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Dahir v. Ellison

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

September 18, 2019

ABDULKARIM M. DAHIR, Plaintiff,
v.
KEITH ELLISON, ADAM KUJAWA, SCOTT HALDEMAN, KIRSI POUPORE, ADAM KOHNSTAMM, ALEXANDRIA KIELEY Mountain, and CHRISTOPHER J. FLOREY in their individual and official capacities, and LORI SWANSON in her individual capacity, Defendants.

          Abdulkarim M. Dahir, pro se plaintiff.

          Kathryn Iverson Landrum, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE, for defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Plaintiff Abdulkarim M. Dahir brought this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against then-Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and various employees of the Minnesota Attorney General in both their official and individual capacities. Dahir alleges Defendants violated his procedural and substantive due process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments as a result of Defendants’ using his name in the complaint of a state criminal case against a business he owned. Defendants moved to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Dahir also separately moved to object in part to Defendants’ letter notifying the Court that, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 25(d), now-Attorney General Keith Ellison must automatically replace then-Attorney General Lori Swanson in her official capacity as a Defendant.

         Now before the Court is a report and recommendation (“R&R”) issued by the Magistrate Judge on both motions, along with Dahir’s objections to the R&R. Because the Court lacks jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and Dahir fails to plead a plausible claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court will overrule Dahir’s objections to the R&R in part and grant in part, adopt the R&R issued by the Magistrate Judge, and dismiss Dahir’s complaint with prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         This case stems from a state court conviction against Dahir’s business and a clerical error that resulted in Dahir appearing as a convicted felon in the Minnesota Court Information System (“MNCIS”).[1] In 2015, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office filed criminal Medicaid fraud charges in state court against Twin Cities Care Services (“TCCS”), a limited liability company owned by Dahir. (Compl. at 8 ¶ 1, Oct. 22, 2018, Docket No. 1; Defs.’ Mem. Supp. at 1–2, Feb. 7, 2019, Docket No. 21.)

         The initial and first amended complaint against TCCS listed Dahir as the owner of TCCS in the case caption and referred to Dahir in the body of the complaint. (Compl. at 8 ¶ 1; Aff. of Kathryn Iverson Landrum (“Landrum Aff.”) ¶ 3-4, Ex. B at 17, Ex. C at 28, Feb. 7, 2019, Docket No. 22.) References to Dahir were removed from the caption in the second amended complaint but remained in the body. (Compl. at 8 ¶ 3; Landrum Aff. ¶ 5, Ex. D at 41.)

         TCCS then filed a “poorly prepared and argued motion to strike” any reference to Dahir in the body of the complaint as surplusage.[2] (Compl. at 8 ¶ 4; Landrum Aff. ¶ 6, Ex. E at 51.) TCCS was eventually convicted on four counts of fraud. (See Compl. at 9 ¶ 6.) After the conviction of TCCS Dahir conducted a self-search in MNCIS and found that he appeared as a convicted felon under the same the four counts of fraud. (Id. at 9 ¶ 7.) Dahir then filed a motion asking the state court to correct the court records. (Id.) The state court denied the motion and Dahir appealed. (Id. at 9 ¶11; Landrum Aff. ¶ 11, Ex. J at 85.)

         The Court of Appeals reversed in part and affirmed in part. State v. Twin Cities Care Servs., No. A17-2070, 2018 WL 3614156, at *2 (Minn.Ct.App. July 30, 2018). The Court of Appeals held that references to Dahir in the caption and MNCIS were clerical errors that should be corrected. See Id . at *1 (noting the state filed an amended complaint “removing appellant’s name and birth date from the case caption” and “[t]o the extent that any such references remain, ” ordering correction). The Court of Appeals denied Dahir’s request to remove his name from the body of the complaint, however, because the fact that Dahir was the owner of TCCS was “factually accurate and relevant to the charges contained in the complaint.” Id. at *2 (quotations and citation omitted). Dahir did not appeal this decision. (Compl. at 10 ¶ 17.)

         Dahir filed the present complaint on October 22, 2018. (Compl. at 1.) Dahir acknowledges he was never actually charged with, nor convicted of, any crime. (See Pl.’s Mem. at 12, Feb. 28, 2019, Docket No. 30.) Dahir argues, however, he was “accused and convicted by proxy” violating his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process of law. (Compl. at 5.) Dahir lists thirteen counts of opportunities Defendants had to “correct any showing that Dahir was a party and a defendant” in the TCCS case. (Id. at 11–18 ¶¶ 20–65.) Dahir claims $53, 155, 000 in damages as a result of harm to his reputation allegedly caused by Defendants conduct. (See Id . at 19–25.)

         Defendants moved to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) on February 7, 2019. (Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss at 1, Feb. 7, 2019, Docket No. 18; Defs.’ Mem. Supp. at 5–6, Feb. 7, 2019, Docket No. 21.) Defendants also notified the Court that current Attorney General Keith Ellison should be automatically substituted as a defendant for any claims against former Attorney General Lori Swanson in her official capacity under Fed.R.Civ.P. 25(d). (Letter from Kathryn Iverson Landrum, Jan. 18, 2019, Docket No. 12.) Dahir responded to Defendants’ motion to dismiss on February 28, 2019. (See Pl.’s Mem., Feb. 28, 2019, Docket No. 30.) Dahir also objected in part and conceded in part to Defendants letter informing the Court that Attorney General Ellison automatically assumes any claims made by Dahir against Defendant Swanson in her official capacity as Attorney General. (Pl.’s Mot. Obj., Feb. 8, 2019, Docket No. 26.) Defendants responded to Dahir’s memorandum opposing dismissal, and the Magistrate Judge granted Dahir’s request to file an additional response. (See Defs.’ Reply, March 14, 2019, Docket No. 32; Order, April 2, 2019, Docket No. 35.) Dahir then filed an additional response. (Pl.’s Response, April 24, 2019, Docket No. 36.) A hearing was held before the Magistrate Judge on May 23, 2019. (Minute Entry, May 23, 2019, Docket No. 38.)

         The Magistrate Judge issued an R&R recommending that Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss be granted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), Dahir’s Motion Objecting in Part and Conceding in Part be deemed moot, and Dahir’s Complaint be dismissed with prejudice. (R&R at 14, July 23, 2019, Docket No. 39.) Dahir objected to the R&R. (Obj. to R&R, Aug. 6, 2019, Docket No. 45.) Defendants responded. (Response to Obj., Aug. 20, 2019, Docket No. 48.) The Court then granted Dahir’s request to file a Surreply to Defendants’ Response. (Surreply, Aug. 25, 2019, Docket No. 51.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Upon the filing of an R&R by a magistrate judge, “a party may serve and file specific written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2); accord D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(1). A party’s objections “should specify the portions of the magistrate judge’s [R&R] to which objections are made and provide a basis for those objections.” Mayer v. Walvatne, No. 07–1958 (JRT/RLE), 2008 WL 4527774, at *2 (D. Minn. Sept. 28, 2008). For dispositive issues, the Court reviews de novo a “properly objected to” portion of an R&R. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); accord D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3). “Objections which are not specific but merely repeat arguments presented to and ...


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