United States District Court, D. Minnesota
N. ERICKSEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Yassin Abdirahman Yusuf alleges violations of his
constitutional rights in an investigation that led to his
indictment by a federal grand jury and his subsequent arrest,
a trial on some of the counts in which he was charged, his
conviction on one count, and the setting aside of that
conviction. He sues Defendants Heather Weyker, a police
officer for the St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota; John
Bandemer, a St. Paul Police Department sergeant who is
alleged to have been Weyker's supervisor; John Does 3-4,
who are allegedly supervisory St. Paul police officers; and
the City of St. Paul (“St. Paul”). Weyker and
Bandemer move to dismiss Yusuf's complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a claim and on absolute and qualified immunity grounds. Dkt.
No. 41. St. Paul moves on behalf of the City of St. Paul and
John Does 3-4 for judgment on the pleadings. Dkt. No. 47.
investigation at the core of Yusuf's civil complaint
targeted a suspected venture involving the sex-trafficking of
minor girls across Minnesota, Tennessee, and Ohio. The
investigation resulted in the criminal indictment of thirty
people, mostly Somali, in the Middle District of Tennessee in
2010-2011 (“Tennessee Case”). Yusuf alleges that
Weyker and Bandemer fabricated evidence about him and others
throughout the investigation, resulting in a tainted
indictment that was further corrupted by Weyker's
continuing deception, and causing his arrest and detention
without probable cause.
of Yusuf's co-defendants in the Tennessee Case bring
separate suits similarly alleging constitutional violations,
and a twenty-first person brings another related civil suit.
The parties agreed to coordinated briefing on the
Defendants' motions. The Court assumes familiarity with
its fuller opinion in one of the related cases, Osman v.
Weyker, et al., No. 16cv908 (“Osman
Opinion”) (filed simultaneously herewith). Yusuf,
coordinating with the other plaintiffs represented by his
counsel, opposed the motions. See GBBS Pls.'
Opp. to St. Paul Mot., Dkt. No. 52; GBBS Pls.' Opp. to
DOJ Mot. to Dismiss (“GBBS DOJ Opp.”), Dkt. No.
Court held a hearing on the motions on May 3, 2017, and now
grants both motions.
motion to dismiss or a motion for judgment on the pleadings
is appropriately granted “only when there is no dispute
as to any material facts and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a [m]atter of law.” Greenman v.
Jessen, 787 F.3d 882, 887 (8th Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted). To survive a Rule 12 motion, “a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citation omitted); Haney v. Portfolio
Recovery Assocs., LLC, 837 F.3d 918, 924 (8th Cir.
2016), as amended (Dec. 27, 2016). See also
Osman Op. 3-4.
the allegations are similar to those alleged by Osman and
summarized and analyzed in the Court's order in that
case. See, e.g., Osman Op. 4-8. The Court briefly
recounts some allegations in Yusuf's Second Amended
Complaint and some facts gleaned from the Tennessee Case
was arrested on November 8, 2010, after he was charged in a
First Superseding Indictment (“FSI”) dated
November 3, 2010. SAC ¶ 15. The indictment charged him
with two counts of participation in a sex-trafficking
conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a) (Counts 1
and 2); one count of recruiting Jane Doe Two, a minor, to
engage in commercial sex in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1591(a) (Count 12); and one count of attempt to recruit Jane
Doe Two to engage in commercial sex (Count 13). SAC ¶
15. In addition, Count 18 charged Yusuf with conspiring to
commit credit card fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1029(a). FSI ¶ 117, United States v. Yusuf, No.
3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 36 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 3, 2010). A Second
Superseding Indictment was filed in May 2011 charging Yusuf
in these same counts. See SAC ¶ 16;
Yusuf, No. 3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 591.
sex-trafficking-related counts as against Yusuf exclusively
involved the supposed witness-victim Jane Doe Two. SAC ¶
17. “Jane Doe Two was the centerpiece of Weyker's
and Bandemer's fabricated case against Yusuf . . .
.” SAC ¶ 18. Weyker was the lead investigator on
the case, and Bandemer was her supervisor in the St. Paul
Police Department. SAC ¶ 14. The indictment included
allegations about a trip that Yusuf took with Jane Doe Two
and others in May 2007 from Minneapolis to Rochester,
Minnesota, allegedly “for the purpose of charging
persons money to engage in sex with Jane Doe Two.” SAC
¶ 19. “There was never any such conspiracy and
Yusuf never engaged in any attempt to have Jane Doe Two
engage in commercial sex. . . . Fabricated evidence formed
the basis of this false allegation against Yusuf.” SAC
¶ 20. The indictment also alleged that Jane Doe Two
engaged in commercial sex in connection with a road trip that
she, Yusuf, and others took from Minneapolis to Nashville,
Tennessee, in late April 2009. See SAC ¶¶
22-26; FSI ¶¶ 43-45. “Fabricated evidence
formed the basis of this false allegation against Yusuf,
” SAC ¶ 27, including false evidence regarding
Jane Doe Two's age, SAC ¶¶ 26, 35.
early 2012, as the parties in the Tennessee Case prepared for
trial, the district court granted a motion to sever some of
the counts, including Count 18, to be tried later. United
States v. Yusuf, No. 3:10cr260, Dkt. No. 1395 (M.D.
Tenn. Feb. 16, 2012).
April 2012, a criminal trial began in which Yusuf was tried
on the four sex-trafficking-related counts in which he was
charged. See SAC ¶ 37; United States v.
Adan, 913 F.Supp.2d 555, 560 (M.D. Tenn. 2012). The jury
acquitted him on Counts 2, 12, and 13, but found him guilty
on Count 1. See SAC ¶ 38; Adan, 913
F.Supp.2d at 560. He “would never have been indicted
on sex trafficking charges, ” nor would he have ever
been detained, nor convicted on Count 1, “had Weyker
and Bandemer not fabricated evidence, cultivated and
manipulated Jane Doe Two, manufactured testimony and misled
federal authorities.” SAC ¶¶ 39-41. On
December 19, 2012, “the district court granted
Yusuf's [Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29] motion
for judgment of acquittal on his sex trafficking conviction
and conditionally granted a new trial on Jane Doe Two's
age issue and the Government's violation of discovery
orders.” SAC ¶ 53 (citing Adan, 913
F.Supp.2d at 583, 591).
the district court's order granting the Rule 29 motion,
Yusuf moved for release from custody, and in February 2013,
he was released on conditions. SAC ¶¶ 54-55.
“The district court's decision, however, was
reversed on appeal  wherein the United States argued that
the salacious nature of the charges warranted continued
detention.” SAC ¶ 56. The appellate court noted
that Yusuf had “rebutted the presumption of
detention” but found that the relevant factors weighed
overall in favor of detention. United States v.
Fahra, No. 13-5296, Dkt. No. 61-1, at 6-8 (6th Cir. Dec.
18, 2013) (submitted in this case at DOJ Reply Ex. BB). These
factors included evidence at the trial and testimony at the
detention hearings, the fact that the jury convicted Yusuf on
Count 1, his “significant criminal history, ” and
“his post-release conduct-including numerous failed
drug screens and another arrest.” Id. at 7.
“Consequently, on December 18, 2013,  Yusuf was
falsely imprisoned again.” SAC ¶ 56. He then
remained in custody until March 2016, when the Sixth Circuit
decided an appeal of the order granting Yusuf's Rule 29
motion. See SAC ¶ 57; see also United
States v. Fahra, 643 Fed.Appx. 480 (6th Cir. Mar. 2,
2016). Yusuf was released from custody on March 4, 2016. SAC
Osman, Yusuf alleges that the charges of a wide-ranging
sex-trafficking conspiracy were baseless and that Weyker
fabricated “the overwhelming majority of material
evidence supporting his indictment for sex trafficking,
” SAC ¶ 29; that Weyker manipulated and coerced
Jane Doe witnesses, including Jane Doe Two, into lying, SAC
¶¶ 28, 31, 33, 39-41; that Weyker was motivated to
falsify evidence by a desire for professional success,
see SAC ¶ 14; and that indications of
Weyker's fabrication included her rough notes, SAC
¶¶ 34, 42-43, questions surrounding Jane Doe
Two's age, SAC ¶¶ 22, 26, questions surrounding
Jane Doe Two's April 2009 trip to Nashville, SAC
¶¶ 25, 34, and the district court's grant of
Yusuf's Rule 29 motion, SAC ¶ 53. Also like Osman,
Yusuf's complaint cites to remarks about Weyker and the
case by the district and appellate courts in the Tennessee
Case. SAC ¶¶ 22, 25, 30 n.1, 34, 42, 44-45.
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENTS
Court summarizes the parties' arguments to provide
context. The arguments are similar to those described in the
Osman Opinion, see Osman Opp. 8-10, but because
Yusuf is represented by different ...