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Corrigan v. City of Savage

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 4, 2019

John L. Corrigan, Jr., Plaintiff,
City of Savage, a municipal entity; Kyle Klapperick, Police Officer; Alexandria Marklowitz, Police Officer; Amber Bernier, a private individual; Nelson Rhodus, Assistant Scott County Attorney; Christian Wilton, Judge; Lynn Hanson, Probation Officer; Gabe Kerkaert, Police Officer; Edward Culbreth, Officer; Ashley Uthe, Police Officer; Luke Hennen, Scott County Sheriff; and Scott County, a municipality, Defendants.

          John L. Corrigan, Jr., Shakopee, MN, pro se.

          Kathryn Iverson Landrum, Assistant Attorney General, Minnesota Attorney General's Office, St. Paul, MN, on behalf of Judge Christian Wilton.

          Daniel P. Kurtz, Esq., League of Minnesota Cities, St. Paul, MN, on behalf of City of Savage, Gabe Kerkaert, Edward Culbreth, Kyle Klapperick, Alexandria Marklowitz, and Ashley Uthe.

          Anna L. Yunker, Esq., and William J. Everett, Esq., Everett & VanderWeil, P.L.L.P., Rosemount, MN, on behalf of Nelson Rhodus, Lynn Hanson, Luke Hennen, and Scott County.




         This matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge for a ruling on Plaintiff John L. Corrigan, Jr.'s (“Corrigan”) Objection [Docket No. 86] to Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson's January 14, 2019 Report and Recommendation [Docket No. 85] (“R&R”). In the R&R, Judge Thorson recommends granting Defendant Judge Christian Wilton's (“Judge Wilton”) Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint [Docket No. 35]; granting Defendants City of Savage, Police Officer Gabe Kerkaert (“Officer Kerkaert”), Police Officer Edward Culbreth (“Officer Culbreth”), Police Officer Kyle Klapperick (“Officer Klapperick”), Police Officer Alexandria Marklowitz (“Officer Marklowitz”), and Police Officer Ashley Uthe's (“Officer Uthe”) (collectively, the “Savage City Defendants”) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [Docket No. 45]; granting Defendants Scott County, Assistant Scott County Attorney Nelson Rhodus (“Prosecutor Rhodus”), Scott County Sheriff Luke Hennen (“Sheriff Hennen”), and Probation Officer Lynn Hanson's (“Probation Officer Hanson”) (collectively, the “Scott County Defendants”) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [Docket No. 50]; granting Defendant Amber Bernier's (“Bernier”) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [Docket No. 69]; and dismissing Corrigan's Amended Complaint [Docket No. 23].

         Responses to Corrigan's Objection have been filed by Judge Wilton [Docket No. 87], the Savage City Defendants [Docket No. 88], and the Scott County Defendants [Docket No. 89].

         After a de novo review of the record, and for the reasons stated below, the Objection is overruled and the R&R is adopted.


         The factual background of this case is set forth in the R&R and is incorporated by reference. Briefly, on August 3, 2016, Corrigan was driving on the freeway when his car nearly collided with Bernier's. Am. Compl. ¶ 19. The parties made eye contact, and Corrigan began deliberately following Bernier's car. Id. ¶ 20. After Corrigan had followed Bernier for 15 minutes, Bernier stopped her car and told Corrigan that she would call the police if he did not stop following her. Id. ¶¶ 20-21. Corrigan responded that the police should be called. Id. ¶ 21.

         Bernier called 911 and was directed to a nearby police station. Id. ¶ 22. Corrigan followed Bernier's car into the police station parking lot, parked, and got out of his car. Id. Officer Kerkaert arrived in a squad car with lights flashing and parked behind Corrigan's vehicle. Id. ¶ 23. Corrigan placed his passport on the hood of his car and Officer Kerkaert picked up the passport. Id. Officers Culbreth and Klapperick arrived and, together with Officer Kerkaert, began asking Corrigan questions. Id. ¶ 24. Officers Marklowitz and Uthe also arrived and interviewed Bernier. Id. ¶ 26. The officers cited Corrigan for fifth degree assault and returned his passport to him. Id. ¶ 27. Prosecutor Rhodus later amended the charge to stalking under Minn. Stat. § 609.749. Id. ¶ 33.

         Judge Wilton presided over Corrigan's criminal jury trial. Id. ¶¶ 36-37. The jury returned a verdict finding Corrigan to be guilty of stalking. Id. Judge Wilton ordered the Scott County probation office to prepare a Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (“PSI Report”). Id. ¶ 37. Probation Officer Hanson prepared the PSI Report, which concluded that Corrigan would not be amenable to probation and recommended a sentence of 120 days in the Scott County Jail. Id. ¶ 38. Judge Wilton imposed a 120-day sentence as recommended in the PSI Report. Corrigan appealed his conviction and sentence, and the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed. See State v. Corrigan, No. A17-1145, 2018 WL 3214271 (Minn.Ct.App. July 2, 2018). The Minnesota Supreme Court denied certiorari.

         Corrigan filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit on August 2, 2018, alleging federal constitutional claims against all Defendants and asserting state law claims against Scott County and the Savage City Defendants. Id. ¶¶ 42-50. The R&R recommends dismissing the federal constitutional claims with prejudice and dismissing the state law claims without prejudice.


         A. Standard of Review

         In reviewing a magistrate judge's report and recommendation on a dispositive matter, 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 “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” Id.

         B. ...

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