United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Wilhelmina M. Wright United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the May 13, 2019 Report and
Recommendation (R&R) of United States Magistrate Judge
Katherine M. Menendez. (Dkt. 35.) The R&R recommends
granting Defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim. Plaintiff John-Henry Doe filed timely
objections to the R&R. For the reasons addressed below,
the Court overrules Doe's objections, adopts the R&R,
and dismisses this action without prejudice.
brought this case under the pseudonym John-Henry Doe against
Mower County Health and Human Services Office of Child
Support. Doe alleges that Mower County violated his
constitutional rights and fraudulently induced him to make
child-support payments. In particular, Doe challenges a
statement published on Mower County's website that
“[e]very child needs financial and emotional support
and every child has the right to support from both parents.
Minnesota's child support program benefits children by
enforcing parental responsibility for their support.”
Doe characterizes this statement as fraudulent. Doe also
complains that, because Mower County used a portion of his
child-support payments to cover interest and fees, the entire
amount of his payments was not distributed to his child.
Mower County moved to dismiss Doe's complaint on two
grounds: Doe filed under a false name and he failed to state
R&R recommends granting Defendant's motion to dismiss
because Doe failed to state a claim on which relief can be
granted. The R&R concludes that Doe has not stated a
claim under Title 42, United States Code, Section 1983, a
claim for fraud, or any claim related to Title IV-D of the
Social Security Act. Doe filed objections that, when
construed liberally, challenge each of the R&R's
party files and serves specific written objections to a
magistrate judge's proposed findings and recommendations,
the district court reviews de novo those portions of the
R&R to which an objection is made. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(c); LR 72.2(b)(3). When doing so, the district
court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in
part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate
judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c); accord
Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3); LR 72.2(b)(3). Because Doe is
proceeding pro se, the Court liberally construes his
complaint and objections. See Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Failure to State a Claim
complaint must allege sufficient facts such that, when
accepted as true, a facially plausible claim to relief is
stated. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
If a complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be
granted, dismissal is warranted. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6). When determining whether a complaint states a
facially plausible claim, a district court accepts the
factual allegations in the complaint as true and draws all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Blankenship v. USA Truck, Inc., 601 F.3d 852, 853
(8th Cir. 2010). Factual allegations must be sufficient to
“raise a right to relief above the speculative
level” and “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007). Mere
“labels and conclusions” are insufficient, as is
a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” Id. at 555. And legal conclusions
couched as factual allegations may be disregarded. See
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Doe's claims asserted
against Mower County are addressed in turn.
Civil Rights Violation
alleges that Mower County violated Doe's constitutional
rights by inducing him to pay child support. In response,
Mower County contends that Doe's allegations are
frivolous and incomprehensible.
1983 provides, in relevant part:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State . . ., subjects,
or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States .
. . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or
immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be
liable to the party injured . . . .
42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a Section 1983 claim against
a municipality, a plaintiff must allege that either a
municipal policy, an unofficial municipal custom, or the
inadequate training of the municipality's employees
caused a constitutional injury. See City of Canton v.
Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388 (1989) (training); Monell
v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978)
(policy or custom); see also Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs v.
Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403-04 (1997). Even if a plaintiff
is not privy to the facts necessary to describe with
specificity the municipal custom, the complaint must ...