Thomas v. Bzoskie et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; Plaintiff's Objection to the R&R 43 is OVERRULED and the Magistrate Judge's R&R 42 is ADOPTED in full. Thomas's constitutional claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, and the Co urt declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Plaintiff's Motion for Voluntary Dismissal 35 is DENIED. Plaintiff's Motion for Revival, Reconsideration, and to Stay Costs 41 is DENIED. Plaintiff's Motion to Stay 46 is DENIED as moot. Plaintiff's action is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. (Written Opinion) Signed by Chief Judge John R. Tunheim on 12/06/2017. (JMK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
DESEAN LAMONT THOMAS,
Civil No. 16-3805 (JRT/KMM)
PASTOR JAMES BZOSKIE,
LIEUTENANT VERBY, LIEUTENANT
HEART, JOHN DOE, and DAKOTA
OPINION AND ORDER
ADOPTING REPORT AND
Desean Lamont Thomas, No. 228679, Minnesota Correctional Facility Rush City,
7600 Five Hundred Twenty-Fifth Street, Rush City, MN 55069, pro se plaintiff.
Helena R. Brosnahan and Jeffrey A. Timmerman, DAKOTA COUNTY
ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, 1560 Highway Fifty Five, Hastings, MN 55033, for
Plaintiff Desean Lamont Thomas filed two actions against Pastor James Bzoskie,
Lieutenant Hearth, Lieutenant Verby, and Dakota County (collectively “Defendants”). In
the first action, Thomas v. Bzoskie et al., No. 15-2197 (“Thomas I”), the Court ultimately
granted summary judgment for Defendants. The present action (“Thomas II”) was stayed
pending resolution of the summary judgment motion in Thomas I. When Defendants
prevailed at summary judgment in Thomas I, they filed a supplemental brief seeking
dismissal of Thomas II with prejudice. Presently before the Court are several filings: (1)
Thomas’s Motion for Voluntary Dismissal without Sanctions; (2) Thomas’s Judicial
Notice and Proclamation; (3) Thomas’s Motion for Revival, Reconsideration, and to Stay
Costs; (4) Thomas’s Motion to Stay; (5) the Magistrate Judge’s Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending that the action be dismissed with prejudice
and that Thomas’s request to seal this case be denied; and (6) Thomas’s Objection to the
R&R. Because the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation was not clearly erroneous, the
Court will overrule Thomas’s objection, adopt the R&R in full, and deny Thomas’s
Motion for Voluntary Dismissal. The Court will also deny Thomas’s other filings.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
On November 30, 2016, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss this action. (Defs.’
Mot. to Dismiss, Nov. 30, 2016, Docket No. 12.)
Because this action overlapped
significantly with Thomas I, Magistrate Judge Kate Menendez stayed this action pending
resolution of Thomas I and requested supplemental briefing in the present case upon such
resolution. (Order at 2, May 8, 2017, Docket No. 25.) When Defendants prevailed at
summary judgment in Thomas I, they filed a supplemental brief seeking dismissal of
Thomas II with prejudice. (Defs.’ Suppl. Br. at 2, Aug. 24, 2017, Docket No. 32.) On
September 11, 2017, Thomas filed a motion seeking voluntary dismissal without
sanctions and without prejudice. (Pl.’s Mot. for Voluntary Dismissal, Sept. 11, 2017,
Docket No. 35.) He also requested that the Court seal this case from public access. (Id.)
The Magistrate Judge issued an R&R recommending that Defendants’ Motion to
Dismiss be granted, that Thomas’s constitutional claims be dismissed with prejudice, that
the Court decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Thomas’s state law claims
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367, and that Thomas’s Motion for Voluntary Dismissal be
(R&R at 10, Oct. 30, 2017, Docket No. 42.)
The Magistrate Judge also
recommended that the case not be sealed from public access. (Id.) Thomas subsequently
filed an objection, opposing only the recommendation that the Court decline to seal this
case from public access. (Pl.’s Obj. to R&R (“Obj.”), Nov. 9, 2017, Docket No. 43.)
Standard of Review
Upon the filing of an R&R by a magistrate judge, a party may “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). “The 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, 2008 WL 4527774, at *2 (D. Minn. Sept.
28, 2008). The Court reviews de novo any portion of an R&R “that has been properly
objected to.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3); accord D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3).
A motion to seal documents is a nondispositive motion ordinarily decided by a
magistrate judge. See D. Minn. LR 5.6(d). An objection to the magistrate judge’s
decision regarding sealing of documents is governed by Local Rule 72.2(a). See D.
Minn. LR 5.6(d)(4).
A district court’s review of a magistrate judge’s order on
nondispositive matters is “extremely deferential.” See Roble v. Celestica Corp., 627 F.
Supp. 2d 1008, 1014 (D. Minn. 2007). The Court will reverse an order on sealing only if
it is clearly erroneous or contrary to law. See D. Minn. LR 72.2(a); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a).
Thomas’s Objection to the R&R
Thomas objects only to the R&R’s recommendation that the Court deny his
request to seal this case from public access. (Obj.) Thomas argues specifically that his
interest outweighs the public interest because “[t]here is no novel or important result
manifested in the relevant case that would a rouse the Publics’ [sic] Interest.” (Id.)
Thomas also argues that he has “[p]ending lawsuits against Public entities, which happen
to be accomplices [of] some Defendants,” thus “[u]nsealed files such as this . . . will
expose [Thomas’s] tactical maneuvers to the opposition.” (Id.) Because a decision on
sealing is nondispositive, the Court applies the more deferential standard of review to the
Magistrate Judge’s recommendation on this issue.
The Court will overrule Thomas’s Objection because the Magistrate Judge did not
clearly err in recommending that his case not be sealed. The First Amendment protects
the public’s right to access certain judicial proceedings. See Richmond Newspapers, Inc.
v. Virginia, 448 U.S. 555, 572-75 (1980). “There is [also] a common-law right of access
to judicial records.” IDT Corp. v. eBay, 709 F.3d 1220, 1222 (8th Cir. 2013) (citing
Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978)). The Magistrate Judge
“consider[ed] the degree to which sealing” this entire record “would interfere with the
interests served by the common-law right of access,” and the Magistrate Judge
“balance[d] that interference against the salutary interests served by maintaining
confidentiality” of the entire record.
See id. at 1223.
The Magistrate Judge
recommended that Thomas’s request be denied for the same reasons that his request was
denied in Thomas I: Thomas’s decision to stop practicing Islam and his wish not to be
publicly associated with that religion are not strong enough countervailing reasons to
overcome the public interest in understanding the basis for judicial decisions.
(Magistrate Judge’s Order at 1-2, Thomas I, Sept. 18, 2017, Docket No. 211 (quoting
IDT, 709 F.3d at 1224).)
The Magistrate Judge’s recommendation was not clearly
erroneous or contrary to law. Thus, the Court will overrule Thomas’s objection. Thomas
did not timely object to any other portion of the R&R, thus the Court will adopt the R&R
in full and deny Thomas’s Motion for Voluntary Dismissal.
THOMAS’S JUDICIAL NOTICE AND PROCLAMATION
On October 26, 2017, Thomas filed a document titled “Judicial Notice and
Proclamation,” along with a supporting affidavit. (Notice, Oct. 26, 2017, Docket No. 39;
Aff. Supp., Oct. 26, 2017, Docket No. 40.) The Court responded to this filing in Thomas
I. (Mem. Op. & Order (“Thomas I Order”) at 6-8, Thomas I, Nov. 21, 2017, Docket No.
220.) The same reasoning applies to the present action, thus the Court denies any
requested relief from judgments with prejudice and any other relief without prejudice.
THOMAS’S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
On October 30, 2017, Thomas filed a Motion for Reconsideration, for Revival,
and to Stay Cost. (Mot. for Recons., Oct. 30, 2017, Docket No. 41.) The Court also
responded to this filing in Thomas I. (Thomas I Order at 7-8.) The same reasoning
applies to the present action; Thomas has failed to show compelling circumstances that
warrant reconsidering or reopening Thomas’s case. Thus, the Court will deny his motion.
THOMAS’S MOTION TO STAY
On November 29, 2017, Thomas filed a motion asking the Court “to stay this
proceeding until he achieves the correct legal posture to perform in this arena.” (Mot. to
Stay, Nov. 29, 2017, Docket No. 46.) The present order will resolve all pending issues in
this case, and the Court will dismiss Thomas’s action.
Thomas’s Motion to Stay
Proceedings will therefore be denied as moot.
Based on the foregoing, and all the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS
HEREBY ORDERED that:
Plaintiff’s Objection to the R&R [Docket No. 43] is OVERRULED and
the Magistrate Judge’s R&R [Docket No. 42] is ADOPTED in full.
constitutional claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, and the Court declines to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Voluntary Dismissal [Docket No. 35] is DENIED.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Revival, Reconsideration, and to Stay Costs [Docket
No. 41] is DENIED.
Plaintiff’s Motion to Stay [Docket No. 46] is DENIED as moot.
Plaintiff’s action is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
DATED: December 6, 2017
at Minneapolis, Minnesota.
___________s/John R. Tunheim________
JOHN R. TUNHEIM
United States District Court
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