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Parada v. Anoka County

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

September 16, 2019

Myriam Parada, Plaintiff,
Anoka County; Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart; Coon Rapids Police Officer Nicolas Oman; City of Coon Rapids; and Unknown/Unnamed Defendants John Doe & Jane Doe; All individuals being sued in their individual and official capacity, Defendants.

          Alain M. Baudry, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP, Amanda R. Cefalu and Nathan T. Boone, Kutak Rock LLP, Ian Bratlie, and Teresa J. Nelson, ACLU of Minnesota, (for Plaintiff);

          Andrew T. Jackola and Robert I. Yount, Assistant County Attorneys, Anoka County Attorneys (for Defendants Anoka County and Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart);

          Alexander James Thillman and Ryan M. Zipf, (for Defendants Coon Rapids Police Officer Nikolas[1] Oman and City of Coon Rapids[2] ).


          Tony N. Leung United States Magistrate Judge


         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Myriam Parada's Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint and Modify the Pretrial Scheduling Order (ECF No. 59). A hearing was held on July 25, 2019. (ECF No. 73.) Alain M. Baudry and Ian Bratlie appeared on behalf of Plaintiff. Andrew T. Jackola appeared on behalf of Defendants Anoka County (“County”) and Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart (“Sheriff Stuart”) (collectively, “County Defendants”). Ryan Zipf appeared on behalf of Defendants Coon Rapids Police Officer Nikolas Oman (“Officer Oman”) and City of Coon Rapids (“City”) (collectively, “City Defendants”).


         Plaintiff is a citizen of Mexico and lives in Ramsey, Minnesota. (Proposed Second Am. Compl. ¶ 13.) Plaintiff entered the United States legally as a child. (Id.) On July 25, 2017, Plaintiff was rear-ended by a Caucasian driver while driving some family members home from a birthday party. (Id. ¶¶ 23, 26.) Plaintiff called her parents, who came to the scene. (Id. ¶ 27.) The other driver called the police, and Officer Oman responded. (Id. ¶ 28.) Officer Oman permitted the other driver, who “had 12 convictions for traffic violations since 2012 including DWI, speeding and obstructing the legal process, ” to leave without a citation. (Id. ¶¶ 30, 31.)

         Officer Oman asked Plaintiff for her driver's license. (Id. ¶ 33.) Plaintiff “did not have a Minnesota driver's license, ” and instead “gave him her proof of insurance and a Mexican Consular card, commonly referred to as a Matricula Consular card.” (Id. ¶ 34.) “The Matricula Consular card is an official identification card issued by the Mexican consulate.” (Id.) Plaintiff's “Matricula Consular card listed her full name, date of birth and address in the United States”; included “a recent photo of her”; and contained “security features to ensure its authenticity.” (Id. ¶ 35.) Plaintiff confirmed that all of the information on her Matricula Consular card was accurate. (Id. ¶ 36.)

         Plaintiff's step-father also confirmed the information was accurate and that he was the registered owner of the car. (Id. ¶ 37.) Plaintiff's step-father gave Officer Oman “a copy of his Minnesota driver's license.” (Id.) “The address on Plaintiff's Matricula Consular card was the same address as Plaintiff's step-father's Minnesota driver's license.” (Id. ¶ 38.) “[T]he VIN number in the Department of Motor Vehicles database of a [car] registered . . . . [to Plaintiff's step-father] matched the VIN number on the proof of insurance card in the glove compartment of the car [Plaintiff] was driving.” (Id.) Officer Oman “ran the name of Plaintiff's step-father through his database.” (Id. ¶ 39.)

         Officer Oman “then spoke with Anoka [C]ounty staff on his personal phone inside his car for several minutes.” (Id. ¶ 40.) When Officer Oman returned, “he told [Plaintiff] that his supervisor told him to bring her in to get her prints, ” and “‘I need to make sure who you are.'” (Id. ¶¶ 41-42.) Plaintiff was arrested and taken to the Anoka County Jail. (Id. ¶ 44.) In a report, Officer Oman “wrote . . . that he ‘transported [Plaintiff] to jail since I was also unable to positively identify her.'” (Id. ¶ 45.)

         Officer Oman brought Plaintiff to the Anoka County Jail around 7:20 p.m. (Id. ¶ 50.) At the Anoka County Jail, Officer Oman completed an “Authority to Detain” form, listing Plaintiff's name, address, and date of birth as provided at the scene. (Id. ¶ 51.) There was no indication that Officer Oman did not know who Plaintiff was. (Id.) The “Authority to Detain” form contains “a section entitled ‘Reason for Detention for Misdemeanors, '” and has boxes to check to indicate that the person is not eligible for immediate release. (Id. ¶ 52.) Officer Oman did not check any of these boxes “and did not make any notations which would suggest that [Plaintiff] was not eligible for immediate release.” (Id.) Records indicate that Plaintiff “was placed into custody and handed over to the Jail only because of a citation for driving without a [Minnesota] driver's license.” (Id. ¶ 51.)

         At the Anoka County Jail, Plaintiff was handcuffed, patted down, photographed, and placed in a cell. (Id. ¶¶ 53, 55, 56.) Records indicate that Plaintiff was cleared and free to leave the same day. (Id. ¶ 59; see Id. ¶ 62.) In an e-mail to Plaintiff's counsel, Lieutenant Sheila Larson with the Anoka County Sheriff's Office explained that “‘[Plaintiff] was arrested for a Misdemeanor tag/ticket charge, which means she would then be processed for release and given a copy of the tag. There are a few targeted misdemeanors that would require us to hold her until seen by a judge, she was not brought in for one of those types of Misdemeanors.'” (Id. ¶ 59.)

         Plaintiff was not, however, released on July 25. (See Id. ¶ 64.) At approximately 11:00 p.m., Plaintiff was brought to an unidentified County staff member, the unknown County Defendant, “who questioned her for a few minutes and then brought her back to her cell.” (Id. ¶ 67.) About half an hour later, Plaintiff was again brought to see the unknown County Defendant, who “handed [her] a phone and instructed [her] to talk to the person on the other end.” (Id. ¶¶ 68, 69.)

         On the other end of the line were agents with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). (Id. ¶ 70.) ICE asked Plaintiff if she was a United States citizen and how she arrived in the United States. (Id.) Plaintiff asked the unknown County Defendant if she needed a lawyer, and was told to ask ICE. (Id. ¶¶ 71, 72.) ICE told Plaintiff “that ‘it goes faster without a lawyer.'” (Id. ¶ 73.) Plaintiff then told ICE “how she entered the United States.” (Id. ¶ 74.) After Plaintiff was done speaking with ICE, the unknown County Defendant took her back to her cell. (Id. ¶ 75.) Plaintiff was fingerprinted approximately an hour later. (Id.)

         In the early morning hours of July 26, ICE sent an I-200 Warrant for Arrest of an Alien (“ICE Warrant”) and I-247 ICE Detainer (“ICE Detainer”) to the Anoka County Jail. (Id. ¶¶ 76, 77, 93.) The ICE Warrant was unsigned and not served on Plaintiff. (Id. ¶¶ 76, 94, 104.) The ICE Detainer was stamped “Draft Not Complete” on each page and also not served on Plaintiff. (Id. ¶¶ 77, 104.) Around 2:00 a.m., Plaintiff was brought out of her cell, given a citation for not having a Minnesota driver's license, and handed over to two ICE agents. (Id. ¶¶ 81, 82.) Plaintiff was handcuffed, shackled, and taken to the Sherburne County Jail. (Id. ¶ 84.) About an hour later, Plaintiff's family was informed that she was in ICE custody. (Id. ¶ 85.) Plaintiff is currently in removal proceedings. (Id. ¶ 87.)

         Among others, Plaintiff brings claims against Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of her constitutional rights and false imprisonment under Minnesota common law.


         Plaintiff requests leave to amend the Amended Complaint to seek punitive damages in connection with her federal § 1983 claims and common-law false-imprisonment claim. Plaintiff also seeks leave to add a § 1983 claim for violation of her equal-protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment against the County Defendants.

         A. Legal Standard

         With the exception of amendments as a matter of course, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permit a party to “amend its pleadings only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The Rules further provide that leave should be freely given “when justice so requires.” Id. There is, however, “no absolute right to amend” and a finding of undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, undue prejudice to the non-moving party, or futility may be grounds to deny a motion to amend. Doe v. Cassel, 403 F.3d 986, 990-91 (8th Cir. 2005). “Fundamentally, ‘the grant or denial of an opportunity to amend is within the discretion of the District Court.'” Ash v. Anderson Merchandisers, LLC, 799 F.3d 957, 963 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)).

         B. Equal-Protection Claim Against the County Defendants

         The Court begins with Plaintiff's proposed § 1983 claim for violation of her equal-protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment against the County Defendants.

         1. Good Cause

         With the exception of motions to seek punitive damages, the deadline for motions to amend the pleadings was December 15, 2018. (ECF No. 56 at 3.) As Plaintiff's motion was filed after that deadline, Plaintiff must show good cause for modification of the deadline. Sherman v. Winco Fireworks, Inc., 532 F.3d 709, 716-17 (8th Cir. 2008). “The primary measure of good cause is the movant's diligence in attempting to meet the scheduling order's requirements.” Harris v. FedEx Nat'l LTL, Inc., 760 F.3d 780, 786 (8th Cir. 2014) (quotation omitted); see also Sherman, 532 F.3d at 716-17. “The ‘good cause' standard is an exacting one, for it demands a demonstration that the existing schedule cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension.” Khoday v. Symantec Corp., No. 11-cv-180 (JRT/TNL), 2013 WL 12141434, at *2 (D. Minn. May 15, 2013) (quotation omitted).

         Plaintiff asserts that she discovered the basis for her proposed equal-protection claim against the County Defendants during a 30(b)(6) deposition of the County, which took place on June 18, 2019. The County appeared through Commander David Pacholl.[3]During the deposition, Commander Pacholl testified that the Anoka County Jail notifies ICE as part of its booking procedure when an individual identifies him or herself as having been born outside of the United States, states that he or she is not a United States citizen or is a foreign national, or provides “data” from another country. (Dep. of David Pacholl 160:12-169:1, Ex. 4 to Aff. of Amanda Cefalu, ECF No. 60-4.) Commander Pacholl testified that there is an automated, law-enforcement electronic communication program through which ICE is notified, and the Anoka County Jail may also follow up with ICE via telephone if a response is not received in connection with the automated notification. (Pacholl Dep. 163:1-165:13.) It is this automatic notification to ICE that forms the basis of Plaintiff's proposed equal-protection claim. See infra Section III.B.2.b.

         The County Defendants respond that parties have been engaged in discovery for nearly a year, and Plaintiff could have taken this deposition sooner. They additionally respond that, with little time left for fact discovery, it “is too late” for Plaintiff “to inject a new theory of liability” into this case. (County Opp'n at 14, ECF No. 68.) At the hearing, the Court inquired as to whether the existing pretrial schedule would need to be amended should Plaintiff be permitted to add this claim. Plaintiff and the County Defendants each confirmed that no adjustments would be needed.

         The Court finds that Plaintiff has been diligent in attempting to meet the requirements of the scheduling order. Plaintiff reasonably pursued information regarding the County Defendants' policies and communications with ICE through other discovery methods during the fact discovery period, and learned of the automatic notification process during a 30(b)(6) deposition taken more than two months before the close of fact discovery. Once she became aware of the automatic notification process, Plaintiff promptly moved to amend. Further, having found that Plaintiff was diligent in meeting the requirements of the scheduling order, it is also relevant the County Defendants have not articulated any specific prejudice resulting from the timing of the amendment. As stated above, Plaintiff and the ...

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