United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Judy A. Hockbein, Plaintiff,
Pine County; and Denise Christiansen and Jami Tuve, Pine County employees, in their individual and official capacities, Defendants.
Zorislav R. Leyderman, Esq., The Law Office of Zorislav R.
Leyderman, counsel for Plaintiff.
Margaret A. Skelton, Esq., and Timothy S. Christensen, Esq.,
Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A., counsel for Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Judy Hockbein sued Pine County (“County”) and two
Pine County probation office employees (“Individual
Defendants”), alleging violations of her Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights as well as malicious prosecution
and negligence under state common law. This matter is before
the Court on Defendants' motion for judgment on the
pleadings. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants
in part and denies in part Defendants' motion.
2016, Hockbein was charged with disorderly conduct in Pine
County, Minnesota, for which she was sentenced to six months
unsupervised probation and payment of $100 in court costs.
(Doc. No. 1 (“Compl.”) ¶¶ 10-11.)
Hockbein's probation was set to expire on June 12, 2017.
(Id. ¶ 11.) The sentencing order directed
Hockbein to pay $100 within six months, i.e. June
12, 2017. Defendant Christiansen, a Pine County Probation
employee, also sent two letters to Hockbein detailing the
conditions of Hockbein's unsupervised probation. (Doc.
No. 21 (“Christiansen Aff.”) ¶ 3, Ex. 2;
¶ 4, Ex. 3; see also Compl. ¶¶
12-13.) Both letters specifically stated that Hockbein must
pay $100 by June 12, 2017. Neither letter indicated that
Hockbein needed to fulfill any part of that financial
obligation before June 12, 2017.
May 2017, Hockbein had not satisfied the financial obligation
of her probation. Pine County Probation Policy 5-610 states
that “[v]iolation reports should be filed 60 days prior
to expiration of probation.” (Christiansen Aff. ¶
5, Ex. 4.) Consequently, on May 17, 2017, Christiansen and
Tuve filed a Probation Violation Report concerning Hockbein
with the Pine County District Court (the “PVR”).
(Compl. ¶ 19; Christiansen Aff. ¶ 6, Ex. 5.) In a
section titled “ALLEGED
VIOLATION, ” the PVR stated: “1.
Failure to pay court ordered fine, ” and “2.
Failure to cooperate with probation.” (Id.
(emphasis in original).) The PVR further stated:
The defendant was sentenced on 12/12/2016 and given a stay of
adjudication with the condition of paying 100 dollars in
court costs. A letter was sent to the defendant on 4/13/17
reminding her of outstanding conditions. As of today no
contact has been made with probation and no payment has been
(Id.) Christiansen and Tuve also filed a Proposed
Probation Violation Summons or Warrant. (Christiansen Aff.
¶ 7, Ex. 6.) On May 19, 2017, the Honorable Krista
Martin, Pine County District Judge, summoned Hockbein to
appear at a June 23, 2017 hearing to respond to the PVR.
(Compl. ¶ 21; Christiansen Aff. ¶ 8, Ex. 7
(“Summons”).) Although the Summons was addressed
to the same address at which Hockbein received
Christiansen's earlier letters, Hockbein denies receiving
the Summons. (Id.)
8, 2017, Hockbein made a $200 payment to Pine County Court
Administration over the telephone. (Compl. ¶ 15;
Christiansen Aff. ¶ 9, Ex. 8.) The payment is reflected
on Hockbein's court file, No. 58-CR-16-614, and Receipt
No. 0058-2017-00857 was issued for it. (Christiansen Aff.
¶ 9, Ex. 8.) At the end of her unsupervised probation on
June 12, 2017, Hockbein had satisfied all the conditions of
her unsupervised probation. (Compl. ¶ 15.) Hockbein was
not aware, however, of the PVR and Summons. (Id.)
23, 2017, the Honorable Heather Wynn, Pine County District
Judge, held a hearing concerning the PVR, but Hockbein did
not appear. (Compl. ¶ 22; Doc. No. 22 (“Skelton
Aff.”) ¶ 2, Ex. 1.) Following the hearing, Judge
Wynn issued a warrant for Hockbein's arrest because
“[o]n 06/23/2017, [Hockbein] failed to obey the
order/summons of the court to appear for Probation Violation
Hearing.” (Compl. ¶ 22; Christiansen Aff. ¶
10, Ex. 9.) Consequently, on July 16, 2017, White Bear Lake
Police arrested Hockbein after a traffic stop and transported
her to the Ramsey County jail. (Compl. ¶¶ 23-24.)
Hockbein, who had never been arrested, was strip-searched,
booked into the Ramsey County jail, and spent the night in a
cell with an inmate undergoing heroin withdrawal.
(Id. ¶¶ 23-30.) The Pine County
Sheriff's Office transported Hockbein to the Pine County
jail the next day, where she was again detained overnight.
(Id. ¶ 32.)
18, 2017, when Hockbein appeared before the Honorable
Jonathan Jasper, Pine County District Judge, the prosecutor
explained that Hockbein had satisfied her financial
obligations on June 8, 2017-four days before the deadline
established by her sentencing order-and requested that Judge
Jasper dismiss the probation violation and close the file.
(Id. ¶ 33; Skelton Aff. ¶ 3, Ex. 2.) Judge
Jasper did so and ordered that Hockbein be released
immediately. (Id.) Hockbein was transferred back to
the Pine County jail and released shortly thereafter. (Compl.
November 27, 2017, Hockbein filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and state common law, alleging that Pine County
and Pine County Probation Office employees Denise
Christiansen and Jami Tuve (collectively,
“Defendants”) violated her Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights, committed malicious prosecution, and were
negligent in investigating her probation violation.
(Id. ¶¶ 36-56.) As a result, Hockbein
alleges that she suffered loss of freedom and liberty, severe
emotional trauma and distress, nightmares, general fear and
insecurity, fear of driving, fear of leaving the house,
stress, anxiety, depression, shame, humiliation,