Van Stelton v. Jerry Van Stelton, Donna Van Stelton, Eugene Van Stelton, Gary Christians, Doug Weber, Scott Gries, Nate Krikke, Robert E. Hansen, Daniel Dekoter, Osceola Cnty., Iowa, & Dekoter, Thole & Dawson, P.C., No. C11-4045-MWB

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
Writing for the CourtMARK W. BENNETT U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA
Docket NumberNo. C11-4045-MWB
PartiesVIRGIL VAN STELTON, CAROL VAN STELTON, AND ALVIN VAN STELTON, Plaintiffs, v. JERRY VAN STELTON, DONNA VAN STELTON, EUGENE VAN STELTON, GARY CHRISTIANS, DOUG WEBER, SCOTT GRIES, NATE KRIKKE, ROBERT E. HANSEN, DANIEL DEKOTER, OSCEOLA COUNTY, IOWA, AND DEKOTER, THOLE AND DAWSON, P.C. Defendants.
Decision Date30 September 2014

VIRGIL VAN STELTON, CAROL VAN STELTON,
AND ALVIN VAN STELTON, Plaintiffs,
v.
JERRY VAN STELTON, DONNA VAN STELTON,
EUGENE VAN STELTON, GARY CHRISTIANS, DOUG WEBER,
SCOTT GRIES, NATE KRIKKE, ROBERT E. HANSEN,
DANIEL DEKOTER, OSCEOLA COUNTY, IOWA, AND DEKOTER,
THOLE AND DAWSON, P.C. Defendants.

No. C11-4045-MWB

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA WESTERN DIVISION

September 30, 2014


MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND..............................................3

A. Factual Background...............................................................3

1. The parties...................................................................3
2. The Law Firm's involvement in the Trust.............................4
3. State court litigation.......................................................6
4. County defendants' actions concerning Margaret...................7
5. State court litigation.......................................................8
6. Virgil's arrest...............................................................9
7. Virgil's tape recorder....................................................13

B. Procedural Background.........................................................13

II. LEGAL ANALSYIS......................................................................15

A. Summary Judgment Standards.................................................15

B. Section 1983 Claims..............................................................18

1. Requirements for § 1983 claim........................................18

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2. Under color of state law requirement.................................20
3. Section 1983 claims against the County defendants...............23
a. First Amendment claims ........................................23
i. Virgil's arrest.............................................24
ii. Family association.......................................24
b. Fourth Amendment claims.....................................26
i. Virgil's warrantless arrest..............................26
ii. Search of tape recorder.................................29
c. Fifth Amendment claims........................................32
d. Fourteenth Amendment claims ................................32
e. Constitutional claims against Osceola County..............34

C. State Law Claims.................................................................34

1. False arrest................................................................35
a. Requirements for false arrest claim ..........................35
b. The County defendants .........................................36
c. The Law Firm defendants ......................................36
d. Van Stelton defendants .........................................37
2. Malicious prosecution ...................................................39
a. Requirements for malicious prosecution claim.............39
b. Analysis of claims................................................41
3. Defamation ................................................................ 41
a. Requirements for defamation claims .........................41
b. Analysis of claims................................................44
4. Breach of fiduciary duty................................................45
a. Requirements of breach of fiduciary duty claims..........45
b. Analysis of claims................................................45
i. The Law Firm defendants..............................46
ii. The Van Stelton defendants ...........................46
5. Interference with prospective business advantage..................51
a. Requirements for claim .........................................51
b. Analysis of claim.................................................52

III. CONCLUSION ............................................................................ 53

Page 3

Plaintiffs brought a panoply of claims against defendants, including claims for civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq.; and pendent state law claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution, slander and libel, and tortious interference with prospective business advantage. I granted portions of defendants' motions to dismiss for failing to adequately state viable claims under Federal or Iowa law. Defendants have now moved for summary judgment on plaintiffs' remaining claims. Plaintiffs resist defendants' motions, asserting that a reasonable jury could find in their favor on all of their remaining claims.

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
A. Factual Background

I set out only those facts, disputed and undisputed, sufficient to put in context the parties' arguments concerning the defendants' motions for summary judgment and resistances to them. At least for the purposes of summary judgment, the facts recited here are undisputed.1 I will discuss additional factual allegations, and the extent to which they are or are not disputed or material, if necessary, in my legal analysis.

1. The parties

Plaintiffs Virgil Van Stelton and his wife, plaintiff Carol Van Stelton, are residents of Iowa. They both live in Sibley, Iowa, which is located in Osceola County. Plaintiff

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Alvin Van Stelton is also a resident of Iowa. He lives in Ashton, Iowa, which is also located in Osceola County. Defendants Jerry Van Stelton, Donna Van Stelton, and Eugene Van Stelton are residents of Iowa, all living in Sibley. Virgil, Alvin, Jerry, and Eugene...

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