United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Ryan M. Larson, Plaintiff,
John L. Sanner, Stephen P. Lehmkuhl, Pam Jensen, Andrew Rose, Janelle P. Kendall, Stearns County, Don Gudmundson, Defendants. Ryan M. Larson, Plaintiff,
Bruce P. Bechtold, Jon F. Lentz, Dennis J. Kern, Joe G. Lichy, Dan D. Miller, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. Magnuson United States District Judge
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).
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.
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
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.
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).
raise the affirmative defenses of qualified and absolute
immunity, and ask for summary judgment all claims.
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).
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