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Vang v. Prataya

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 30, 2017

Panyia Vang, Plaintiff,
v.
Thiawachu Prataya et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOAN N. ERICKSEN United States District Judge

         Panyia Vang commenced this action in July 2012. The next month, she filed an amended complaint that asserted claims against Thiawachu Prataya, Chong Neng Xiong, Asian Community Special Services, Inc., and several unidentified companies. Vang asserted claims of child sex trafficking, child sex tourism, and support of child sex tourism. Motions to dismiss were filed in September and October 2012. Before Asian Community Special Services' motion was heard, Vang and Asian Community Special Services stipulated to the dismissal without prejudice of her claims against Asian Community Special Services. In November 2012, the Court denied Prataya and Xiong's motion to dismiss.

         In early March 2013, a pretrial scheduling conference took place. A couple of days later, the magistrate judge, noting that numerous documents had been filed in error and that the Court had been “besieged with questions requesting legal advice, ” ordered the parties to meet with him on a monthly basis “to ensure that the case proceeds and is administered justly, speedily, and efficiently.” Monthly status conferences took place from April to December 2013.

         In early January 2014, the magistrate judge held a settlement conference that lasted 18 hours over the course of two days. The parties reached a settlement agreement. On January 13, 2014, the magistrate judge ordered the parties to file closing documents within 90 days. A status conference took place in March 2014. The next month, the magistrate judge extended the deadline for the filing of closing documents. Two status conferences took place in May 2014. On May 28, 2014, the magistrate judge set July 14, 2014, as the deadline to file closing documents. Given the judicial resources already expended, the magistrate judge admonished the parties that the deadline would not be extended and that no additional status conferences regarding settlement would take place.

         On July 14, 2014, Vang and Xiong executed and filed a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice. No stipulation of dismissal was filed with respect to Prataya.

         In October 2014, Vang moved to enforce the settlement agreement with respect to Prataya. In February 2015, the magistrate judge recommended that Vang's motion be denied because Prataya did not make a payment anticipated by the settlement agreement and the parties had agreed that the action would continue against a defendant who did not make the payment. The Court denied Vang's motion in March 2015.

         In April 2015, the magistrate judge issued an amended pretrial scheduling order that set July 17, 2015, as the deadline for dispositive motions. On July 17, Vang improperly filed a motion for summary judgment, and Prataya improperly filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings or for summary judgment. The documents filed on July 17 were marked “filed in error.” On July 20, the parties refiled their motions.[1]

         While the motions were under advisement, Vang and Prataya moved to stay the action to allow them to attempt to resolve their dispute through a television show. The Court stayed the action and ordered them to submit quarterly status reports.

         In December 2016, Vang moved to lift the stay, to renew the parties' dispositive motions, and to obtain a scheduling order for any amendments to the motions. The Court solicited a response from Prataya, who moved to lift the stay, to renew his motion, to obtain a scheduling order, and to deny Vang's request for a scheduling order regarding amendments to the motions.

         The Court lifts the stay and considers the parties' dispositive motions on the papers previously submitted. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part Prataya's motion for judgment on the pleadings or for summary judgment. The Court denies Vang's motion for summary judgment. The Court will notify the parties of the case's placement on the trial calendar in due course. See D. Minn. LR 39.1(a).

         This case arises out of events that took place approximately ten years ago. In 2006, Prataya, who was born in 1963 and became a citizen of the United States in 1994, traveled from the United States to Laos, where he met Vang. At that time, she was a teenager. They had sexual intercourse. As a result, Vang became pregnant, and she gave birth to a child in 2007. In 2009, Vang's father brought Vang to the United States. In 2010, Prataya brought the child to the United States. Vang and Prataya have since engaged in numerous disputes in state court regarding orders for protection, custody of the child, and child support. In 2012, Vang brought this action against Prataya.

         Prataya's motion

         Prataya asserted that judgment on the pleadings should be entered in his favor because the basis of Vang's claim of child sex trafficking, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, does not apply retroactively. See Saterdalen v. Spencer, 725 F.3d 838, 840-41 (8th Cir. 2013) (standard of decision). According to Prataya, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 applies, and it does not authorize extraterritorial application. He also asserted that the basis of Vang's other claims, 18 U.S.C. § 2255 (2012) (amended 2013), does not apply extraterritorially. Finally, Prataya argued that summary judgment should be entered in his favor insofar as Vang brought claims under § 2255 for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 2421 (2012) (amended 2015), 18 U.S.C. § 2422 (2012), and 18 U.S.C. § 2423 (2012) (amended 2013 and 2015) because there is no evidence in the record that Prataya violated the statutes. See Thomas v. Heartland Emp't Servs. LLC, 797 F.3d 527, 529 (8th Cir. 2015) (standard of decision).

         In response, Vang acknowledged that her claim of child sex trafficking is based on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591(a), 1595 (2006) (amended 2008 and 2015). She also asserted that the statutes on which she based her claims are properly applied to Prataya. Finally, she asserted that genuine issues of material fact exist with respect to her claims that are based § 2423(c) and § 2423(e).

         As to Vang's claim of child sex trafficking, the applicable ...


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