Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

McLean v. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 7, 2019

Joseph McLean, Paul Dunn, Phillip DiWilliams, Darin Buckman, Mark Pinkosh, and Troy Franks Plaintiffs,
v.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Defendant.

          ORDER

          HILDY BOWBEER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Joseph McLean, Paul Dunn, Phillip DiWilliams, Darin Buckman, Mark Pinkosh, and Troy Franks' Motion for Jurisdictional Discovery [Doc. No. 26]. Plaintiffs seek leave to conduct jurisdictional discovery of Defendant United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (“USCCB”) contacts in Minnesota. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court denies the motion.

         I. Background

         A. Allegations in the Complaint

         Plaintiffs are six individuals who have accused ordained Catholic priests of engaging in unpermitted sexual contact with or sexually abusing them. (See Compl. ¶¶ 11-47 [Doc. No. 1].) Of the six Plaintiffs, only Joseph McLean resides in Minnesota. (See Compl. ¶¶ 1-7.) Defendant USCCB is an organization comprised of Catholic bishops from each diocese in the United States. (Compl. ¶ 8.) The USCCB's principal place of business is located in Washington D.C., but Plaintiffs allege the USCCB transacts business in every state, including Minnesota. (Compl. ¶¶ 7, 9.) Federal subject matter jurisdiction is based on diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Compl. ¶ 10.)

         Plaintiffs bring two claims against the USCCB: (1) public nuisance under the common law and Minn. Stat. § 609.74, and (2) nuisance under Minn. Stat. § 561.01. (Compl. ¶¶ 96-111.) Plaintiffs contend the USCCB failed to uphold a pledge to protect children and young adults from sexual abuse by clergy and broke its promises to address past instances of child sexual assault. (Compl. ¶¶ 63-65.) Plaintiffs further assert the USCCB concealed criminal activity, failed to report allegations of sexual abuse, and otherwise endangered children by its actions or omissions. (Compl. ¶¶ 73, 85, 91-93.)

         B. The USCCB's Motion to Dismiss

         On January 24, 2019, the USCCB filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), arguing that it lacks sufficient minimum contacts with Minnesota. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss at 1 [Doc. No. 9].) Plaintiffs wrote a letter to the Honorable Donovan W. Frank, United States District Judge, seeking leave to conduct limited jurisdictional discovery before responding to the motion to dismiss. (Goffe Letter at 1, Feb. 1, 2019 [Doc. No. 19].) The USCCB filed a letter opposing the request. (Wieser Letter, Feb. 7, 2019 [Doc. No. 20].) The District Court instructed Plaintiffs to file a motion before the undersigned for leave to take jurisdictional discovery. (Text Order, Feb. 14, 2019 [Doc. No. 21].)

         Plaintiffs filed their opposition to the motion to dismiss on February 14, 2019. They argued that general jurisdiction existed because the USCCB's contacts with Minnesota were continuous and systemic, and that specific jurisdiction existed because the USCCB purposely directed its activities at Minnesota residents and the injuries alleged in this case resulted in part from those activities. (Pls.' Mem. Opp'n Mot. Dismiss at 1 [Doc. No. 22].) Plaintiffs also repeated their request for leave to take jurisdictional discovery to support their positions. (Id.)

         C. Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to Take Jurisdictional Discovery

         On February 15, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to take jurisdictional discovery [Doc. No. 26], and filed their supporting memorandum on March 6, 2019 [Doc. No. 31]. Plaintiffs proposed 24 interrogatories and 20 document requests. (See First Goffe Aff. Exs. 11, 12 [Doc. Nos. 24-11, 24-12].) The proposed discovery requests were extremely broad. For example, Interrogatory No. 9 asked the USCCB to describe “all verbal, written or electronic communications between the USCCB and any officer, director, or managing agent of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis from 1950 to present.” (First Goffe Aff. Ex. 11 at 6.) Document Request No. 8 asked for “[a]ll documents that relate to the presence within or activities within the State of Minnesota by the USCCB and its agents or representatives from 1950 to the present.” (First Goffe Aff. Ex. 12 at 7.) Plaintiffs also asked for leave to depose Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the current president of USCCB; and Theresa Ridderhoff, the Associate General Secretary of the USCCB. (Pls.' Mem. Supp. Mot. Jurisdictional Discovery at 7 [Doc. No. 31].) The USCCB filed its memorandum in opposition to the motion on March 13, 2019, and this Court heard oral argument on the motion on March 20, 2019.

         As reflected in the minutes of the motion hearing, the Court was not persuaded at that time that some jurisdictional discovery would not be appropriate, but found that Plaintiffs' proposed discovery requests were exceptionally broad and not adequately tied to the specific assertions made in their opposition to Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Ct. Mins. at 1 [Doc. No. 42].) Accordingly, the Court held the motion in abeyance and instructed Plaintiffs' counsel to “craft and provide to Defendant's counsel no more than ten interrogatories and no more than five document requests that are specific, focused, and tailored to Plaintiff's specific assertions concerning personal jurisdiction.” (Id.) (emphasis added). The Court further instructed the parties to meet and confer on the new discovery requests and advise the Court in writing about their progress. (Id. at 1-2.) Despite the Court's guidance, the parties remain at total impasse. (See Pls.' Suppl. Mem. [Doc. No. 52]; Def.'s Suppl. Mem. [Doc. No. 54].)

         II. Discussion

         A. General and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.