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Driesen v. Smith

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

January 2, 2014

JAY DRIESEN, RUSTIC HOME BUILDERS LLC, Plaintiffs,
v.
MICHAEL J. SMITH; MARGARET A. SMITH; STEVEN G. HAUGAARD; CADWELL, SANFORD, DEIBERT & GARRY L.L.P.; STEPHEN C. LANDON; BRETT LOVRIEN, MICHAEL A. HENDERSON, JAMES S. SIMKO; PETER BENFORD; JIM LOUP; SOUTH DAKOTA UNIFIED JUDICIAL SYSTEM; MOODY COUNTY CLERK, LILLIAN RELF, DEPUTY CLERK LISA JOHNSON; HONORABLE DAVID R. GIENAPP; HONORABLE TIM D. TUCKER; CHIEF JUSTICE DAVID GILBERTSON; JUSTICE JOHN K. KONENKAMP; JUSTICE STEVEN L. ZINTER; JUSTICE GLEN A. SEVERSON; JUSTICE LORI S. WILBUR; RUTH KOOIMA; MICHAEL J. JACOBSMA; JOHN M. MURRAY; IOWA JUDICIAL BRANCH; DON E. COURTNEY; HONORABLE JAMES D. SCOTT; HONORABLE JEFFREY L. POULSON; BRAD VAN HEUVELEN, Defendants.

Not To Be Published

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS TO DISMISS

MARK W. BENNETT, U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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

A. Factual Background ............................................................... 3
1. The parties and principal actors ......................................... 3
2. The South Dakota litigation .............................................. 4
3. The Iowa litigation ......................................................... 5
a. Driesen I ............................................................. 5
b. Driesen II ............................................................ 6
c. Latest litigation ..................................................... 7
B. Procedural Background ........................................................... 8

II. LEGAL ANALYSIS ...................................................................... 11

A. Standards For Rule 12(b)(1) Motions To Dismiss .......................... 11
B. Rooker-Feldman Doctrine ...................................................... 14

III. CONCLUSION ............................................................................ 19

“Large streams from little fountains flow, tall oaks from little acorns grow.” David Everett (1791). Like the proverbial oak tree, this broad-based case grows out of two simple state court cases in Iowa and South Dakota. Having lost repeatedly in the state courts of Iowa and South Dakota, plaintiffs have transformed those straightforward cases, involving a discrete set of facts and a few individuals, into this case by which plaintiffs bring federal claims against nearly every individual, lawyer, and judge involved in the prior state litigation. Defendants have moved for dismissal of this case on multiple grounds, and plaintiffs have resisted those motions.

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

1. The parties and principal actors

Plaintiff Jay Driesen is an Iowa resident with a mail address in Inwood, Iowa. Driesen was the sole stockholder of plaintiff Rustic Home Builders, L.L.C. (“RHB”), which was dissolved on March 31, 2008.

Defendant Michael J. Smith is a resident of Flandreau, South Dakota. Defendant Margaret A. Smith is a resident of Colton, South Dakota. Michael and Margaret were previously married (collectively, “the Smiths”).

Defendant Cadwell, Sanford, Deibert & Garry is a law firm with offices in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (“the Cadwell law firm”). The Cadwell law firm previously represented the Smiths. Defendants Stephen C. Landon, Brett Lovrien, Michael A. Henderson, and James S. Simko are attorneys at the Cadwell law firm.

Defendant Michael J. Jacobsma is an attorney in Sioux Center, Iowa, who represented the Smiths. Defendant John M. Murray is an attorney in Storm Lake, Iowa, who represented the Smiths. Defendant Steven Haugaard is an attorney in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who represented Driesen and RHB. Defendant Peter Bendorf is also an attorney in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who represented Driesen and RHB. Defendant Jim Loop has an office in Wilmot, South Dakota. Defendant Lillian Relf was Clerk of Court for the South Dakota Third Judicial Circuit, Moody County, in 2007. Defendant Lisa Johnson was the Deputy Clerk of Court for the South Dakota Third Circuit Court, Moody County, in 2007. Defendants Don E. Courtney, James D. Scott, and Jeffrey L. Poulson are Iowa District Court Judges in Iowa’s Third Judicial District. Defendants David R. Gienapp and Tim D. Tucker are both Judges in the South Dakota Third Circuit Court, Moody County. Defendant David Gilbertson is Chief Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court. Defendants John K. Konenkamp, Steven L. Zinter, Glen A. Severson, and Lori ...


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