United States District Court, D. Nebraska
JOHNNY DOE I, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated; JOHNNY DOE II, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated; JOHNNY DOE III, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated; JOHNNY DOE IV, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated; JOHNNY DOE V, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated; JOHNNY DOE VI, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated; and JOHNNY DOE VII, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated; Plaintiffs,
DOUG PETERSON, Attorney General of the State of Nebraska, in his official capacity; JOHN A. BOLDUC, Colonel, Superintendent of Law Enforcement and Public Safety for the Nebraska State Patrol, in his official capacity; STATE OF NEBRASKA, RUSS STANCZYK, in his individual capacity; BRADLEY RICE, in his individual capacity; TOM SCHWARTEN, in his individual Capacity; DAVID SANKEY, in his individual capacity; and BRYAN TUMA, in his individual capacity; Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
SMITH CAMP CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Motions to Dismiss, ECF
Nos. 3 and 6, filed by Defendants Doug Peterson, John Bolduc,
and the State of Nebraska. For the reasons stated below, the
Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 3, will be denied as moot and the
Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 6, will be granted.
following facts are those alleged in the Amended Complaint,
ECF No. 5, and assumed true for purposes of the pending
Motions to Dismiss.
action is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for monetary
damages only. Each of the Plaintiffs is a current resident of
Nebraska and, at some point prior to becoming a resident of
Nebraska, “received a juvenile adjudication” for
a sex offense while residing in another state. Am. Comp.
¶¶ 3-9, ECF No. 5, Page ID 23-4. Upon relocating to
Nebraska, Plaintiffs were required to register under
§§ 29-4003(1)(a)(iv) or
29-4003(1)(b)(iii) of the Sex Offender Registration Act
(SORA), Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-4001 et seq.
A.W. v. Peterson et al., this Court permanently
enjoined defendants associated with the state of Nebraska and
Red Willow County, Nebraska, from enforcing §
29-4003(1)(a)(iv) against the plaintiff, who was
“adjudicated delinquent” in a Minnesota juvenile
court for a sex offense. 8:14CV256, 2016 WL 1092477 (D. Neb.
March 21, 2016), aff'd A.W. v. Nebraska, 865
F.3d 1014 (8th Cir. 2017). After the Eighth Circuit affirmed
this Court's decision to grant an injunction, the State
of Nebraska “notified [seventy-four] individuals,
including the plaintiffs, that they were no longer subject
to” SORA's registration requirements. Am. Comp.,
ECF No. 5, Page ID 23.
Plaintiffs are no longer required to register under SORA,
they have brought this § 1983 action for damages as a
result of their previously required registration, claiming
violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment, the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article
IV, Section 2, the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment, and the Eighth Amendment's
prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Plaintiffs did
not respond to the Motions to Dismiss, ECF Nos. 3 and 6,
filed by Peterson, Bolduc, and the State of Nebraska.
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To satisfy this
requirement, a plaintiff must plead “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Corrado v. Life Inv'rs Ins. Co. of Am., 804 F.3d
915, 917 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Barton v. Taber, 820 F.3d 958, 964 (8th Cir. 2016)
(quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009)). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not suffice.” Zink v. Lombardi, 783 F.3d 1089,
1098 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678), cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 2941 (2015). The
complaint's factual allegations must be “sufficient
to ‘raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.'” McDonough v. Anoka Cty., 799 F.3d
931, 946 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555). The Court must accept factual allegations as true,
but it is not required to accept any “legal conclusion
couched as a factual allegation.” Brown v. Green
Tree Servicing LLC, 820 F.3d 371, 373 (8th Cir. 2016)
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Thus, “[a]
pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or
‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.'” Ash v. Anderson
Merchandisers, LLC, 799 F.3d 957, 960 (8th Cir. 2015)
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678), cert.
denied, 136 S.Ct. 804 (2016).
motion to dismiss, courts must rule “on the assumption
that all the allegations in the complaint are true, ”
and “a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it
strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is
improbable, and ‘that a recovery is very remote and
unlikely.'” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 &
556 (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236
(1974)). “Determining whether a complaint states a
plausible claim for relief . . . [is] a context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Mickelson v. Cty. of
Ramsey, 823 F.3d 918, 923 (8th Cir. 2016) (alternation
in original) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679).
claims are brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Doug
Peterson and John Bolduc, in their official capacities only,
against the State of Nebraska directly. Plaintiffs do not
seek any prospective or injunctive relief; they have
requested only money damages. Plaintiffs cannot, however,
maintain a § 1983 action for money damages against the
State of Nebraska or against Peterson and Bolduc, in their
official capacities. McLean v. Gordon, 548 F.3d 613,
618 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing Will v. Mich. Dep't of
State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989) (“We hold
that neither a State nor its officials acting in their
official capacities are ‘persons' under §
1983.”); see also Howlett v. Rose, 496 U.S.
356, 365 (1990). Therefore, the § 1983 claims for
monetary damages against the State of Nebraska and against
Peterson and Bolduc, in their official capacities, will be
dismissed, with prejudice.
Court notes that Defendants Russ Stanczyk, Bradley Rice, Tom
Schwarten, David Sankey, and Bryan Tuma have been sued in
their individual capacities only and have submitted a
separate Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 19. This Motion is not