Jackson v. Dayton et al
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AS MODIFIED (Written Opinion). Signed by Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright on 02/07/17. (TJB) cc: Jackson. Modified text on 2/7/2017 (ACH).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Tony Dejuan Jackson,
Case No. 15-cv-4429 (WMW/TNL)
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND
Governor Mark Dayton et al.,
in their official capacities,
This matter is before the Court on the December 16, 2016 Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung. (Dkt. 66.)
The R&R recommends granting Defendants’ motions to dismiss Plaintiff Tony Dejuan
Jackson’s amended complaint and denying Jackson’s motion to certify a class and
appoint class counsel. Jackson filed objections to the R&R on January 23, 2017.1 In
their January 26, 2017 response to Jackson’s objections, Defendants request that the
Court adopt the R&R.
The Court conducts a de novo review of any portion of a magistrate judge’s
recommendation to which specific objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed.
R. Civ. P. 72(b); LR 72.2(b); United States v. Lothridge, 324 F.3d 599, 600 (8th Cir.
In his objections to the R&R, Jackson states that he received the December 16,
2016 R&R on January 10, 2017. The Court received Jackson’s objections thirteen days
later—on January 23, 2017. See LR 72.2(b)(1) (providing that a party may file and serve
specific written objections to an R&R within 14 days after being served with a copy of
the R&R). Because Defendants do not object to Jackson’s filing as untimely, the Court
will address Jackson’s objections on their merits.
Having performed its de novo review, the Court adopts the R&R’s
recommendation to dismiss without prejudice Jackson’s amended complaint and to deny
Jackson’s motion to certify a class and appoint class counsel. In doing so, the Court
writes separately to modify the analysis as to portions of the R&R.
Defendants are fifteen officers and employees of the State of Minnesota in their
official capacities from whom Jackson seeks monetary, injunctive and declaratory relief.
In his amended complaint, Jackson first alleges that the Minnesota Department of
Corrections’ (“MDOC”) policy of double bunking inmates at the Minnesota Correctional
Facility in Rush City, Minnesota (“MCF-Rush City”) violates the Eighth Amendment to
the United States Constitution (“condition-of-confinement claims”), which prohibits cruel
and unusual punishment. Second, Jackson alleges that MINNCOR Industries—MDOC’s
industry program—violates federal law by failing to pay inmates the federal minimum
wage and by taking excessive deductions from inmates’ paid wages (“MINNCOR
claims”). Jackson also moves the Court to motion to certify a class and appoint class
In his objections to the R&R, Jackson argues that his complaint cannot be
dismissed because it survived the Court’s initial screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Jackson’s argument lacks merit. The R&R correctly rejects this argument because the
initial-screening procedure under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A is necessarily limited and does not
foreclose Defendants’ ability to challenge a pleading under the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. See Day v. Minnehaha Cty., No. 14-4037, 2015 WL 926147, at *1, n.3
(D.S.D. Mar. 4, 2015).
Jackson next objects to the R&R’s conclusion that he cannot recover monetary
relief because Defendants are protected by sovereign immunity under the Eleventh
Amendment to the United States Constitution. Jackson argues that, because MINNCOR
operates as a for-profit institution, MINNCOR does not qualify for sovereign-immunity
protection. This argument lacks merit. A lawsuit against a state official in that person’s
official capacity is a suit against the official’s office. Will v. Mich. Dep’t of State Police,
491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). For that reason, the lawsuit is against the state itself. Id. The
Eleventh Amendment protects states from lawsuits for monetary damages in federal court
unless a state waives its immunity or its rights are otherwise abrogated. See Kruger v.
Nebraska, 820 F.3d 295, 301 (8th Cir. 2016). Here, the State of Minnesota has not
waived its immunity, and Jackson fails to assert any exception to that immunity. Because
both the MDOC and MINNCOR are publicly funded by the State of Minnesota, each
entity is protected from Jackson’s lawsuit for monetary damages by the State of
Minnesota’s sovereign immunity.
Accordingly, the Court lacks jurisdiction over
Jackson’s claims for monetary relief.
As to Jackson’s condition-of-confinement claims, Jackson notified the Court on
July 1, 2016, that he had been transferred from MCF-Rush City to the Minnesota
Correctional Facility in Stillwater, Minnesota. Because Jackson was transferred, his
condition-of-confinement claims that pertain to his confinement at MCF-Rush City are
moot.2 For this reason, the Court declines to adopt the R&R’s alternative analysis
addressing the merits of Jackson’s condition-of-confinement claims.
Jackson also objects to the R&R’s recommendation to dismiss his MINNCOR
claims for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
This objection is overruled.
Jackson’s allegation that
MINNCOR deducts too much money from his paycheck fails to state a claim because the
controlling statute does not create a private right of action and cannot be enforced under
Section 1983. See 18 U.S.C. § 1761(c); McMaster v. State of Minnesota, 819 F. Supp.
1429, 1439-41 (D. Minn. 1993). Jackson’s minimum-wage allegations fail because he
fails to provide information as to both the nature and location of the work performed,
which the Court requires to determine whether the work is the type for which an inmate is
entitled to receive the federal minimum wage. See Barnett v. Young Men’s Christian
Ass’n., Inc., 175 F.3d 1023 (8th Cir. 1999) (per curiam) (unpublished table decision)
(distinguishing work voluntarily performed outside the prison for private organizations
from required work performed in the prison setting); McMaster v. State of Minnesota, 30
F.3d 976, 980 (8th Cir. 1994) (exempting inmates from the definition of “employee”
under the Fair Labor Standards Act for work performed as a part of their sentence).
In his objections to the R&R, Jackson requests permission to amend his complaint
to include allegations that the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater, Minnesota,
impermissibly double bunks its inmates similar to MCF-Rush City. Jackson also restates
allegations that Defendants have retaliated against him for filing this lawsuit. But
Jackson’s request to amend his complaint is not properly before the Court and will not be
considered. Cf. Wishon v. Gammon, 978 F.2d 446, 448 (8th Cir. 1992) (explaining that
denial of a motion for leave to amend is not an abuse of discretion when a defendant may
file claims in a different lawsuit).
Accordingly, Jackson’s minimum-wage allegations fail to state a claim for which relief
can be granted.
Although the R&R addresses the merits of Jackson’s MINNCOR claims based on
the magistrate judge’s determination that certain Defendants have the authority to order
MDOC-wide changes, the R&R does not distinguish between the Defendants who have
such authority and those who do not.
The MINNCOR claims are moot as to any
Defendant who lacks the authority to effect MDOC-wide changes. See Randolph v.
Rodgers, 253 F.3d 342, 345-46 (8th Cir. 2001). For example, the authority of those
Defendants who are employed at MCF-Rush City to effect changes is limited to
MCF-Rush City. See id. (citing Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985)).
For this reason, the Court modifies the R&R’s analysis to include this distinction—that
is, Jackson’s MINNCOR claims are moot as to any Defendant without the authority to
effect MDOC-wide changes.
Finally, the Court declines to adopt the R&R’s analysis as to the merits of
Jackson’s motion to certify a class and appoint class counsel because the amended
complaint is dismissed.
Based on the R&R and all of the files, records and proceedings herein, IT IS
Jackson’s objections to the R&R, (Dkt. 67), are OVERRULED;
The December 16, 2016 R&R, (Dkt. 66), is ADOPTED AS MODIFIED
Defendants’ motions to dismiss, (Dkts. 34, 49, and 54), are GRANTED
and Jackson’s amended complaint, (Dkt. 25), is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE
Jackson’s claims for monetary relief are DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE for lack of jurisdiction;
WITHOUT PREJUDICE AS MOOT;
PREJUDICE AS MOOT as to the MCF-Rush City Defendants and
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as to the remaining
Defendants for failure to state a claim on which relief may be
Jackson’s motion to certify a class and appoint class counsel, (Dkt. 24), is
DENIED AS MOOT.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
Dated: February 7, 2017
s/Wilhelmina M. Wright
Wilhelmina M. Wright
United States District Judge
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