United States District Court, D. Nebraska
JOHN V. HALTOM, Plaintiff,
KAREN PARKS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. Gerrard, United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the motion for summary judgment
(filing 115) filed by Karen Parks, Salina Hardesty, Sam
Funnah, Nicole Lemke, Stephanie Allison, Ralph Martinez,
Jason Bequette, Wendy Waites, Michael Smith, Mark Heilman,
Anthony Troester, Marti Beard, Nanette Simmons, Jeremy
Powers, Sharon Bartek, Bob Meier, and Cedars Youth Services,
Inc. (collectively, the "Cedars Defendants"). The
Court will grant their motion and dismiss the claims against
them with prejudice.
plaintiff's allegations are briefly summarized as
follows. In 2009, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human
Services (DHHS) began investigating domestic disputes between
the plaintiff, John Haltom, and his former wife. Filing 6 at
18-19. That investigation resulted in the adjudication of
Haltom's children in Nebraska juvenile court. Filing 6 at
claims that as part of its investigation, DHHS conspired with
private health practitioners to violate Haltom's
constitutional rights and, ultimately, take away his
children. These actions were purportedly motivated by
DHHS's "long standing resentment" of Haltom,
stemming from past litigation, his operation of adult
entertainment businesses, and his "political ambitions
within the State of Nebraska and its state departments."
Filing 6 at 3, 8, 9. To accomplish its goals, at least
according to Haltom, DHHS and the other defendants-all acting
"under color of state law"-partook in widespread
misconduct ranging from the production of false medical
evaluations to unwarranted "invasions" into
Haltom's home. Filing 6 at 5-6, 12. As a result, Haltom
says he has experienced "extreme emotional and physical
distress" and is "[unable] to function in
society." Filing 6 at 5.
Nebraska juvenile court, finding that Haltom's ex-wife
had "successfully corrected the conditions adjudicated
in this case[, ]" terminated its jurisdiction (and thus,
the juvenile case) on June 24, 2011. Filing 117-1 at 10-11.
That order expressly relieved DHHS of responsibility for the
children. Filing 117-1 at 11. Haltom initiated this lawsuit
on November 21, 2015. Filing 1. In his operative pleading,
Haltom asserts 37 separate purported claims for relief
against 49 named and 7 unnamed defendants, all premised on
alleged federal constitutional violations brought pursuant to
42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985(2), 1985(3), or
1986. See filing 6. Some defendants have already
been dismissed on motions to dismiss, filing 81, and others
have been dismissed for failure to serve process, filing 97.
remaining defendants include the Cedars Defendants, listed
above. See filing 6. Cedars Youth Services is a
nonprofit organization that provides in-home safety and
family support services. Filing 116 at 2. The individual
Cedars Defendants were employees of Cedars. Filing 116 at 2
n.2. The Cedars Defendants are here because Cedars was
retained by DHHS to provide services associated with the
juvenile court case. Filing 116 at 3. Cedars' role was to
visit and supervise visits to Haltom's home, inspect the
home, write court reports regarding Haltom's behavior,
and take urine samples from Haltom. Filing 116 at 3. None of
the Cedars Defendants were involved with Haltom outside the
context of the juvenile court proceedings. Filing 116 at 3.
Cedars Defendants last had contact with Haltom or his
children no later than October 29, 2010. Filing 116 at 3-4.
And, as noted above, the juvenile court proceedings in their
entirety terminated on June 24, 2011, filing 117-1, and this
lawsuit was filed on November 21, 2015, filing 1. The Cedars
Defendants move for summary judgment arguing, among other
things, that Haltom's claims are time-barred. Filing 116
judgment is proper if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The movant bears the initial
responsibility of informing the Court of the basis for the
motion, and must identify those portions of the record which
the movant believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact. Torgerson v. City of
Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc). If
the movant does so, the nonmovant must respond by submitting
evidentiary materials that set out specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id.
motion for summary judgment, facts must be viewed in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is
a genuine dispute as to those facts. Id. Credibility
determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing
of legitimate inferences from the evidence are jury
functions, not those of a judge. Id. But the
nonmovant must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. Id.
Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational
trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no
genuine issue for trial. Id.
the Cedars Defendants raise several issues, the Court does
not need to go farther than the statute of limitations. To
begin with, § 1983 claims are generally governed by the
personal injury statute of limitations of the state where the
claim arose. Bridgeman v. Nebraska State Pen, 849
F.2d 1076, 1077 (8th Cir. 1988); see City of Rancho Palos
Verdes, Cal. v. Abrams, 544 U.S. 113, 123 n.5 (2005).
Here, that's a four-year statute of limitations.
Jacob v. Schlichtman, 198 F.3d 250 (8th Cir. 1999)
(citing Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-207); see
Bridgeman, 849 F.2d at 1077.
1983 claims accrue, for the purpose of the statute of
limitations, when the plaintiff knows or has reason to know
of the injury which is the basis of his action. Johnson
v. Johnson Cty. Comm'n Bd., 925 F.2d 1299, 1301
(10th Cir. 1991); seeDavis v. Ross, 995
F.2d 137, 138 (8th Cir. 1993); Kaster v. Iowa, 975
F.2d 1381, 1382 (8th Cir. 1992). Accrual occurs when the
plaintiff has a complete and present cause of action, that
is, when the plaintiff can file suit and obtain relief.
Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388 (2007). And the
Cedars Defendants' evidence establishes conclusively that
no act of misconduct occurred ...