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Flores v. Moser

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 7, 2019

Mauro Flores, Plaintiff,
v.
Kevin Moser, Terry Kneisel, Peter Puffer, Courtney Menten, Paul Mayfield, and Shelby Richardson, Defendants.

          Mauro Flores, Pro Se.

          ORDER

          ANN D. MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge for a ruling on Plaintiff Mauro Flores' (“Flores”) Objections [Docket No. 47] to Magistrate Judge Katherine Menendez's January 7, 2019 Report and Recommendation [Docket No. 43] (“R&R”). In the R&R, Judge Menendez recommends granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 33]. The Court received Flores' Objections on January 29, 2019, after having issued an Order Adopting the R&R [Docket No. 45] on January 25, 2019 and entering Judgment [Docket No. 46] for Defendants on January 29, 2019. The Court will consider Flores' Objections to be timely and has reviewed them on their merits.[1] For the reasons stated below, Flores' Objections are overruled, the Order Adopting the R&R is amended to specify that Flores' federal claims are dismissed with prejudice, and the Judgment is also amended to specify that Flores' federal claims are dismissed with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The background is set forth in the R&R and is incorporated by reference. Briefly, Flores is a civilly committed detainee at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program in Moose Lake, Minnesota (“MSOP”). Am. Compl. [Docket No. 15, Attach. 1] ¶ 3. Defendants are MSOP employees. Id. ¶¶ 4-9. Flores filed this lawsuit alleging violations of his federal constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and asserting supplemental tort claims under state law. Flores alleges that Defendants violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by placing him in a small behavioral unit that holds no more than 4 people, not permitting him to leave the unit for over three weeks, not holding a hearing on his placement, and denying him the right to practice his religion. Id. ¶¶12-37.

         On September 7, 2016, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Flores' original complaint. Mot. Dism. [Docket No. 8]. Flores filed a response in opposition and sought leave to amend the complaint. Pl.'s Resp. [Docket No. 18]; Mot. Leave Amend [Docket No. 15]. Flores was permitted to amend his complaint as a matter of course under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1)(B), and Defendants' September 2016 motion to dismiss was denied as moot.

         Flores' Amended Complaint asserts federal claims for violation of his right to substantive and procedural due process (Counts I and II), violation of his right to free exercise of religion (Count III), deliberate indifference to his medical needs (Count IV), failure to protect from foreseeable harm (Count V), and failure to train and supervise employees (Count VI). Flores also asserts state law claims for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress (Counts VII and VIII). Id. ¶¶ 38-43.

         On March 22, 2017, Defendants filed this motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint. Defendants argued in part that Flores had not alleged sufficient facts to state a plausible claim for violations of the U.S. Constitution. For example, the Amended Complaint's Free Exercise claim does not identify his religion or specify how Flores was denied reasonable opportunities to exercise his religion. The deliberate indifference claim states that Defendants failed to provide Flores with “adequate mental health care, ” but does not allege any facts indicating that Defendants prevented him from receiving treatment. Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Dism. [Docket No. 36] at 16 (quoting Am. Compl. ¶ 30). The failure to protect claim does not allege any involvement by Defendants in any unconstitutional act. Id. at 16. Flores did not respond to the Motion and did not move to amend the Amended Complaint.

         On June 30, 2017, three months after Defendants' second motion to dismiss was filed but before any decision was issued, this case was stayed pending further proceedings in the related case of Karsjens v. Piper, Civ. No. 11-3659 (DWF/TNL) (D. Minn.). See Stay Order [Docket No. 40]. The stay was lifted on October 22, 2018. See Order Lifting Stay [Docket No. 42].

         On January 7, 2019, Judge Menendez issued the R&R recommending that Defendants' motion be granted and the Amended Complaint be dismissed. The R&R recommended dismissing all claims and specified that the state law claims should be dismissed without prejudice. After waiting 18 days with no objections to the R&R, the R&R was adopted and Judgment was entered for Defendants. Hours after entering the Judgment, the Court received Flores' Objections. The Court now considers the Objections to determine whether they warrant amending or vacating the Order Adopting the R&R or the Judgment.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

          A party “may file and serve specific written objections to a magistrate judge's proposed findings and recommendations.” D. Minn. L.R. 72.2(b)(1). In reviewing a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the district court “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); see also D. Minn. L.R. 72.2(b). A district judge ...


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