Branson v. Johnson Piper et al
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (Written Opinion). Signed by Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright on 06/23/2017. (TJB) cc: Branson. Modified on 6/26/2017 (MMP).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Terry Lee Branson,
Case No. 16-cv-1790 (WMW/FLN)
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND
Emily Johnson Piper, et al.,
This matter is before the Court on the May 3, 2017 Report and Recommendation
(R&R) of United States Magistrate Judge Franklin L. Noel. (Dkt. 30.) Plaintiff Terry
Lee Branson, an individual civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Treatment
Program (MSOP), alleges that Defendants’ requirement limiting his purchase of a pair of
hair clippers to vendors approved by MSOP violates his constitutional rights and
Minnesota law. The R&R recommends granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
Branson timely objected to the R&R on March 16, 2017. Defendants responded to
Branson’s objections on May 23, 2017, arguing that the Court should overrule Branson’s
objections and adopt the R&R.
After a party files and serves specific written objections to a magistrate judge’s
proposed findings and recommendations, LR 72.2(b)(1), the district court reviews de
novo those portions of the R&R to which an objection is made, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
When doing so, the district court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C);
accord Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3); LR 72.2(b)(3). The Court reviews those portions of the
R&R to which no objections are made for clear error. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b) advisory
committee’s note to 1983 amendment (“When no timely objection is filed, the court need
only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept
the recommendation.”); Grinder v. Gammon, 73 F.3d 793, 795 (8th Cir. 1996) (per
Branson argues that the R&R improperly analyzes his claims as those of a prison
inmate subject to penal restrictions and the Prison Litigation Reform Act, rather than as a
pretrial detainee entitled to more civil liberties. This argument is unavailing. The R&R
properly identifies Branson as a civilly committed individual—accorded the same rights
as a pretrial detainee—and applies Eighth Circuit precedent to Branson’s claims. See,
e.g., Beaulieu v. Ludeman, 690 F.3d 1017, 1028 (8th Cir. 2012); Serna v. Goodno, 567
F.3d 944, 948-49 (8th Cir. 2009); Senty-Haugen v. Goodno, 462 F.3d 876, 886-87 (8th
Although Branson contends that the case law on which the R&R relies is
“erroneously litigated,” Branson fails to provide any legal authority for disregarding that
Branson also asserts that Defendants should be required to prove that the
challenged restrictions are reasonably related to legitimate objectives. But whether a
restriction is reasonably related to a legitimate objective is a legal conclusion rather than
a finding of fact. Cf. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 540 (1979) (recognizing legitimate
objectives beyond those the government asserted).
Moreover, Branson’s complaint
expressly acknowledges that maintaining a secure facility is the justification for the
policy under which Defendants confiscated the hair clippers. Ensuring a secure facility
and prohibiting the introduction of contraband that may undermine MSOP’s therapeutic
environment are legitimate MSOP objectives. See, e.g., Beaulieu, 690 F.3d at 1028-29.
For these reasons, the R&R properly concludes that maintaining a secure facility by
regulating the introduction of outside products is a restriction that is reasonably related to
a legitimate MSOP objective.
Branson does not object to the remaining portions of the R&R, and the Court finds
no clear error as to those recommendations. Accordingly, the Court overrules Branson’s
objections, adopts the R&R, and dismisses Branson’s complaint for failure to state a
claim on which relief can be granted.
Because Branson’s claims under the Fifth
Amendment to the United States Constitution and Minnesota statutes are futile for the
reasons identified in the R&R, those claims are dismissed with prejudice.
Quarters, Inc. v. Depository Tr. & Clearing Corp., 559 F.3d 772, 782 (8th Cir. 2009).
The remaining claims are dismissed without prejudice.
Based on the R&R, the foregoing analysis and all of the files, records and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
Plaintiff Terry Lee Branson’s objections to the R&R, (Dkt. 32), are
The May 3, 2017 R&R, (Dkt. 30), is ADOPTED.
Defendants’ motion to dismiss, (Dkt. 11), is GRANTED as follows:
Plaintiff’s Section 1983 claims based on alleged violations of the
First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment
to the United States Constitution are DISMISSED WITHOUT
Plaintiff’s Section 1983 claim based on alleged violations of the
Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Plaintiff’s
claims based on alleged violations of Minn. Stat. § 146.651 and
Minn. Stat. § 253D.19 are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Plaintiff Terry Lee Branson’s Complaint, (Dkt. 1), is DISMISSED as
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
Dated: June 26, 2017
s/Wilhelmina M. Wright
Wilhelmina M. Wright
United States District Judge
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