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Taft v. Palmer

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

February 27, 2015

DAVID LYNN TAFT, JR. Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLES PALMER, JASON SMITH, CINDY OLSEN, RENE FAGAN, HEATHER JOHNSON, MATTHEW LUGAR, NATE REINERT, RICK HENDERSON and BRAD WITTROCK Defendants.

INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

DONALD E. O'BRIEN, Senior District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is currently before the Court on the Plaintiff David Lynn Taft, Jr.'s, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 Complaint, Docket No. 1, Att. 1. Also before the Court are the Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed In Forma Paueris, Docket No. 1, and Motion to Appoint Counsel, Docket No. 2. The Plaintiff is an involuntarily committed patient at the Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders (CCUSO) in Cherokee, Iowa.[1]

II. BACKGROUND

As noted above, Mr. Taft is civilly committed at CCUSO. As set out by the Iowa Supreme Court:

Taft was arrested in December 1987 for lascivious acts with a minor, based on allegations that he sexually molested his sister and committed other criminal sexual offenses. He was convicted and sentenced to two five-year terms and a two-year term to run concurrently. He served this sentence and was discharged on May 31, 1991.
Seven days after his discharge from prison, Taft reoffended by sexually assaulting two girls who were unknown to him, one who was eight years old and the other who was ten. He was arrested and charged with second-degree sexual abuse, assault causing injury, and burglary. He was convicted and sentenced to prison. Taft was discharged from prison for these offenses on January 10, 2005.
Proceedings were commenced for Taft's commitment as a sexually violent predator (SVP) pursuant to the Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act, Iowa Code chapter 229A on March 30, 2005. At the commitment trial, the State's expert opined that Taft suffered from mixed personality disorder (anti-social personality disorder) and pedophilia. A jury found Taft suffered from a mental abnormality which made it more likely than not that he would reoffend, and he was therefore committed to the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders (CCUSO) under the provisions of Iowa Code chapter 229A. Taft v. Iowa Dist. Court ex rel. Linn Cnty., 828 N.W.2d 309, 311 (Iowa 2013).[2]

Since being committed to CCUSO, Mr. Taft has filed numerous lawsuits.[3] Shortly after arriving at CCUSO, Mr. Taft filed lawsuit 05-CV-4065-DEO, alleging that CCUSO failed to provide certain mandatory services, including providing patients a grievance procedure. 05-CV-4065-DEO, Docket No. 4. The Court appointed attorney Patrick Ingram to represent the Plaintiff. 05-CV-4065-DEO became the lead case in a large class action suit against CCUSO employees. Numerous parties and claims were added to the case. On April 25, 2012, the parties reached a settlement encompassing many different issues. 05-CV-4065, Docket Nos. 131 and 141.

On March 21, 2007, Mr. Taft filed a 28 U.S.C. Section 2254 habeas petition. 07-CV-0029-LRR, Docket No. 1. On April 23, 2007, Judge Reade conducted an initial review and denied Mr. Taft's Petition for failure to pay the proper filing fee. 07-CV-0029, Docket No. 2.

On June 4, 2007, Mr. Taft filed a 28 U.S.C. Section 2254 habeas petition. 07-CV-0053-LRR, Docket No. 1. On June 6, 2007, Judge Reade conducted an initial review and denied Mr. Taft's Petition for failure to pay the proper filing fee. 07-CV-0053, Docket Nos. 2-4.

Mr. Taft and CCUSO patient Eddie Risdal filed a pro se Complaint on September 23, 2008, alleging that CCUSO allowed certain patients to attack other patients. 08-CV-4081-DEO, Docket No. 1. The Court dismissed Mr. Taft from the case but allowed Mr. Risdal's case to join the then pending class action against CCUSO referenced above. See 08-CV-4081-DEO, Docket Nos. 3 and 16.

On May 19, 2009, Mr. Taft filed a pro se Complaint. 09-CV-4042-DEO. Mr. Taft voluntarily dismissed that case in favor of the pending class action discussed above. 09-CV-4042-DEO, Docket Nos. 6 and 7.

On July 20, 2009, Mr. Taft filed a 28 U.S.C. Section 2254 habeas petition. 09-CV-0095-LRR, Docket No. 1. On August 25, 2010, Judge Reade denied Mr. Taft's Petition. 09-CV-0095, Docket No. 29.

Mr. Taft filed a pro se Complaint on March 1, 2011, alleging the manner in which CCUSO patients were required to challenge disciplinary write-ups' was constitutionally deficient. 11-CV-4021-DEO, Docket No. 1. In June of 2011, the Complaint was consolidated with Taft et al. v. Turner et al., 05-CV-4065-DEO, the then pending class action case discussed above. On April 25, 2012, this Court accepted a settlement in 05-CV-4065-DEO. 05-CV-4065-DEO, Docket No. 151. However, Mr. Taft's argument regarding write-ups, ' was not addressed by the settlement. Consequently, on May 22, 2012, this Court entered an Initial Review Order allowing 11-CV-04021-DEO to proceed independent from the class action and appointed attorney Patrick Ingram to represent Mr. Taft. 11-CV-04021-DEO Docket No. 13. That case proceeded through the summary judgment phase. On March 28, 2014, this Court granted the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed Mr. Taft's case. 11-CV-04021-DEO, Docket No. 40.

On March 31, 2011, Mr. Taft filed a pro se Complaint alleging CCUSO was improperly interfering with his mail.[4] 11-CV-4035-DEO, Docket No. 1. The Court allowed the case to proceed. The Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Mr. Taft's claim. The Court granted that Motion on March 22, 2013. See 11-CV-4035-DEO, Docket No. 19.

On June 24, 2011, Mr. Taft filed a pro se Complaint alleging that CCUSO was not letting him progress through treatment. 11-CV-4060-MWB, Docket No. 1. Judge Bennett conducted an initial review and dismissed his case. 11-CV-4060-MWB, Docket No. 3.

On December 6, 2011, Mr. Taft filed a pro se Complaint alleging that he was in pain and that CCUSO employees had failed to treat him. 11-CV-4106-DEO, Docket No. 1. This Court conducted an initial review, found that Mr. Taft's complaint failed to raise to a ...


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