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Lopez v. Minnesota Vikings Football Stadium, LLC

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

June 12, 2018

Anastacio Lemus Lopez, Plaintiff,
Minnesota Vikings Football Stadium, LLC, Monterrey Security Consultants, Inc., Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, SMG, Janee Harteau, Andrew Hodynsky, Russell Cragin, Anthony Rodin, Michael Grahn, Stephen McCarty, Gerald Moore, Michael Fossum, Richard W. Stanek, David J. Hough, Michael O. Freeman, being sued in their individual and official capacities, Minnesota Vikings Football, LLC, Hennepin County, and City of Minneapolis, Defendants.


          Paul A. Magnuson United States District Court Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Hennepin County's[1] Motion to Dismiss. For the following reasons, the Motion is granted.


         During a Minnesota Vikings game at the U.S. Bank Stadium, Defendant Minneapolis police officers and an employee of Defendant Monterrey Security Consultants, Inc., were escorting Plaintiff Anastacio Lemus Lopez to a security processing center before ejecting him from the venue. (Am. Compl. (Docket No. 93) ¶¶ 30-38.) On the way, they allegedly “attacked [Lopez] while [he] was in custody, due to his color and ethnicity.” (Id. ¶ 1.) One Defendant police officer discharged his Taser on Lopez twice. (Id. ¶¶ 60-64.) The officers also allegedly hit and punched Lopez while he was pinned down on the floor. (Id. ¶¶ 51-52.)

         Paramedics on scene removed the Taser probes and treated Lopez for injuries to his right eye. (Id. ¶ 71.) The officers ultimately transported Lopez to the Hennepin County jail, where he was booked for attempting to disarm a police officer. (Id. ¶ 73.) The next day, a state court judge found sufficient probable cause to order Lopez's continued detention. (Martenson Decl. (Docket No. 148) Ex. 1.) A jury ultimately found Lopez not guilty. (Am. Compl. ¶ 79.) Lopez alleges that the County “falsely arrested, incarcerated, maliciously prosecuted, and failed to provide adequate medical attention.” (Id. ¶ 78.)

         The 14-Count Amended Complaint contains nine Counts against the County, including excessive use of force (Count I); a Monell violation (Count II); a § 1985 violation for conspiring to deprive Lopez of his civil rights (Count III); negligent failure to provide adequate medical care (Count VI); negligent training, hiring, retention, and supervision (Count VII); false imprisonment (Count XI); malicious prosecution (Count XII); and respondeat superior claims for intentional and negligent misconduct (Counts XIII and XIV). The County moves to dismiss for failure to state a claim.


         When evaluating a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court assumes the allegations in the Amended Complaint to be true and construes all reasonable inferences from those facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Morton v. Becker, 793 F.2d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1986). But the Court need not accept as true wholly conclusory allegations, Hanten v. Sch. Dist. of Riverview Gardens, 183 F.3d 799, 805 (8th Cir. 1999), or legal conclusions that the plaintiff draws from the facts pled. Westcott v. City of Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th Cir. 1990).

         A complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face” to survive a motion to dismiss. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Although a complaint need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ” it must contain facts with enough specificity “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” will not pass muster under Twombly. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). This standard “calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of [the claim].” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

         A. § 1983 Individual-Capacity Claims

         Count I is a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the individual County Defendants violated Lopez's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 80-81.) “Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to . . . § 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the official's own individual actions, has violated the Constitution.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676.

         Here, the Amended Complaint fails to allege a discrete act by any of the individual County Defendants. Cf. Ellis v. Norris, 179 F.3d 1078, 1079 (8th Cir. 1999) (affirming dismissal of a § 1983 complaint for “fail[ure] to allege facts supporting any individual defendant's personal involvement” in the alleged violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights). Thus, Count I is dismissed against the individual County Defendants.

         B. Municipal Liability

         Lopez claims that the County is liable under § 1983 for inadequately training its employees to provide medical assistance to inmates in jail. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978). As relevant here, “liability for a constitutional violation may attach to a municipality if the violation resulted from . . . a deliberately indifferent failure to train or supervise.” Corwin v. City of Independence, 829 F.3d 695, 699 (8th Cir. 2016); accord City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 389 (1989). A claim for inadequate training exists if (1) the county's “training practices [were] inadequate”; (2) the “failure to train reflects a deliberate or conscious choice” by the county; and (3) the “alleged deficiency in the . . . training procedures actually caused the plaintiff's injury.” Parrish v. Ball, 594 F.3d 993, 997 (8th Cir. 2010) (alterations in ...

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