Hester v. Redwood Cnty., Civil No. 11–1690 ADM/JJK.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
Writing for the CourtANN D. MONTGOMERY
PartiesBrian Noel HESTER, Plaintiff, v. REDWOOD COUNTY; Steven Collins; The Lower Sioux Indian Community of Minnesota; Gabe Prescott, individually and in his capacity as President of the Lower Sioux Indian Community of Minnesota; Jonathan Meece, individually and in his capacity as a police officer for the Lower Sioux Indian Community of Minnesota; Patrick R. Rohland; Neil Melton; Joan Kopcinski; Jean Stacy; and Lon Walling, Defendants.
Decision Date06 August 2012
Docket NumberCivil No. 11–1690 ADM/JJK.

885 F.Supp.2d 934

Brian Noel HESTER, Plaintiff,
v.
REDWOOD COUNTY; Steven Collins; The Lower Sioux Indian Community of Minnesota; Gabe Prescott, individually and in his capacity as President of the Lower Sioux Indian Community of Minnesota; Jonathan Meece, individually and in his capacity as a police officer for the Lower Sioux Indian Community of Minnesota; Patrick R. Rohland; Neil Melton; Joan Kopcinski; 1 Jean Stacy; and Lon Walling, Defendants.

Civil No. 11–1690 ADM/JJK.

United States District Court,
D. Minnesota.

Aug. 6, 2012.


[885 F.Supp.2d 938]


Kenneth R. White, Esq., Law Office of Kenneth R. White, PC, Mankato, MN, on behalf of Plaintiff.

Amanda L. Stubson, Esq., Iverson Reuvers, LLC, Bloomington, MN, on behalf of Defendants Redwood County, Steven Collins, Patrick R. Rohland and Lon Walling.


Joseph F. Halloran, Esq., Jacobson, Buffalo, Magnuson, Anderson & Hogen PC, St. Paul, MN, on behalf of Defendants The Lower Sioux Indian Community of Minnesota, Gabe Prescott, and Jonathan Meece.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ANN D. MONTGOMERY, District Judge.
I. INTRODUCTION

On May 3, 2012, the undersigned United States District Judge heard oral argument on Defendants Redwood County, Lon Walling (“Walling”), Patrick R. Rohland (“Rohland”) and Steven Collins' (“Collins”) (Redwood County, Walling, Rohland, and Collins are collectively the “Redwood County Defendants”) Joint and Individual Motion for Dismissal and Summary Judgment [Docket No. 39]. Defendants the Lower Sioux Indian Community of Minnesota (the “Lower Sioux Community”), Gabe Prescott (“Prescott”), and Jonathan Meece (“Meece”) also brought a Motion for Dismissal and Summary Judgment [Docket No. 43]. Plaintiff Brian Noel Hester (“Hester”) asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as claims for intentional torts and negligence under Minnesota law, and opposes the motions. For the reasons set forth below, the motions are granted.

II. BACKGROUND2

The factual background of this case concerns the actions of police officers of a federally-recognized Indian tribe, within Indian Country, directed towards a member of that same federally-recognized Indian tribe.3 For this reason, some legal background regarding federal Indian law

[885 F.Supp.2d 939]

is appropriate and will help frame and explain the factual issues. Indian tribes, as the sovereign political units of the indigenous peoples of the United States, predated the existence of the United States and the English colonies that gave rise to this country.

Because Indian tribes possess a sovereignty predating the Framing of the U.S. Constitution, and because Indian tribes were not parties to the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other amendments to the U.S. Constitution do not apply to Indian tribes. Talton v. Mayes, 163 U.S. 376, 382–85, 16 S.Ct. 986, 41 L.Ed. 196 (1896). Rather, powers of Indian tribes may be constrained only by the tribe itself or Congress through the Commerce Clause or the related, judicially-created “plenary power.” See Morton v. Mancari, 417 U.S. 535, 551–52, 94 S.Ct. 2474, 41 L.Ed.2d 290 (1974) (noting Congress's plenary power over Indian affairs is “drawn both explicitly and implicitly” from the Indian Commerce Clause and the President's treaty power). Furthermore, because of Indian tribes' sovereign status, the states generally cannot regulate or prescribe activity of Indian people within Indian Country. See Williams v. Lee, 358 U.S. 217, 220, 79 S.Ct. 269, 3 L.Ed.2d 251 (1959) ( “Essentially, absent governing Acts of Congress, the question has always been whether the state action infringed on the right of reservation Indians to make their own laws and be ruled by them.”). For example, historically crimes committed by Indian people within Indian Country were not subject to the jurisdiction of any state. See, e.g., Duro v. Reina, 495 U.S. 676, 706 n. 3, 110 S.Ct. 2053, 109 L.Ed.2d 693 (1990) (“[I]t has long been accepted that States do not have power to exercise criminal jurisdiction over crimes involving Indians on the reservation.”) (Brennan, J., dissenting); cf.Ex Parte Kan–Gi–Shun–Ca, (otherwise known as Crow Dog), 109 U.S. 556, 571–72, 3 S.Ct. 396, 27 L.Ed. 1030 (1883) (ruling United States did not did not have jurisdiction over murder by one Indian of another committed within Indian reservation in Dakota Territory absent clear act of Congress). In August 1953, however, Congress abrogated that rule for some tribes in some states in certain circumstances through Public Law 83–280 (“Public Law 280”). Act of Aug. 15, 1953, Pub. L. No. 83–280, 67 Stat. 588 (codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. § 1162, 28 U.S.C. § 1360, and 25 U.S.C. §§ 1321–26).

Relevant here, Public Law 280 provided that the State of Minnesota would have criminal jurisdiction over Indian Country within its borders with the exception of the Red Lake Reservation. Id. Therefore, Minnesota's criminal jurisdiction extends to the Lower Sioux Community. The Lower Sioux Community retains inherent criminal jurisdiction over its own members within its territorial boundaries. See Walker v. Rushing, 898 F.2d 672, 675 (8th Cir.1990) (“Nothing in the wording of Public Law 280 or its legislative history precludes concurrent tribal authority.”). However, in 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Indian tribes, including the Lower Sioux Community, do not have inherent criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian people within their territory. Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191, 212, 98 S.Ct. 1011, 55 L.Ed.2d 209 (1978). The lack of jurisdiction of Indian tribes of non-Indian people within their borders has

[885 F.Supp.2d 940]

created well-documented problems with policing Indian Country. See generally Carole Goldberg–Ambrose, Public Law 280 and the Problem of Lawlessness In California Indian Country, 44 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. 1405 (1997). To improve the efficacy of police efforts within Indian Country, many Indian tribes and local law enforcement agencies have entered into crossdeputization or similar agreements. See, e.g., Angela R. Riley, Indians and Guns, 100 Georgetown L.J. 1675, 1731 (2012) (“Oftentimes, tribal and state police enter into crossdeputization and intergovernmental agreements to ensure effective policing of Indian territory.”).

On July 9, 1998, the Lower Sioux Community and Redwood County entered into a Mutual Aid and Assistance Agreement. Aff. of Kenneth R. White in Supp. of Pl.'s Mem. in Opp. to Redwood Cnty. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss & for Summ. J. [Docket No. 50] Ex. 1 (“Mutual Aid and Assistance Agreement”). Each respective government acted pursuant to enabling legislation for the agreement. For Redwood County, the enabling legislation was Minn. Stat. § 626.91, which specifically addresses Minnesota's delegation of authority to the Lower Sioux Community to enforce the laws of Minnesota. That delegation of authority is conditioned on the Lower Sioux Community filing with the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training a bond or certificate of insurance stating the Lower Sioux Community has certain liability insurance coverage in amounts related to the statutory maximum liability of Minnesota municipalities. Minn. Stat. § 626.91, subd. 2(2). This provision has been read to require not only that the Lower Sioux Community file a certificate of insurance but also actually have such insurance. See State v. Hester, 796 N.W.2d 328, 333–36 (Minn.2011).

Minn. Stat. § 626.91, subd. 2 includes additional conditions, and there is no dispute the Lower Sioux Community complied with those conditions at all relevant times. Hester, 796 N.W.2d at 334 n. 3. In particular, the Lower Sioux Community passed a limited waiver of its sovereign immunity for suits arising from the acts of its police officers enforcing state law. Halloran Aff. Ex. 3.

On December 16, 2008, Hester was a passenger in his own vehicle when it became stuck in a ditch alongside the road. Am. Compl. [Docket No. 48] ¶ 17. Defendant Meece received a report of a motorist in need of assistance and responded to the call. Am. Compl. ¶ 18. Meece is employed as a police office by the Lower Sioux Police Department. Am. Compl. ¶ 11. When Meece responded to the call, he observed Hester outside of the truck on the driver's side, and another individual on the passenger's side. Halloran Aff. Ex. 4 ¶ 5. Meece detected the order of alcohol from Hester, noticed Hester's eyes were bloodshot and watery, and believed Hester to be intoxicated. Halloran Aff. Ex. 4 ¶ 9; Am. Compl. ¶ 18. Another Lower Sioux Police Department officer arrived on the scene and also noticed the odor of alcohol coming from Hester. Halloran Aff. Ex. 4 ¶¶ 11, 15. That officer instructed Hester to wait in his truck rather than outside in the cold weather, and Hester entered the truck on the driver's side. Halloran Aff. Ex. 4 ¶¶ 17, 19. Hester provided Meece with his driver's license, and Meece discovered Hester's driver's license was expired. Halloran Aff. Ex. 5 Incident Report at 1.4

[885 F.Supp.2d 941]

Meece administered a preliminary breath test on Hester on the scene, and Hester registered a blood alcohol concentration of 0.13. Id. Meece then handcuffed Hester, placed him in a Lower Sioux Police Department squad car, and transported him to the Redwood County Jail. Am. Compl. ¶ 20.

At the Redwood County Jail, Hester was administered, and failed, field sobriety tests. Halloran Aff. Ex. 4 ¶¶ 35–36. Meece demanded further chemical testing from Hester, and read Hester an “implied consent advisory,” which is a statutorily-mandated notification similar to a Miranda warning but concerning chemical testing. Am. Compl. ¶ 21; seeMinn. Stat. § 169A.51, subd. 2 (listing required information in an implied consent advisory). Hester refused further chemical testing. Am. Compl. ¶ 21. Hester was then arrested for felony driving while impaired and booked into the Redwood County Jail. Halloran Aff. Ex. 5 Incident Report at 2. Additionally, Meece issued a citation to Hester for driving without a valid license in...

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8 practice notes
  • Waldorf v. Dayton, Court File No. 17-cv-107 (JRT/LIB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • June 6, 2017
    ...under § 1983 only where a policy or custom of that entity caused the alleged constitutional violation." Hester v. Redwood County, 885 F. Supp. 2d 934, 994 (D. Minn. 2012). In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff states:It was the policy of the STEARNS COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT and of the STEAR......
  • Cervantes v. San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, Case No. 17-cv-1230-BAS-NLS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • March 12, 2019
    ...may assert personal immunity defenses such as objectively reasonable reliance on existing law." Id.; Hester v. Redwood Cty., 885 F. Supp. 2d 934, 944 (D. Minn. 2012) ("A defendant sued in an individual capacity can plead the affirmative defense of qualified immunity."). And capacity also af......
  • United States v. Rigler, No. 4:11–cv–00204–JEG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • August 16, 2012
    ...or “badges of fraud” is insufficient to establish fraudulent intent, “the confluence of several can constitute conclusive evidence [885 F.Supp.2d 934]of an actual intent to defraud ...” and finding five of the badges of fraud was sufficient to show fraudulent intent (citation and internal q......
  • Adams v. Minn. Dep't of Corr., Case No. 14-cv-977 (MJD/TNL)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • January 29, 2015
    ...way of pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is an agent. Hester v. Redwood Cnty., No. 11-cv-1690 (ADM/JJK), 885 F. Supp. 2d 934, 943 (D. Minn. 2012) (quotations and citations omitted). If a complaint "is silent about the capacity" in which the defendant is sued or "does ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Waldorf v. Dayton, Court File No. 17-cv-107 (JRT/LIB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • June 6, 2017
    ...under § 1983 only where a policy or custom of that entity caused the alleged constitutional violation." Hester v. Redwood County, 885 F. Supp. 2d 934, 994 (D. Minn. 2012). In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff states:It was the policy of the STEARNS COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT and of the STEAR......
  • Cervantes v. San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, Case No. 17-cv-1230-BAS-NLS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • March 12, 2019
    ...may assert personal immunity defenses such as objectively reasonable reliance on existing law." Id.; Hester v. Redwood Cty., 885 F. Supp. 2d 934, 944 (D. Minn. 2012) ("A defendant sued in an individual capacity can plead the affirmative defense of qualified immunity."). And capacity also af......
  • United States v. Rigler, No. 4:11–cv–00204–JEG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • August 16, 2012
    ...or “badges of fraud” is insufficient to establish fraudulent intent, “the confluence of several can constitute conclusive evidence [885 F.Supp.2d 934]of an actual intent to defraud ...” and finding five of the badges of fraud was sufficient to show fraudulent intent (citation and internal q......
  • Adams v. Minn. Dep't of Corr., Case No. 14-cv-977 (MJD/TNL)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • January 29, 2015
    ...way of pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is an agent. Hester v. Redwood Cnty., No. 11-cv-1690 (ADM/JJK), 885 F. Supp. 2d 934, 943 (D. Minn. 2012) (quotations and citations omitted). If a complaint "is silent about the capacity" in which the defendant is sued or "does ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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