Hartmann v. Schauer et al
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION. See Order for details. (Written Opinion). Signed by Judge Patrick J. Schiltz on August 18, 2017. (CLG) cc: Hartmann. Modified text on 8/18/2017 (MMP).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
MICHAEL OTTO HARTMANN, in
propria persona, As Trustee for Lakeview
Case No. 16‐CV‐3970 (PJS/BRT)
DAVID E. SCHAUER, individually and
Official Capacity; JOHN DOES 1‐10,
Michael Otto Hartmann, pro se.
Jason M. Hill, JARDINE, LOGAN & O’BRIEN, PLLP, for defendant David E.
Plaintiff Michael Hartmann filed a 44‐page, 29‐count1 complaint against
defendant David Schauer and other unnamed defendants. Hartmann’s complaint is
largely incoherent, full of the sort of irrelevant, out‐of‐context legal gibberish common
to tax protesters and adherents of the “sovereign citizen” movement. To the extent that
the complaint is comprehensible, it mainly arises out of defendants’ alleged roles in
(1) enforcing a court order requiring Hartmann to replace a noncompliant septic system
and (2) rejecting Hartmann’s altered voter‐registration forms.
Hartmann’s complaint contains two claims labeled “Fifth Cause of Action.”
Compl. at 35.
In a July 5, 2017 Report and Recommendation (“R&R”), Magistrate Judge Becky
R. Thorson recommends granting Schauer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings as to
Hartmann’s federal claims and declining to exercise jurisdiction over any possible state‐
law claims. Judge Thorson further recommends denying Hartmann’s motions for
judgment on the pleadings, to voluntarily dismiss this action, and to take judicial notice
of the complaint.
This matter is before the Court on Hartmann’s objection to the R&R. Having
conducted a de novo review, see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b), the Court
agrees with Judge Thorson’s analysis. Only three matters merit comment:
First, the Court agrees that all of Hartmann’s claims regarding the septic system
rely on his (frivolous) argument that the settlement stipulation that he signed is
somehow invalid or without effect. That stipulation was incorporated into a court
order, however, see Hill Aff., Feb. 2, 2017, Ex. 3, which independently requires
Hartmann to replace the septic system. Hartmann’s attacks on the validity of the
settlement stipulation are therefore attacks on the validity of the court order. Under the
Rooker‐Feldman doctrine,2 the Court does not have jurisdiction to invalidate a state‐court
order. Hartmann’s claims regarding the septic system must therefore be dismissed
See D.C. Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker v. Fid. Trust Co.,
263 U.S. 413 (1923).
without prejudice.3 See Crooks v. Lynch, 557 F.3d 846, 849 (8th Cir. 2009) (dismissals for
lack of jurisdiction should be without prejudice).
Second, Hartmann purports to bring this action at least partly in his capacity as
trustee for the Lakeview Trust, which, so far as can be gleaned from the complaint and
attached materials, is the owner of the property that is the subject of the septic‐tank
enforcement efforts. A non‐lawyer cannot represent a trust in federal court. See Knoefler
v. United Bank of Bismarck, 20 F.3d 347, 348 (8th Cir. 1994). Nothing in the record
suggests that Hartmann is a lawyer. To the extent that Hartmann’s complaint asserts
claims on behalf of the Lakeview Trust, therefore, such claims are dismissed without
Finally, Hartmann appears to assert some kind of claim under 5 U.S.C. § 552a.
See Compl. at 41. To the extent Hartmann has purported to bring such a claim or any
other miscellaneous claim under federal law, they are dismissed as incoherent and
Even if the Court had jurisdiction over these claims, the Court agrees with
Judge Thorson that Schauer would be entitled to absolute immunity against any
damages claims and that Younger abstention would be appropriate with respect to
claims for prospective injunctive relief. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971); see also
Sprint Commc’ns, Inc. v. Jacobs, 134 S. Ct. 584, 588 (2013) (Younger abstention is
appropriate in civil‐enforcement proceedings that are akin to criminal prosecutions and
to proceedings that “implicate a State’s interest in enforcing the orders and judgments
of its courts.”).
Based on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and proceedings herein,
the Court ADOPTS the July 5, 2017 R&R [ECF No. 41] to the extent it is consistent with
this order. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
Defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings [ECF No. 9] is
GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. It is GRANTED to the
extent that the Court dismisses some claims with prejudice, and it is
DENIED to the extent that the Court dismisses some claims without
The Court declines to exercise jurisdiction over any state‐law claims that
may be pleaded in the complaint, and such claims are DISMISSED
To the extent the complaint asserts any claims on behalf of the Lakeview
Trust, such claims are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
All federal claims relating to the enforcement of the septic‐tank order are
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
To the extent the complaint asserts claims against additional, unnamed
defendants, those claims are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
All remaining claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Plaintiff’s motions for judgment on the pleadings, for voluntary dismissal,
and to take judicial notice of the complaint [ECF Nos. 19, 30, 40] are
Plaintiff’s reply and attached exhibit [ECF No. 47] are STRICKEN as
unauthorized by the local rules of this District. See D. Minn. L.R. 72.2.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
Dated: August 18, 2017
s/Patrick J. Schiltz
Patrick J. Schiltz
United States District Judge
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