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.

Larson v. Sanner

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 13, 2019

Ryan M. Larson, Plaintiff,
v.
John L. Sanner, Stephen P. Lehmkuhl, Pam Jensen, Andrew Rose, Janelle P. Kendall, Stearns County, Don Gudmundson, Defendants. Ryan M. Larson, Plaintiff,
v.
Bruce P. Bechtold, Jon F. Lentz, Dennis J. Kern, Joe G. Lichy, Dan D. Miller, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Paul A. Magnuson United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (Sanner Docket No. 210, Bechtold Docket No. 34) and Daubert Motion (Sanner Docket No. 204).[1]

         BACKGROUND

         These cases arise out of Larson's arrest for the murder of Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker in Cold Spring, Minnesota, on November 29, 2012. The shooting took place in the parking lot of a bar, above which Larson rented a room. It just so happened that Officer Decker was in the parking lot because the Cold Spring Police had received a call from Larson's family that Larson could be suicidal, and that he owned weapons. Nearly simultaneously, Larson's ex-girlfriend had also contacted the Wright County Sherriff's Office, reporting that Larson had violated her restraining order against him by sending threatening text messages. When Officer Decker arrived on the scene to check on Larson, he was shot and killed.

         In the minutes that followed, police entered Larson's room and arrested him, suspecting that he was the shooter. He was held in the Stearns County Jail for five days and then released. Law enforcement stated at the time that although there was not probable cause to further detain Larson, there was probable cause to arrest him in the first instance.[2]

         Larson claims that Defendants unlawfully entered his apartment, unlawfully searched and destroyed his property, and falsely arrested, maliciously prosecuted, defamed, and retaliated against him. He also seeks to hold Stearns County liable for the individual Defendants' conduct.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is proper if there are no disputed issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Court must view the evidence and inferences that “may be reasonably drawn from the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Enter. Bank v. Magna Bank of Mo., 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest on mere allegations or denials but must set forth specific facts in the record showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986). When evaluating an unopposed motion for summary judgment, the Court must still determine whether “the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Interstate Power Co. v. Kansas City Power & Light Co., 992 F.2d 804, 807 (8th Cir. 1993).

         Defendants raise the affirmative defenses of qualified and absolute immunity, and ask for summary judgment all claims.

         1. Qualified Immunity

         Qualified immunity protects public officials from suit unless “their conduct . . . violate[s] clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). To evaluate whether an officer is entitled to qualified immunity, the Court must determine whether the facts alleged “make out a violation of a constitutional right.” Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 232 (2009). The Court must also determine whether the right at issue was “clearly established” at the time of the alleged misconduct. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001). Thus, a police officer is “entitled to summary judgment based on qualified immunity unless (1) the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, establishes a violation of a federal constitutional or statutory right, and (2) the right was clearly established at the time of the violation.” Capps v. Olson, 780 F.3d 879, 884 (8th Cir. 2015).

         Defendants in both cases assert that they are entitled to qualified immunity because they did not violate Larson's rights, and in any event the rights he claims were not clearly established. Larson cites no case to rebut their qualified immunity defense, nor does he provide any explanation of a clearly established constitutional violation or even contend that Defendants' actions were unlawful. Defendants' entrance into Larson's apartment, and the subsequent arrest, searches, and detention comported with the Fourth Amendment. And Larson has not established that Defendants' statements to the press violated his constitutional rights.

         2. ...


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.