United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Ryan J. White, Plaintiff,
Nancy Stacken, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Leo I. Brisbois United States Magistrate Judge
matter comes before the undersigned United States Magistrate
Judge pursuant to a general assignment, made in accordance
with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636, and upon
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. [Docket No. 14]. The Court
took Defendants' Motion under advisement on the written
submissions on March 5, 2019. (Order [Docket No. 21]).
reasons discussed herein, the Court recommends that
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, [Docket No. 14], be
Ryan White (hereinafter “Plaintiff”) is currently
civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program
(hereinafter “MSOP”). (Compl., [Docket No. 1], at
3). Plaintiff brings the present action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 alleging generally that Defendants the Department
on Human Services, Nancy Stacken, Peter Puffer, William
Halman, and Jannine Hebert violated his constitutional rights
while he has been committed to the MSOP on the basis of the
following factual allegations. (See, Id.).
unspecified time in early 2017, Plaintiff's sister
submitted a visitation application (hereinafter the
“Application”) to the MSOP in an effort to be
granted permission to visit Plaintiff. (Id. at 4).
February 5, 2017, Plaintiff sent a client request form to the
visiting room staff inquiring as to the status of his
sister's Application. (Id.). On February 15,
2017, an unnamed visiting room staff member informed
Plaintiff that his sister's Application had been
received, and it was in the process of being reviewed.
March 12, 2017, Plaintiff sent a client request form to his
primary therapist, Defendant Halman, also inquiring about the
status on his sister's Application. (Id. at 5).
On March 20, 2017, Defendant Halman responded, “[i]n
order to learn the status of your sister's visiting
application you will need to write a client request to OSI.
If you have any other questions or concerns please do not
hesitate to contact me. Respectfully, William Halman.”
sister's Application was denied on April 27, 2017.
(Id. at 4). Plaintiff alleges the reason given for
why the Application was denied was
“non-therapeutic.” (Id. at 9).
2, 2017, Plaintiff sent a letter to Defendant Stacken and
Defendant Hebert inquiring as to why his sister's
Application was denied, as well as, providing the reasons he
believed the Application should have been approved.
(Id. at 5-9). According to Plaintiff, neither
Defendant Stacken nor Defendant Hebert responded to
Plaintiff's May 2, 2017, letter. (Id. at 9).
therefore maintains that, through an
“unconstitutionally restrictive” visitation
policy, Defendants “in their individual and official
capacities, implemented, retained and carried out policies
through the MSOP that violated and continue to violate
Plaintiff's First [Amendment] (Freedom of Association)
and Fourteenth [Amendment] (Substantive Due Process,
Procedural Due Process and Due Process) rights” secured
by the United States Constitution. (Id. at 1, 10).
As relief, “Plaintiff seeks monetary compensatory
relief against Defendants in their individual capacities
only, ” as well as “declaratory and injunctive
relief against Defendants in their official
capacities.” (Id. at 1, 9-10).
January 14, 2019, Defendants filed the present Motion to
Dismiss, [Docket No. 14], arguing that Plaintiff's
Complaint should be dismissed for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction and for failing to state a claim upon which
relied could be granted.
January 27, 2019, the undersigned established a briefing
schedule on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss which provided
that Plaintiff's responsive memorandum was due by no
later than February 19, 2019; that Defendants' reply
memorandum was due by no later than fourteen days after
Plaintiff's response memorandum was filed; and that the
Court would take Defendants' Motion to Dismiss under
advisement on the parties' written submissions. (Order
[Docket No. 21]). Thereafter, Plaintiff filed his timely
responsive memorandum, Defendants filed their timely reply
memorandum, and the Court took the present Motion under
advisement on March 5, 2019.
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. [Docket No. 14].
Motion to Dismiss, [Docket No. 14], seeks an Order of this
Court dismissing Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety.
Defendants argue that Plaintiff's Complaint should be
dismissed because this Court's lack subject matter
jurisdiction over portions of Plaintiff's Complaint and
because Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state claim upon
which relief may be granted. In the alternative, Defendants
argue that even if Plaintiff's Complaint could be
construed as stating a cognizable, federal claim, Defendants
are entitled to qualified immunity as to each of
Standard of Review
complaints are construed liberally, but they still must
allege sufficient facts to support the claims advanced.
See, Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th
Cir. 2004). While the Court is required to construe the
content within Plaintiff's pleadings liberally as he is
proceeding pro se, Plaintiff is nevertheless bound by
applicable procedural and substantive law. “Although
pro se pleadings are to be construed liberally, pro se
litigants are not excused from failing to comply with
substantive and procedural law.” Burgs v.
Sissel, 745 F.2d 526, 528 (8th Cir. 1984).
1983 establishes a cause of action against any “person
who, under the color of any statute, ordinance, regulation,
custom, or usage, of any state” causes the deprivation
of a federal or Constitutional right. 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Steel Co. v.
Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 94-95
(1998). “A court must dismiss an action over which it
lacks subject matter jurisdiction.” Pomerenke v.
Bird, No. 12-cv-1757 (DSD/JJG), 2014 WL 30363, at *1 (D.
Minn. Jan. 3, 2014) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3)).
Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
provides that a party may move to dismiss a pleading for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction. Such a motion may challenge,
at any time, the sufficiency of the pleading on its face or
may challenge the factual truthfulness of its allegations.
See, Titus v. Sullivan, 4 F.3d 590, 593
(8th Cir. 1993); Osborn v. United States, 918 F.2d
724, 729 n.6 (8th Cir. 1990). ...