United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Merrill Hogy, pro se plaintiff.
Brandon L Boese, OFFICE OF THE MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL,
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE
23, 2016, Plaintiff Steven Hogy filed this action against
various individuals, collectively referred to as
"Defendants," alleging that the conditions of his
civil commitment violated his constitutional rights.
Defendants subsequently filed two Motions to Dismiss.
Plaintiff has objected to Magistrate Judge Leo I.
Brisbois's Order and Report and Recommendation
("R&R"), which recommended that the Court grant
Defendants' Motions. Because the Magistrate Judge
correctly determined that Plaintiff is precluded from raising
the issues underlying Counts 1 and 2, and correctly
determined that Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted as to Count 3, the Court will adopt the
R&R in its entirety.
is civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program
("MSOP"). (Mot. for Leave, Proposed Am. Compl.
("PAC") ¶ 1, Jan. 25, 2017, Docket No. 47-1.)
He is currently housed at MSOP's Moose Lake Complex 1
facility. (Id. ¶ 9.) The Moose Lake Complex 1
facility, and the conditions of confinement there, have been
the subject of litigation for several years. In 2011,
individuals civilly committed at Moose Lake filed a 28 U.S.C.
§ 1983 class action complaint against Minnesota state
officials, alleging that the policies, procedures, and
conditions of their confinement amounted to a violation of
their constitutional rights. See generally Karsjens v.
Jess on, Civ. No. 11-3659 (DWF/JJK), 2015 WL 420013 (D.
Minn. Feb. 2, 2015). The Karsjens class brought
thirteen separate claims, but pertinent to this case are
counts I, II, V, and VII. Count I challenged the MSOP as
facially unconstitutional and count II alleged that the MSOP
was unconstitutional as applied. Id. at *4. In count
V, the Karsjens class alleged that the defendants
had "denied Plaintiffs the right to be free from
punishment in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution and the Minnesota
Constitution." Id. Similarly, count VII alleged
that the defendants had "denied Plaintiffs the right to
be free from inhumane treatment in violation of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and
the Minnesota Constitution." Id.
17, 2015, after a six-week bench trial, the District Court
held that the MSOP was facially unconstitutional and
unconstitutional as applied, and therefore found for the
class plaintiffs on counts I and II. See generally
Karsjens v. Jesson, 109 F.Supp.3d 1139 (D. Minn. 2015).
The Court declined to address the remaining counts- including
counts V and VII-at that time, because the remedy fashioned
for counts I and II would address the issues raised in those
counts. Id. at 1173.
Karsjens defendants appealed the Court's
rulings. On January 3, 2017, the Eighth Circuit Court of
Appeals reversed the District Court on counts I and II and
remanded the case for further proceedings. Karsjens v.
Piper, 845 F.3d 394 (8th Cir. 2017). The
Eighth Circuit first held that the MSOP is facially
constitutional because it is rationally related to
Minnesota's legitimate interest to protect its citizens.
Id. at 410. The court then held that the
Karsjens class had failed to show that the
conditions of their confinement rose to a level that shocks
the conscience, and that they therefore failed to show that
the MSOP was unconstitutional as applied. Id. at
remand, the Karsjens defendants moved for summary
judgment on the claims that had not been explicitly addressed
by the Eighth Circuit. The District Court granted that
motion, stating that "in light of the Eighth
Circuit's decision, the Court finds that Defendants are
not liable." Karsjens v. Piper, 336 F.Supp.3d
974, 987 (D. Minn. 2018). Specifically with regard to counts
V and VII, the Court held that "the Eighth Circuit's
holdings and reasoning preclude finding a substantive due
process violation under Counts V and VII." Id.
22, 2016, before the Eighth Circuit issued its decision on
the Karsjens appeal, and therefore before the
District Court dismissed the remainder of the
Karsjens claims, Plaintiff filed this case.
Plaintiff claims that the physical conditions and the
policies of confinement within the Complex 1 facility result
in the violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights to be
free from punishment (Count I) and be free from inhumane
treatment (Count II); and deny him equal protection of the
law (Count III). (PAC ¶¶ 179-207.)
both before and after the Eighth Circuit's decision,
filed Motions to Dismiss the Complaint. (1st Mot.
to Dismiss, Nov. 14, 2016, Docket No. 12; 2nd Mot.
to Dismiss, Mar. 6, 2017, Docket No. 60.) Pertinent here,
Defendants argued that the Karsjens litigation and
the ensuing decisions by the District Court and the Eighth
Circuit preclude Plaintiff from bringing Counts 1 and 2, and
that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief
could be granted as to Count 3. The Magistrate Judge took
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss under consideration. On
January 4, 2019, the Magistrate Judge wrote an Order and
R&R recommending that the Court dismiss Plaintiff's
claims and denied Plaintiff's Motion for leave to Amend
his Complaint. (R. & R. at 23, Jan. 4, 2019, Docket No.
83.) Plaintiff now objects to the R&R. (Obj., Jan. 18,
2019, Docket No. 84.)
Objections to the Report and Recommendation
the filing of a report and recommendation by a Magistrate
Judge, "a party may serve and file specific written
objections to the proposed findings and
recommendations." Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2); accord
D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(1). Dispositive orders which have been
properly objected to are subject to de novo review.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); accord D. Minn. LR
72.2(b)(3). Thus, the Court will consider the dispositive
portions of the R&Rto which Plaintiff has objected de
Motion to Dismiss
a complaint under a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the
Court considers all facts alleged in the complaint as true
and construes the pleadings in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. See, e.g., Turner v. Holbrook,278 F.3d 754, 757 (8th Cir. 2002). To survive a
motion to dismiss, however, a complaint must provide more
than '"labels and conclusions' or 'a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). That is, to avoid dismissal, a
complaint must include "sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Id. (internal quotation
marks omitted). "Though pro se complaints are to ...