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Kludt v. MCF-Rush City

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 30, 2018

DANIEL J. KLUDT, Plaintiff,
MCF-RUSH CITY; OFC. KUNZE, Indiv. & Offic. capacity; A-W, Indiv. & Offic. capacity; RUSH CITY MUNICIPAL WATER SOURCE; MCF-RUSH CITY MED. SERVICES; JEFF TITUS, Indiv. & Offic. capacity; TOM ROY, Indiv. & Offic. capacity; RUSH CITY, MN; EDWARD J. CLEARY; TRINA HENDRICKSON, Indiv. & Offic.; and BECKY GROSS, Indiv. & Offic.; Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court on a motion to dismiss Daniel J. Kludt's Third Amended Complaint. [Defs.' Mot., ECF No. 38; Third Am. Compl., ECF No. 28.] The motion was filed by the following defendants: MCF-Rush City, Officer Kunze, Jeff Titus, Tom Roy, A-W, MCF-Rush City Medical Services, the State of Minnesota, Chief Judge Edward J. Cleary, Trina Hendrickson, and Becky Gross (collectively “State Defendants”). The State Defendants raise several arguments in favor of their motion to dismiss. [Defs.' Mem., ECF No. 41.] Mr. Kludt has not responded to the motion. For the reasons that follow, the Court recommends that the State Defendants' motion be granted and the Third Amended Complaint be dismissed in its entirety.


         The Third Amended Complaint includes a concise list of allegations in six paragraphs. First, the Third Amended Complaint appears to assert a discrimination claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and two Minnesota statutes.[1] Mr. Kludt alleges that “in June 2017, Jeff Titus, OFC. Kunze, Tom Roy, A/W, State of Minnesota, discriminated against [Mr. Kludt] while actively preforming in Plaintiffs' invalid capacity, while exiting & or entering a medical detector. The discrimination resulted in injury[, ]” which is physical, emotional, and mental. [Third Am. Compl. ¶ I.]

         Second, the Third Amended Complaint alleges a violation of Mr. Kludt's constitutional rights based on the poor quality of the water at the MCF-Rush City prison facility. The pleading asserts that throughout 2017 “MCF-Rush City, Rush City MN, Jeff Titus, Tom Roy, Rush City Municipal Water Source, State of Minnesota, Edward J. Cleary, provided excessively contaminated H2O without access to an alternative, resulting in injury to Plaintiff.” [Third Am. Compl. ¶ II.]

         Third, Mr. Kludt asserts what appears to be a § 1983 claim[2] that he was denied access to the courts. He asserts that on November 3, 2017, “Jeff Titus, Tom Roy, Dept. of Corrections, State of Minnesota, interfered with legal help I depend on to exercise my rights, violations consistent with this occurred in Oct. of 2017 as well.” [Third Am. Compl. ¶ III.]

         Fourth, the Third Amended Complaint includes a § 1983 claim for retaliation based on religion. Mr. Kludt alleges that on September 21, 2017, “Hendrickson Trina, Dept. of Corrections, Tom Roy, retaliated against [Mr. Kludt] for reasons consistent with religious belief, in relations to treatment choices.” [Third Am. Compl. ¶ IV.]

         Fifth, Mr. Kludt asserts a § 1983 claim that appears to be based on a requirement that he engage in labor despite the fact that he is disabled.[3] He alleges that throughout 2017, “the State of Minnesota, Dept. of Corrections, Tom Roy, Becky Gross, MCF-Rush City Med. Services, Edward J. Cleary, forced [Mr. Kludt] to perform labor although [he] has been deemed 100 percent disabled, amongst other things.” [Third Am. Compl. ¶ V.]

         Finally, Mr. Kludt brings a §1983 claim based on an allegation that he was exposed to harmful inhalants while in the prison. Specifically, he states that on September 20, 2017, “the State of Minnesota, Dept. of Corrections, Tom Roy, Jeff Titus, gassed [Mr. Kludt] via the prison's ventilation system.” [Third Am. Compl. ¶ VI.]


         The State Defendants raise five arguments in their motion to dismiss the Third Amended Complaint. First, they contend that the pleading should be dismissed because it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Second, they argue that Mr. Kludt's claims against the State of Minnesota and its agencies, as well as any official-capacity claims against individual State officers, should be dismissed based on Eleventh Amendment immunity. Third, the State Defendants argue that State agencies and officials cannot be sued in their official capacities under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 because they are not “persons” who are subject to suit under that statute. Fourth, they contend that the Third Amended Complaint should be dismissed because it fails to comply with Rule 20's proscription on joining disparate claims against different defendants in a single lawsuit. Finally, the State Defendants argue that if all the federal claims in this case are dismissed, the Court should decline to exercise jurisdiction over Mr. Kludt's state law claims.

         Desean Thomas' Involvement

         Mr. Kludt filed the Third Amended Complaint in response to this Court's October 30, 2017 Order explaining that the earlier efforts he and his former co-plaintiff, Desean Lamont Thomas, had made at pleading their claims were deficient. [Order (Oct. 30, 2017), ECF No. 26.] Mr. Thomas is no longer a named plaintiff in this litigation. However, it appears Mr. Thomas, going by the name “Young Black Lion, ” assisted Mr. Kludt with the preparation of the Third Amended Complaint. [Third Am. Compl. at 1 (“Please Take Notice: that Young Black Lion is before the Court as Plaintiff's Fiduciary Guardian.”); id. at 3 (signature block indicating that Desean Thomas identifies himself as Young Black Lion and holds himself out to be the representative of Mr. Kludt).]

         As the defendants point out, there is no support in the record for the Court to conclude that Mr. Thomas has been appointed as Mr. Kludt's legal guardian. [Defs.' Mem. at 1 n.1, ECF No. 41.] Mr. Thomas is a non-lawyer, and as such, he cannot appear on Mr. Kludt's behalf. See Knoefler v. United Bank of Bismarck, 20 F.3d 347, 348 (8th Cir. 1994). ...

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