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Pennywell v. Catholic Charities of Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 2, 2017

Dion C. Pennywell, Plaintiff,
v.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Defendant.

          Dion C. Pennywell, pro se, for Plaintiff.

          Kari Dahlin for Defendant.

          ORDER AND REPORT & RECOMMENDATION

          FRANKLIN L. NOEL, United States Magistrate Judge.

         THIS MATTER came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge on Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings (ECF No. 22). This matter was referred to the undersigned for Report and Recommendation pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1. See Order, ECF No. 27. For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned recommends that Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings be GRANTED, and the undersigned orders Plaintiff to show cause why Defendant's request for a pre-filing injunction should not be granted.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         Plaintiff alleges that on September 4, 2014, Saint Paul Police approached him while he was in the park across from the Dorothy Day Center, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 7. According to Plaintiff, an officer informed him that a Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis (“Defendant”) employee informed the officer that they saw Plaintiff consuming alcohol in the park. Id. at ¶ 8. Plaintiff informed the officer that he was sober and does not drink alcohol. Id. at ¶ 10. Plaintiff, nevertheless, alleges that he was ticketed and charged with drinking in public and loitering with criminal intent. Id. at ¶ 15. Plaintiff subsequently filed multiple complaints with Defendant asking for an explanation from Defendant for the false, slanderous. and retaliatory statements he alleges were directed at himself, his girlfriend, and his family. Id. at ¶ 17. Plaintiff has not received an answer from the Defendant. Id. at ¶ 18. Plaintiff alleges, as a result, he has suffered damage to his reputation, embarrassment, and emotional distress, and seeks damages in the amount of 10 million dollars. Id. at ¶ 23-24.

         II. STANDARD OF LAW

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) permits a party, after the pleadings have closed, to move for a judgment on the pleadings. Judgment of the pleadings is appropriate when the movant has shown that “no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Poehl v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 528 F.3d 1093, 1096 (8th Cir. 2008) (quotation omitted). “An issue of fact is deemed to be material if the outcome of the case might be altered by its resolution one way rather than another.” Iowa Beef Processors, Inc. v. Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of N. Am., 627 F.2d 853, 855 (8th Cir. 1980) (quotation omitted). When considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings, a court must “view all facts pleaded by the nonmoving party as true and grant all reasonable inferences in favor of that party.” Poel, 528 F.3d at 1096.

         A motion for judgment on the pleadings is evaluated under the same standard as a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Bass v. Anoka Cnty., 998 F.Supp.2d 813, 818-19 (D. Minn. 2014). “To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to a state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 819 (quoting Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009)) (quotation omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         III. MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS (ECF No. 22)

         Defendant moves for judgment on the pleadings arguing that Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state a claim for relief. See e.g., ECF No. 22. Defendant asserts that even if all of Plaintiff's allegations are true, they do not sufficiently put Defendant on notice of the nature of Plaintiff's claims against it. Id. To the extent that Plaintiff's claims can be construed as a claim for defamation, that such a claim is barred by the two-year statute of limitations. Id.

         Taking the facts pleaded by Plaintiff as true, and granting Plaintiff all reasonable inferences in his favor, Plaintiff has failed to assert a claim for which relief can be granted. Plaintiff has presented no facts which would entitle him to relief. It is unclear from the Complaint, and this Court will not endeavor to speculate, as to Plaintiff's claims against the Defendant. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's employees made false, slanderous, and retaliatory statements directed at Plaintiff, his girlfriend, and his family. Plaintiff, however, does not state the nature of those statements or when such statements were made. Plaintiff has not established that there are any material issues of fact yet to be resolved. Plaintiff's claim stems from a ticket he received from Saint Paul Police, it is unclear how this single incident, occurring more than two-years before Plaintiff filed this matter, evidences the continued harassment Plaintiff alleges. See e.g., Poel, 528 F.3d 1093. As such, this Court finds that Defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         IV. DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR A PRE-FILING INJUNCTION

         In conjunction with its motion for judgment on the pleadings, Defendant has requested the Court enjoin Plaintiff from filing any lawsuits against Defendant for any fact that occurred up to, and including, October 3, 2016, the date this action was filed, unless Plaintiff first ...


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