University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Karsjens v. Minnesota Department of Human Services CJ-MN-0002
Docket / Court 0:11-cv-03659-DWF-JJK ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On December 21, 2011, patients who were civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program filed this pro se federal lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota. The plaintiffs sued the Minnesota Department of Health & Human Services and the Minnesota Sex Offender Program ( ... read more >
On December 21, 2011, patients who were civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program filed this pro se federal lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota. The plaintiffs sued the Minnesota Department of Health & Human Services and the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP). The plaintiffs asked the court for a temporary restraining order or permanent injunction, claiming that they were threatened with unfavorable treatment reports, transfers, unwarranted searches to confiscate legal materials, and termination of supervised release.

The plaintiffs sought to proceed as a class and gained representation from the state bar's Pro Se Project. The first amended complaint was filed on March 15, 2012. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief and damages, alleging that the defendants violated the Due Process Clause, the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Minnesota Constitution, and the Minnesota Civil Commitment and Treatment Act. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that the defendants failed to provide adequate treatment to the plaintiff class; punished class members instead of treating them; denied class members less restrictive alternative confinement, and incarcerated them under inhumane conditions; denied them religious freedom, free speech, and free association; and subjected them to unreasonable searches and seizures.

In or around 2008, a new Executive Director of the MSOP program was hired, and he was alleged to have imposed more restrictive policies. The plaintiffs alleged that they had vague treatment plans, a lack of qualified clinical staff, and that they had been denied proper medications and treatments. The plaintiffs alleged that punishments included solitary confinement, denial of group therapy, denial of exercise, denial of employment opportunities, and denial of treatment. They also alleged that the double-bunking of sexual offenders led to increased physical and sexual assaults. They claimed that they were subjected to intrusive searches without reasonable suspicion, and that legal correspondence was searched. The plaintiffs also claimed that only one patient had been released without revocation of discharge.

On January 25, 2012, and again on February 6, 2012, the Court (Judge Michael J. Davis) stayed all pending MSOP cases.

On July 24, 2012, the parties filed an agreement with the Court, outlining protections against searches of plaintiffs' legal materials. On July 24, 2012 the Court (Judge Donovan W. Frank) certified the plaintiff class of "All patients currently civilly committed in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program pursuant to Min.. Stat. § 253B." (Karsjens v. Jesson, 283 F.R.D. 514 (D. Minn. 2012)). Because of these developments, on July 26, 2012, the Court (J. Frank) held that the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order was moot.

On August 15, 2012, the Court (Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan) found that further study was necessary to address these issues. The Court ordered the Minnesota Commissioner of Human Services to create a Sex Offender Civil Commitment Advisory Task Force for two years. The Court ordered the Task Force to provide the Commissioner with recommendations on less restrictive alternatives and other recommended legislative reforms.

On October 5, 2012, the Court (J. Boylan) issued an order affirming the appointment of specific individuals to the Task Force. On December 13, 2012, the Court [Magistrate Judge Jeffrey J. Keyes] approved five more appointments to the Task Force.

On August 8, 2013, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint. On February 19, 2014, the court (J. Frank) granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the equal protection claim and denied all plaintiffs' and defendants' motions. In the opinion, Judge Frank warned that he may ultimately find the program to be unconstitutional and urged the legislature to take action.

The plaintiffs subsequently filed a third amended complaint on October 28, 2014. The court (J. Davis) stayed all current and future civil rights cases related to Karsjens pending the resolution of the litigation.

On November 6, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit denied the defendants' petition for review. The case was scheduled to go to trial in front of Judge Frank in February 2015.

On June 15, 2015, the Court found that Minnesota's civil commitment statutory scheme was unconstitutional, both on its face and as applied. After applying the strict scrutiny standard, the Court concluded that Minnesota's civil commitment statutory scheme was not narrowly tailored and was punitive. The Court also held that the determination that the MSOP and its governing civil commitment statutes were unconstitutional concluded Phase One of this case. The next question was what remedy should address this problem. 2015 WL 3755870 (D. Minn. June 17, 2015).

To this end, on July 23, 2015, former Chief Justice Eric J. Magnuson was designated as Special Master. He was authorized to oversee the injunctive relief imposed by the Court. A Special Master was deemed necessary to coordinate the efforts of the parties following the Court's determination of the defendants' liability on Counts I and II of the plaintiffs' Third Amended Complaint, to accommodate the public interest in achieving prompt and just solutions to the serious constitutional problems identified by the Court, and to lessen the expense and strain of resources on the Court and the parties in a case of this magnitude.

On August 20, 2015, a Third Amended Stay Order was entered. The purpose was to stay, all current and future civil rights cases that were sufficiently related to this case and were brought by an individual or group of individuals who has or have been civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, pending the litigation in Karsjens, or until further order of the Court stating otherwise.

On October 29, 2015, the Court entered the First Interim Relief Order requiring the defendants to conduct independent risk and phase placement reevaluation of all current patients at the MSOP. These independent risk assessments aimed to determine whether each patient (1) continued to meet the constitutional standard for commitment as set forth in Call v. Gomez, 535 N.W.2d 312 (Minn. 1995); (2) could be appropriately transferred or provisionally discharged; (3) could be housed in or monitored by a less restrictive alternative; and (4) was in the proper treatment phase. The defendants were required to complete these assessments within 30 days.

On the same day the defendants filed a Notice of Appeal to the 8th Circuit with regard to the First Interim Relief Order.

The case is ongoing.

Emily Goldman - 02/28/2013
Priyah Kaul - 11/09/2014
Lakshmi Gopal - 11/24/2015


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Monitor/Master
Reporting
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Conditions of confinement
Confidentiality
Counseling
Discharge & termination plans
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Disparate Treatment
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Grievance Procedures
Law library access
Library (non-law) access
Loss or damage to property
Mail
Over/Unlawful Detention
Parents (visitation, involvement)
Pattern or Practice
Phone
Records Disclosure
Recreation / Exercise
Rehabilitation
Religious programs / policies
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Search policies
Sex offender regulation
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Strip search policy
Totality of conditions
Visiting
Work release or work assignments
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Minnesota Department of Human Services
Minnesota Sex Offender Program
Plaintiff Description "All patients currently civilly committed in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program pursuant to Min.. Stat. § 253B."
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
0:11−cv−03659 (D. Minn.) 11/24/2015
CJ-MN-0002-9001 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
0:11−cv−03659−DWF−JJK (D. Minn.) 01/11/2016
CJ-MN-0002-9002 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights Pursuant to 42 IJ.S.C. 1983 Jury Trial DEMANDED 12/15/2011
CJ-MN-0002-0012 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Application for Temporary Restraining Order/Preliminary Injunction 12/21/2011
CJ-MN-0002-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order (staying cases) 02/06/2012 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 03/15/2012
CJ-MN-0002-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Restraining Order 06/28/2012
CJ-MN-0002-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in support of Amended Motion for Class Certification 06/28/2012
CJ-MN-0002-0008 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
State Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification 07/13/2012
CJ-MN-0002-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Certifying Class Pursuant to Rule 23(b)(2) 07/24/2012 (283 F.R.D. 514) (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Agreement 07/24/2012
CJ-MN-0002-0010 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Temporary Restraining Order] 07/26/2012 (2012 WL 3061863) (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0003 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Creating Sex Offender Civil Commitment Advisory Task Force] 08/15/2012 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Regarding Sex Offender Civil Commitment Advisory Task Force 10/15/2012 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0013 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Composition of Michigan Sex Offender Program Evaluation Team 11/09/2012 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0019 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 12/04/2012 (2012 WL 6044652) (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0014 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Regarding the MSOP Program Evaluation Team 12/13/2012 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0015 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 02/26/2013 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0016 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Protective Order 11/12/2013 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0020 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Amici Curia--ACLU‐MN 12/27/2013
CJ-MN-0002-0021 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 02/19/2014 (6 F.Supp.3d 916) (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0018 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Justia
Order to Show Cause 06/02/2014 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0022 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Protective Order 07/01/2014 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0023 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum, Opinion, and Order relating to Motion for Immediate Transfer of R.B. 08/11/2014 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0024 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Complaint 10/28/2014
CJ-MN-0002-0017 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss Specific Counts 04/24/2015 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0025 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Findings of Facts, Conclusions of Law, and Order 06/15/2015 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0026 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Approving Class Notice Modifications 07/17/2015 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0028 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Amici Curiae-Eric S. Janus and ACLU, MN 09/14/2015
CJ-MN-0002-0030 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Interim Relief Order 10/28/2015 (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0027 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boylan, Arthur J. (D. Minn.) [Magistrate]
CJ-MN-0002-0001 | CJ-MN-0002-0013
Davis, Michael James (D. Minn., FISC)
CJ-MN-0002-0005
Frank, Donovan W. (D. Minn.)
CJ-MN-0002-0002 | CJ-MN-0002-0003 | CJ-MN-0002-0014 | CJ-MN-0002-0018 | CJ-MN-0002-0022 | CJ-MN-0002-0024 | CJ-MN-0002-0025 | CJ-MN-0002-0026 | CJ-MN-0002-0027 | CJ-MN-0002-0028 | CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Keyes, Jeffrey J. Court not on record
CJ-MN-0002-0015 | CJ-MN-0002-0016 | CJ-MN-0002-0019 | CJ-MN-0002-0020 | CJ-MN-0002-0023 | CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Monitors/Masters Magnuson, Eric J. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Plaintiff's Lawyers Borrelli, Raina (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-0017 | CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Challeen, Raina (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-0006 | CJ-MN-0002-0008 | CJ-MN-0002-9001
Gluek, Karla (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-0006 | CJ-MN-0002-0008 | CJ-MN-0002-0017 | CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Goodwin, David A. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-0006 | CJ-MN-0002-0008 | CJ-MN-0002-0017 | CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Gustafson, Daniel E. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-0006 | CJ-MN-0002-0007 | CJ-MN-0002-0008 | CJ-MN-0002-0010 | CJ-MN-0002-0017 | CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Massopust, Lucia G. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Taubel, Eric S. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Defendant's Lawyers Alpert, Steven H (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-0010 | CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Brennaman, Nathan A (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Figueroa, Ricardo (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-0009 | CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Ikeda, Scott H (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Kieley, Max H. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Welle, Adam H. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Winter, Aaron (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Other Lawyers Anfinson, Mark R. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Borger, John P. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Janus, Eric S. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-0021 | CJ-MN-0002-0030 | CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Kirwin, John L. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Lebedoff, Randy M. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Nelson, Teresa (New York)
CJ-MN-0002-0021 | CJ-MN-0002-0030 | CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Nickitas, Peter J. (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002
Walker, Mary Andreleita (Minnesota)
CJ-MN-0002-9001 | CJ-MN-0002-9002

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -