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 122) filed by Premier Psychiatric Group, LLC; Dr.
Walter Duffy, Stanley Carlock, Ann Williams, and Kate Steffen
(collectively, the Premier Defendants). The Court will grant
their motion and dismiss the claims against them with
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
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,
remaining defendants include the Premier Defendants.
See filing 6. According to Haltom, DHHS directed him
to see Premier Psychiatric for evaluation. Filing 6 at 14.
Haltom alleges that the Premier Defendants were provided with
"biased, pejorative information" by DHHS and,
because they accepted "tainted information, " their
evaluation was biased. Filing 6 at 28-29. And, he claims, the
Premier Defendants designed Haltom's drug and alcohol
testing protocol poorly, and revealed confidential
information about him. Filing 6 at 48-51.
is a psychiatrist who was employed by Premier Psychiatric,
while Carlock, Williams, and Steffen were non-physician
employees of Premier Psychiatric. Filing 124 at 7. Premier
Psychiatric was asked by DHHS, on April 7, 2009, to conduct a
comprehensive family assessment of Haltom. Filing 124 at 7.
Duffy conducted a mental health evaluation of Haltom on April
10, 2009, and provided his findings and recommendations to
DHHS. Filing 124 at 3. And, as noted above, the juvenile
court proceedings in their entirety terminated on June 24,
2011, filing 117-1 at 11, and this lawsuit was filed on
November 21, 2015, filing 1. The Premier Defendants move for
summary judgment arguing, among other things, that
Haltom's claims are time-barred. Filing 123 at 14-15.
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 Premier 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
evidence establishes conclusively that no act of misconduct