United States District Court, D. Minnesota
James E. Curtis, Plaintiff,
Jeff Gutzmer, Defendant.
E. Curtis, Pro Se.
Bell, Esq., Minnesota Attorney General's Office for
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff James E.
Curtis's Objections [Doc. No. 29] to United States
Magistrate Judge Leo I. Brisbois's Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) dated January 23, 2018
[Doc. No. 28]. The magistrate judge recommended that
Defendant Jeff Gutzmer's Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 12]
to statute, this Court reviews de novo any portion
of the magistrate judge's R&R to which specific
objections are made, and “may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations” contained in that R&R. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(C); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b);
D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3). For the reasons stated herein, the
Court overrules Plaintiff's Objection and adopts the
R&R in its entirety.
facts of this case, taken from Plaintiff's Complaint, are
thoroughly detailed in the background section of the R&R,
which the Court incorporates by reference here. Briefly
stated, Plaintiff James Curtis is an inmate from the state of
Washington who was formerly housed within the Minnesota
Department of Corrections (“MNDOC”) pursuant to
the Interstate Corrections Compact. (Compl. [Doc. No. 1], at
11.) For a period of just over five months, beginning on
October 10, 2014, Plaintiff was housed in Minnesota's Oak
Park Heights facility. (Id. at 16, 56.) Plaintiff
spent most of that time in a segregation unit due to prior
incidents of misconduct at MCF-Stillwater. (Id. at
13-16, 42, 50-53.) During his brief time at MCF-Oak Park
Heights, Plaintiff alleges that he faced nearly continuous
mistreatment and abuse from guards and staff, such as having
his food poisoned and his cell contaminated with repugnant
“malodorant[s].” (See generally id.) As
a result, Plaintiff filed constant complaints with the prison
staff, including over 150 pages of informal kites and formal
grievances which he attached as exhibits to his complaint.
(See, e.g., Compl. Ex. 1, at 51-70.) On March 26,
2015, Plaintiff was transferred back to the state of
Washington. (Compl., at 13.)
subsequently filed this pro se lawsuit, naming Lieutenant
Jeff Gutzmer of MCF-Oak Park Heights as the sole defendant.
Plaintiff claims that Defendant conspired with other prison
officials to have him transferred back to Washington in
retaliation for his use of the grievance process. Magistrate
Judge Brisbois construed Plaintiff's Complaint to allege
one count each of retaliatory transfer and civil conspiracy
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (R&R, at 13-14.) The
Complaint seeks declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief
against Defendant in his official and unofficial capacities.
Defendant timely moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (See
Def. Gutzmer's Mot. to Dismiss [Doc. No. 12].)
carefully analyzing the allegations in the Complaint,
Magistrate Judge Brisbois recommended that the Court grant
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. First, Magistrate Judge
Brisbois recommended that Plaintiff's claims for monetary
relief against Defendant in his official capacity be
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to
the Eleventh Amendment, and that Plaintiff's claim for
declaratory relief be dismissed for failure to state a proper
claim for declaratory judgment. (R&R, at 18-20.) Second,
Magistrate Judge Brisbois concluded that Plaintiff failed to
plead sufficient facts to make out a prima facie case of
either retaliatory transfer or civil conspiracy against
Defendant, in large part because he did not sufficiently
allege Defendant's personal involvement in the transfer
itself, or in a conspiracy to transfer. (Id. at 25,
27.) Therefore, the magistrate judge recommends that
Plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief against
Defendant in his official and individual capacities, and
Plaintiff's claims for monetary damages against Defendant
in his individual capacity be dismissed. (Id.)
Plaintiff timely filed an Objection to the R&R, and for
the reasons below, the Court overrules the Objection and
adopts the R&R.
Standard of Review
issuance of an R&R, a party may “serve and file
specific written objections to the proposed findings
and recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2) (emphasis
added). “The objections should specify the portion of
the magistrate judge's [R&R] to which objections are
made and provide a basis for those objections.”
Mayer v. Walvatne, No. 07-cv-1958, 2008 WL 4527774,
at *2 (D. Minn. Sept. 28, 2008). Objections which are not
specific but merely parrot arguments already presented to and
considered by the magistrate judge are not entitled to de
novo review. Dunnigan v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg.
Corp., No. 15-cv-2626, 2017 WL 825200, at *3 (D. Minn.
Mar. 2, 2017) (citing Mashak v. Minnesota, No.
11-cv-473, 2012 WL 928251, at *2 (D. Minn. Mar. 19, 2012)).
Furthermore, when presenting arguments to a magistrate judge,
parties must put forth “not only their ‘best
shot' but all of their shots.” Ridenour v.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharm., Inc., 679 F.3d 1062, 1067
(8th Cir. 2012) (quotations and citations omitted). Thus, a
party cannot, in her objections to an R&R, raise
arguments that were not clearly presented to the magistrate
judge. Hammann v. 1-800 Ideas.com, Inc., 455
F.Supp.2d 942, 947-48 (D. Minn. 2006).