United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Troy K. Scheffler, Plaintiff,
City of New Hope, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BRISBOIS, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the undersigned United States Magistrate
Judge upon the Judicial Defendants' Motion to Dismiss,
[Docket No. 44]; the City of New Hope's Motion to
Dismiss, [Docket No. 50]; and upon referral from the
Honorable Susan Richard Nelson. (Order of Reference [Docket
No. 59]). A hearing was held on December 17, 2018, after
which the Defendants' Motions were taken under
advisement. (Minute Entry [Docket No. 88]).
reasons discussed herein, it is recommended that the Judicial
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, [Docket No. 44], be
GRANTED; that the City of New Hope's
Motion to Dismiss, [Docket No. 50], be DENIED as
moot; and that the present action be
DISMISSED with prejudice.
Troy Scheffler initiated the present case on June 19, 2018,
by filing his Complaint. [Docket No. 1]. On August 30, 2018,
Plaintiff filed the now operative Amended Complaint. [Docket
No. 41]. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, [Docket No. 41],
names as Defendants Richard A. Trachy, Lucinda E. Jesson, Ivy
S. Bernhardson, Francis J. Connolly, James B. Florey
(hereinafter collectively the “Judicial
Defendants”) and the City of New Hope.
Trachy is a Minnesota State Judicial Referee. Defendants
Connolly, Jesson, and Florey are Justices on the Minnesota
Court of Appeals. And Defendant Bernhardson is the Chief
Judge of the Minnesota State District Court for the Fourth
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges as follows. On October
12, 2010, Plaintiff was charged with speeding by the City of
New Hope police department. (Id. at 4). Thereafter,
on April 7, 2011, Plaintiff reached an agreement with the
City of New Hope, through prosecuting attorney Steven
Sondrall, to “dismiss” the speeding charge.
(Id. at 5). The agreement provided that the speeding
charge would be “dismissed” if Plaintiff paid
$145.00 in prosecution costs and did not receive any new
traffic violations in the next year. (Id.). It
further provided“that if the agreement is terminated
and the prosecution resumes and a trial is held that
Plaintiff would then stipulate that on October 12, 2010 in
the City of New Hope [Plaintiff] was travelling northbound on
Highway 169 at a pees [sic] ¶ 67 mph. The speed limit on
Highway 169 is 55 mph.” (Id. at 5-6).
state court accepted the agreement on April 14, 2011.
(Id. at 6). And on October 9, 2012, the state court
dismissed the speeding charge.
March 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Petition for Expungement
pursuant to Rule 609A.02. Plaintiff was then provided a
“Notice of No. hearing” by the Hennepin County
Court Administrator. The notice provided that a hearing would
only be held if the court was considering denying the
petition. (Id. at 7).
6, 2016, Defendant Trachy denied Plaintiff's Petition
without a hearing. (Id. at 8). Defendant
Trachy's decision was co-signed by Defendant Bernhardson.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Trachy omitted from his
decision material portions of the expungement statute there
at issue, and Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Trachy
also crafted arguments on behalf of the City of New Hope.
(Id. at 8-12).
alleges that Defendant the City of New Hope did not object to
the denial. (Id. at 12). Plaintiff alleges, however,
that Defendant City of New Hope had a contractual and ethical
obligation to object to the denial of expungement because
Plaintiff was being denied the benefit of the bargain of
their agreement. (Id.).
21, 2016, Plaintiff filed an appeal of the denial of his
Petition. (Id. at 13). Plaintiff alleges that on
December 28, 2016, the Minnesota Court of Appeals
“reversed and remanded” the decision “based
on the fact that Defendant Trachy and Defendant Bernhardson
denied Scheffler his right to a hearing.”
March 16, 2017, Plaintiff appeared before Defendant Trachy
concerning the remanded Petition. (Id. at 13-16). On
April 7, 2017, Defendant Trachy again denied Plaintiff's
Petition, and that denial order was co-signed by Defendant
Bernhardson. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that the
denial order again misstated the statute at issue, and it
advocated for the City of New Hope who did not appear to
contest the Petition. Plaintiff further alleges that in the
order Defendants Trachy and Bernhardson “made a finding
of guilt by stating, ‘It is important to note that in
this present case, there is no question at all of
Petitioner's factual guilt.” (Id.)
(underlining in original).
12, 2017, Plaintiff appealed the denial of his Petition.
(Id. at 16). Defendants Florey, Connolly, and Jenson
denied Plaintiff's request for oral argument, and they
affirmed the denial of Plaintiff's Petition.
(Id. at 16-18).
December 28, 2017, Plaintiff filed a petition for
discretionary review to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
(Id.). And on February 20, 2018, that petition for
review was denied. (Id. at 18-20).
March 23, 2018, Plaintiff filed a second petition for
expungement (hereinafter the “Second Petition”).
(Id. at 20). On May 24, 2018, Plaintiff was provided
with a “notice of no hearing” which indicated
that a hearing would only be held if the court intend to deny
the Second Petition. (Id. at 20-21). On June 4,
2018, Defendant Trachy and Bernhardson issued an order
indicating that they intended to deny the Second Petition.
(Id. at 21).
filed a motion to disqualify Defendant Trachy due to alleged
bias. (Id.). On April 11, 2018, Defendant Trachy
issued an order denying the request to disqualify.
(Id. at 22).
also sought to schedule a hearing for a Rule 60.02 motion,
however, he alleges the “Hennepin County Court
Administrator” refused to schedule a hearing on
Plaintiff's Rule 60.02 motion. Plaintiff further alleges
that the Hennepin County Court Administrator supervisor told
Plaintiff that Defendant Bernhardson had said that Plaintiff
was required to wait on the Rule 60.02 motion.
April 18, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion to have Defendant
Bernhardson reconsider Defendant Trachy's decision
declining to disqualify himself. (Id. at 23).
Defendant Bernhardson assigned the matter to Judge Meyer. On
May 17, 2018, a hearing was held on Plaintiff ...