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Yang v. McNeill

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 2, 2017

Taeng Yang, Plaintiff,
Michael McNeill, et al., Defendants.



         This matter came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to an order of referral, [Docket No. 15], made in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), and upon Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, [Docket No. 9], and Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint, [Docket No. 21]. Briefing was completed on both Motions on September 19, 2017, and the Motions were taken under advisement on September 20, 2017. (See, Order, [Docket No. 23]).

         For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint, [Docket No. 21], is DENIED. In addition, the undersigned recommends that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, [Docket No. 9], be GRANTED, and the case be DISMISSED with prejudice.


         The following facts are taken from the Minnesota Court of Appeals' opinion in State v. Yang, 814 N.W.2d 716, 717-18 (Minn.App. 2012).

On a November 2010 afternoon, [City of St. Paul Police Department] Officers Michael McNeill and Seth Wilson were patrolling the St. Paul Frogtown neighborhood when a police dispatcher relayed a 911 report that an Asian male wearing red pants had a gun at a particular residential address in their area. The officers recognized the address, associating it with drugs and arrests.
Officers McNeill and Wilson, and others, arrived and saw four or five men of Asian descent entering the front yard from the porch, one of the men wearing red pants. The officers immediately took cover behind their squad cars, drew their handguns, and ordered the men to the ground. Officer Wilson handcuffed the man wearing red pants, Theng Yang[2], and asked him where the gun was. Yang told him that it was in his coat pocket. Officer Wilson found a handgun there. . . .
Because he was previously convicted of a felony, Yang could not lawfully possess any firearm anywhere, so the state charged him with unlawful firearm possession. Yang moved the district court to suppress evidence of the gun, arguing that the detaining police officers lacked a reasonable, articulable suspicion that he was involved in criminal activity. The district court denied the motion, deeming the stop to have been justified.
Yang waived his right to a jury and the state submitted the case to the district court judge in a stipulated-facts trial. The district court found Yang guilty and convicted him of unlawful firearm possession. It sentenced him to 60 months in prison over his motion for a downward dispositional sentencing departure. Yang appeal[ed], challenging the denial of his motion to suppress and the denial of his sentencing motion.

Id. at 717-718.

         In an opinion issued June 18, 2012, the Minnesota Court of Appeals concluded that the detention and search had violated Yang's Fourth Amendment rights. Id. at 720-22. Accordingly, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed his conviction “because the unconstitutional detention and search produced the evidence that led to his conviction.” Id.

         On April 13, 2017, while imprisoned for a subsequent, unrelated conviction, Yang initiated the case presently before this Court by filing his Complaint, [Docket No. 1]. Yang named as defendants the City of St. Paul Police Department, Officer McNeill, Officer Wilson, and Sergeant Matthew Toupal (hereinafter collectively referred to as “Defendants”). (Compl., [Docket No. 1], 4). Attached to Yang's Complaint is a supplemental offense/incident report authored by Sergeant Toupal related to his investigation into the events of November 2010, and Yang alleges that Sergeant Toupal “decided to accept the statement of the two other officers and then decided to press charges” against Yang which ultimately led to Yang's 2010 conviction. ([Docket No. 1-1], 2; [Docket No.1-2], 19-20). Yang asserts a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the violation of his Fourth Amendment rights in 2010 as recognized by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and he seeks compensatory damages in the amount of $750, 000 as well as punitive damages and costs. (Compl., [Docket No. 1], 4-5; [Docket No. 1-1], 1).

         On July 17, 2017, Defendants filed the present Motion to Dismiss, [Docket No. 9], in which they seek dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on the grounds that Yang's claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. (See, Mem. in Supp., [Docket No. 11], 1). United States District Judge Joan N. Ericksen thereafter referred the Motion to Dismiss to the undersigned for report and recommendation. (Order, [Docket No. 15]).

         On September 5, 2017, Yang filed a Response in Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, [Docket No. 19], and the present Motion to Amend his Complaint, [Docket No. 21]. Briefing on both Motions was completed on September 19, 2017, at which time the ...

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