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Flugge v. Hollenbeck

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

June 19, 2017

RALPH LEROY FLUGGE, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD K. HOLLENBECK, individually and in his official capacity as a Deputy Sheriff for Howard County, Iowa, HOWARD COUNTY, IOWA, MARC WATERLANDER, in his individual and official capacities as a Conservation Officer for the State of Iowa, and THE STATE OF IOWA, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Leonard T. Strand, Chief Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case is before me on a motion (Doc. No. 9) by defendants Marc Waterlander and the State of Iowa (State) to dismiss plaintiff Ralph Leroy Flugge, Jr.'s claims against them. Flugge has filed a resistance (Doc. No. 11) and the movants have filed a reply (Doc. No. 12). No party has requested oral argument and, in any event, I find that oral argument is not necessary. See N.D. Ia. L.R. 7(c).

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The complaint includes the following allegations:

         On November 16, 2014, Flugge called Waterlander to complain that a deer had been illegally shot on his property. Doc. No. 2 at 4. Waterlander was unable to respond, but referred the matter to other conservation officers who met with Flugge on his property. Id. On December 7 and 10, 2014, Flugge contacted the Howard County Sheriff's Department and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and again complained about vehicles trespassing on his property for the purpose of poaching wild game deer. Id. at 5. Hollenbeck and Waterlander met with Flugge on December 7. Id. Hollenbeck met with Flugge again on December 10. Id. at 6. Meanwhile, Waterlander received information from multiple sources that Flugge was dissatisfied with the officers' response to his complaints and had made threatening statements with regard to trespassers. See Id. at 5-7 (“Flugge was very upset and stating that he was going to take the law into his own hands because Flugge knew they were not going to do anything with his complaints.”); (Flugge “stated he was 62 years-old and was not concerned if he had to go to prison and would just take care of the problem himself.”).

         On December 12, 2014, Waterlander applied for a search warrant based on the alleged threatening statements. Id. at 2-8. That same day, Flugge was charged with Felony Threat of Terrorism in violation of Iowa Code § 708A.5 based on those alleged statements.[1] Id. at 9. On August 20, 2015, the State of Iowa voluntarily dismissed the charge. Id. at 9.

         Flugge filed this action on December 9, 2016, asserting four counts:

• Count I - Constitutional violations brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Hollenbeck (both individually and in his official capacity as a Deputy Sheriff for Howard County, Iowa); Howard County, Iowa; Waterlander (both individually and in his official capacity as a conservation officer for the State);[2] and the State.
• Count II - Conspiracy claim brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Hollenbeck and Waterlander.
• Count III - State law claim of false arrest against Hollenbeck and Howard County, Iowa.
• Count IV - State law claim of malicious prosecution against Hollenbeck and Howard County, Iowa.

Id. at 9, 13, 15-16. The State and Waterlander (in his official capacity) argue Counts I and II against them should be dismissed based on Eleventh Amendment immunity.[3]

         III. ...


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