ("R&R"), dated October 5, 2016 [Doc. No. 383]. The magistrate judge recommended as follows: that Defendant John H. Pribyl's Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint ("FAC") [Doc. No. 283] be granted; that Defendant Michael Fuhrman's Motion to Dismiss the FAC [Doc. No. 296] be granted; that Defendant Janey Nelson's Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 344] be granted; that Defendant Sonia Mosch's Motion to Dismiss the FAC [Doc. No. 357] be granted; that Meyer's Motion for Extension of Time to File Responsive Motion to Mosch's Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 376] be granted; that Meyer's Motion for Order to Show Cause [Doc. No. 367] be denied; that all claims against J. Does 14, 15, and 16, in their official capacities, be dismissed without prejudice; that all claims against Marnette Hoisve be dismissed without prejudice; and that, in accordance with the magistrate judge's June 27, 2016 Report and Recommendation [Doc. No. 292], all claims against J. Does 22-28 be dismissed with prejudice.

         Pursuant to statute, this Court reviews de novo any portion of the magistrate judge's opinion to which specific objections are made, and "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations" contained in that opinion. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b); D. Minn. L.R. 72.2(b)(3). Based on that de novo review, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court overrules Meyer's objections and adopts the R&R in its entirety.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The factual and procedural underpinnings of this case have been thoroughly set forth in several prior orders of this Court, and of the magistrate judge. (See, e.g., Aug. 5, 2016 Order [Doc. No. 341]; June 27, 2016 Report and Recommendation [Doc. No. 292].) To avoid unnecessary repetition, the Court incorporates by reference the background sections of those documents here.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Dr. Pribyl's Motion to Dismiss

         In the FAC, Meyer brings a claim for commercial bribery against Dr. Pribyl. (R&R at 5.)[1] Dr. Pribyl has since moved to dismiss this claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that no such cause of action exists under Minnesota law. (See Pribyl Mot. to Dismiss at 1; Mem. in Supp. of Pribyl's Mot. to Dismiss [Doc. No. 285] at 1.) In a thorough examination of the issue, the magistrate judge concluded that, while commercial bribery is a criminal act prohibited by Minn. Stat. § 609.86, that fact by itself does not imply the existence of a civil cause of action. See U.S. Fed. Credit Union v. Stars & Strikes, LLC, No. AlO-1101, 2011 WL 1466383, at *5 (Minn.Ct.App. Apr. 19, 2011) ("[A] criminal statute does not automatically give rise to a civil cause of action unless the statute expressly or by clear implication so provides."). Noting that Minn. Stat. § 609.86 does not provide for a civil cause of action, the magistrate judge recommended dismissal of the commercial bribery claim. (R&R at 6 (citing Stars & Strikes, 2011 WL 1466383, at *5).)

         The magistrate judge also addressed a contention raised by Meyer for the first time in his opposition memorandum-that the commercial bribery allegation serves as a predicate act under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1962. (See R&R at 7.) Meyer apparently contends that Dr. Pribyl is one of the J. Doe Defendants listed under Count XXVIII of the FAC, which asserts a civil RICO claim. (See id.) As to Dr. Pribyl, however, the magistrate judge concluded that any RICO claim is clearly barred by the applicable four-year statute of limitations, given that the alleged commercial bribery arises from proceedings that occurred more than eleven years prior to the filing of this suit. (Id. (citing Klehr v. A.O. Smith Corp., 87 F.3d 231, 238 (8th Cir. 1996).) Finding no allegations in the FAC that would support a claim for fraudulent concealment or equitable tolling, Judge Bowbeer recommended dismissal of the purported RICO claim against Dr. Pribyl. (Id.)

         Meyer's objections do not directly address the magistrate judge's recommendations as to either the commercial bribery claim or the purported RICO claim leveled against Dr. Pribyl.[2] (See generally PL's Obj.) As previously noted, the burden is on the objecting party to note-with specificity-the basis upon which he objects to each recommendation. See D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(1). General or conclusory objections are insufficient to trigger de novo review of the magistrate judge's report. Id. at 72.2(b)(3); see also United States v. $90, 000 in U.S. Currency, No. 07-cv-4744 (JRN/FLN), 2010 WL 1379777, at *9 n.3 (D. Minn. Mar. 31, 2010) (noting that "general objections" to a magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation are "inadequate" under Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2)). These deficiencies aside, however, the Court finds no error in the magistrate judge's recommendation that Dr. Pribyl's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim should be granted. The law in Minnesota is clear that commercial bribery exists only as a criminal act-not a civil cause of action. Stars & Strikes, 2011 WL 1466383, at *5. Likewise, the allegations in the FAC show that Meyer has been aware of any injury suffered at the hands of Dr. Pribyl since at least 2003-well beyond the four-year statute of limitations applicable to civil RICO claims. See Klehr, 87 F.3d at 238. Accordingly, the Court will adopt Judge Bowbeer's recommendations with regard to Dr. Pribyl, and dismiss both claims against him with prejudice.

         B. Dr. Fuhrman's Motion to Dismiss

         As with Dr. Pribyl, Meyer's claim against Dr. Fuhrman is based on a purported civil cause of action for commercial bribery. (See R&R at 7.) For reasons identical to those discussed in Part III.A, supra, the magistrate judge concluded that no such cause of action exists under Minnesota law, and recommended dismissal of the commercial bribery claim. (See Id. at 8.) Likewise, the magistrate judge rejected as time-barred contentions raised by Meyer in his opposition memorandum that the commercial bribery alleged against Dr. Fuhrman is a predicate act under RICO, and that Dr. Fuhrman is one of the J. Doe Defendants listed under his civil RICO claim. (See id.) Because Judge Bowbeer concluded ...


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