United States District Court, D. Minnesota
JOSEPH DAVID TURNER, for himself and a parent of I.T., Plaintiff,
STATE OF MINNESOTA and SARA L. GREWING, in her official capacity as Presiding Judge, Judicial Branch, Family Court, Ramsey County, Defendants.
DAVID TURNER, PRO SE.
KATHRYN IVERSON LANDRUM, FOR DEFENDANTS.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT &
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Joseph David Turner filed this civil rights action against
the State of Minnesota (the “State”) and Ramsey
County District Judge Sara L. Grewing (collectively,
“Defendants”). Turner's claims arise out of his
dissatisfaction with child custody proceedings in state
court. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, and in a Report
and Recommendation (“R&R”), United States
Magistrate Judge Franklin L. Noel recommended granting the
motion because the State is entitled to Eleventh Amendment
immunity and Judge Grewing is entitled to judicial immunity.
Because Defendants are entitled to immunity, the Court will
adopt the R&R and dismiss Turner's complaint with
November 21, 2016, Turner filed a civil-rights complaint
alleging that various events that occurred during a
state-court proceeding to determine the custody of his son
violated Turner's Fourteenth Amendment rights to due
process and equal protection. (Compl. ¶¶ 13, 16-23,
Nov. 21, 2016, Docket No. 1.)
March 20, 2017, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim and lack of jurisdiction. After
briefing and a hearing, on June 7, 2017, the Magistrate Judge
issued an R&R recommending dismissal of the complaint
because Judge Grewing is entitled to absolute judicial
immunity and the State is entitled to Eleventh Amendment
immunity. (R&R at 4-6, June 7, 2017, Docket No. 29.)
20, 2017, Turner filed a letter to the Court accompanied by a
number of exhibits. (See Obj. to R&R, June 20,
2017, Docket No. 30; Sealed Exhibits, June 20, 2017, Docket
Nos. 31-59; Audio CD, June 20, 2017, Docket No. 60.) In the
letter, Turner states before the hearing on Defendants'
motion to dismiss, Turner “was told not to file
evidence with [the] complaint, ” because “it was
not the right time, ” but he was concerned that his
evidence had not received “thoughtful
consideration.” (Obj. to R&R at 1.) Turner also
provided citations to statutes and cases to support his
argument that Judge Grewing is not entitled to judicial
immunity. (Id. at 1-3.) Turner filed a second letter
two days later, containing no legal arguments, with two
additional exhibits attached. (Sealed Letter to District
Judge, June 22, 2017, Docket No. 63.) The Court construes
Turner's letter filed June 20, 2017 as an objection to
STANDARD OF REVIEW
the filing of a report and recommendation by a magistrate
judge, “a party may serve and file specific written
objections to the proposed findings and
recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2);
accord D. Minn. LR 72.2(b). “The district
judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate
judge's disposition that has been properly objected
to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). “The objections
should specify the portions of the magistrate judge's
report and recommendation to which objections are made and
provide a basis for those objections.” Mayer v.
Walvatne, No. 07-1958, 2008 WL 4527774, at *2 (D. Minn.
Sept. 28, 2008). “Objections which are not specific but
merely repeat arguments presented to and considered by a
magistrate judge are not entitled to de novo review, but
rather are reviewed for clear error.” Montgomery v.
Compass Airlines, LLC, 98 F.Supp.3d 1012, 1017 (D. Minn.
reviewing a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6),
the Court considers all facts alleged in the complaint as
true to determine if the complaint states a “claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Braden v.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th
Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009)). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must
provide more than “‘labels and conclusions'
or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause
of action.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007)). Although the Court accepts the complaint's
factual allegations as true, it is “not bound to accept
as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) challenges the
Court's subject matter jurisdiction and requires the
Court to examine whether it has authority to decide the
claims.” Damon v. Groteboer, 937 F.Supp.2d
1048, 1063 (D. Minn. 2013). In a facial challenge to
jurisdiction such as this, “all of the factual
allegations concerning jurisdiction are presumed to be true
and the motion is successful if the plaintiff fails to allege
an element necessary for subject matter jurisdiction.”
Titus v. Sullivan, 4 F.3d 590, 593 (8th
Cir. 1993). In other words, in a facial challenge, the Court
“determine[s] whether the asserted jurisdictional basis
is patently meritless by looking to the face of the
complaint, and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of
the plaintiff.” Biscanin v. Merrill Lynch &
Co., 407 F.3d 905, 907 (8th Cir. 2005)