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Mendez v. Dole

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

August 29, 2017

Raphael Mendez, Plaintiff,
v.
Officer T. Dole, Lt. Sladek, Dr. Gabel, Unknown Unit Discipline Committee (UDC) Members, Unknown Discipline Hearing Officer (DHO) Members, Warden L. LaRiva, J. Petersen, Defendants.

          Raphael Mendez, Pro se.

          Erin M. Secord, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ANN D. MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter before the undersigned United States District Judge for a ruling on Plaintiff Raphael Mendez's (“Mendez”) Objection [Docket No. 45] to Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson's June 26, 2017 Report and Recommendation [Docket No. 44] (“R&R”). Mendez objects to Judge Thorson's recommendation to grant Defendants Officer T. Dole, Lt. Sladek, Dr. Gabel, Unknown Discipline Committee (UDC) Members, Unknown Discipline Hearing Officer (DHO) Members, and Warden L. LaRiva's (collectively, “Defendants”[1]) Motion to Dismiss or Motion for Summary Judgment [Docket No. 23]. For the reasons set forth below, Mendez's Objection is overruled, the R&R is adopted, and the Motion is granted.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The complete background of this dispute is fully set forth in the R&R and is incorporated by reference. Briefly, Mendez, a civil commitment detainee at the Federal Medical Center (“FMC”) in Rochester, Minnesota, alleges that on July 25, 2016, he was placed in the Segregated Housing Unit (“SHU”) after Defendant Officer Olson determined that Mendez had written a threatening email directed towards his workshop supervisor, Mr. Jacobson. Defendant Dr. Gabel, FMC Rochester's Chief Psychologist, interviewed Mendez and concluded that Mendez was not responsible for his threatening email because of his delusional beliefs. The Discipline Hearing Officer (“DHO”) concurred with Dr. Gabel's recommendation, and Mendez was released from the SHU on August 1, 2016.

         On September 19, 2016, Mendez submitted an administrative claim under 31 U.S.C. § 3723(a)(1) for items he alleges were stolen from him while he was in the SHU. Mendez claimed he lost personal property valued at $203.75 and legal documents valued at $9, 796.25. This claim was reviewed and denied.

         On August 5, 2016, Mendez filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking monetary compensation and a transfer to FMC Butner, an institution in North Carolina. On January 31, 2017, Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss or Motion for Summary Judgment.

         In the R&R, Judge Thorson concluded that Mendez's claims are barred by sovereign immunity. Even if sovereign immunity did not apply, Judge Thorson determined that Mendez's confinement in the SHU was not a due process violation, and that his allegation concerning his lost property also did not rise to an actionable claim. Mendez objects.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         The standard of review of a magistrate judge's order on a dispositive issue is de novo. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); D. Minn. LR 72.2. “The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.” D. Minn L.R. 72.2(b).

         B. ...


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