Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hutter v. Fox

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

November 15, 2019

MASON L. HUTTER, Plaintiff,
v.
SHELLY FOX, EDIE FERRILL, JAYME FOLEY, and ST. CROIX COUNTY, Defendants. MASON L. HUTTER, Plaintiff,
v.
RICK HUNEKE, PIERCE COUNTY, and NANCY HOVE, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          James D. Peterson District Judge.

         In case no. 16-cv-718-jdp, pro se plaintiff Mason L. Hutter alleges that employees in the St. Croix County clerk of court's office put incorrect information into his criminal and driver's license records, causing him to be arrested for violating conditions that did not apply to him. In case no. 18-cv-576-jdp, Hutter alleges that a Pierce County sheriff's deputy violated his rights under the First and Fourth Amendments by pulling him over repeatedly, arresting him, and fabricating testimony in support of a warrant for a blood draw. He also alleges that the Pierce County sheriff and the county are responsible for the deputy's actions. In a previous order, I consolidated these two cases because there appeared to be factual overlap between them. The summary judgment record for each case suggests that there is actually no factual overlap between the two cases. But because the parties' summary judgment filings have been docketed in both cases, I will continue to treat the cases as consolidated in this opinion. Several motions are before the court in each case.

         First, the St. Croix defendants (Shelly Fox, Edie Ferrill, Jayme Foley, and St. Croix County) have filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that Hutter's claims against them fail for numerous reasons. Dkt. 126.[1] I will grant the motion because Hutter has not shown that any of the St. Croix defendants violated his Fourth Amendment or state-law rights. In addition, he did not comply with Wisconsin's notice of claim statute, Wis.Stat. § 893.80, before bringing this lawsuit.

         Second, the Pierce County defendants (Rick Huneke, Nancy Hove, and Pierce County) filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 134. I will grant their motion as well, because Hutter has not shown that these defendants violated his First or Fourth Amendment rights.

         Third, Hutter filed several motions for leave to amend his complaints and to proceed on additional claims against additional defendants. Dkts. 111, 112, 113, 114, 118, 119, 120, 124, 125, 146. I will deny those motions because they are untimely and because Hutter is seeking to add claims that I dismissed already or that are not sufficiently related to the claims that are pending in these cases.

         Fourth, Hutter filed a motion to compel, Dkt. 148, and a motion for sanctions, Dkt. 147, against the Pierce County defendants. I will deny those motions as well. Hutter has not shown that defendants failed to respond to any properly served discovery requests. He also has not shown that defendants engaged in any conduct that would warrant sanctions.

         UNDISPUTED FACTS

         The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

         A. St. Croix County

         In January 2015, plaintiff Mason Hutter was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine as a repeater, in St. Croix County case 2015CF14. His initial appearance occurred on January 12, 2015. On the same day, another individual, William Johnson, had an initial appearance in an unrelated case, St. Croix County case 2015CF12, for charges of possession of methamphetamine and second offense operating while under the influence. Hutter's driver's license number was entered erroneously into the electronic court records associated with Johnson's case. Hutter discovered the association after he was stopped by a police officer, arrested, and jailed for failing to have an ignition interlock device on his vehicle, which was a restriction that applied to Johnson, but not to Hutter. (The parties did not submit any evidence about the arrest, such as the information the arresting officer relied on when arresting Hutter. It is not clear whether the officer relied on information from Hutter's driving records, criminal records, or some other record in determining erroneously that Hutter should have had an ignition interlock device on his vehicle.)

         In August 2015, Hutter went to the St. Croix clerk of court's office to seek help in fixing the problem of his driver's license number being linked to Johnson's criminal case. He spoke with defendant Shelly Fox, who held the position of lead worker in the clerk of court's office. Hutter gave Fox the criminal case number that his license had been associated with. (It is not clear from the record how Hutter discovered which case his driver's license number had been linked with.) Fox attempted immediately to determine how Hutter's driver's license had become associated with an unrelated person's criminal conviction and how to fix it.

         Fox reviewed the electronic docket for Johnson's case on the state's electronic case management system (CCAP). Johnson's correct driver's license number was listed on all but one of the entries on the electronic docket. The one exception was in the “parties” tab for Johnson's case. The parties tab contains information about the parties that can be seen only by the parties to the action and judicial staff, but not by the general public. Fox found that Hutter's driver's license number had been entered into the parties tab for Johnson's case. (Hutter's driver's license number was entered correctly throughout the docket of his 2015 criminal case.) Fox removed Hutter's driver's license number from the parties tab in Johnson's case.

         Fox also discovered that Hutter's driver's license number was listed on Johnson's “conviction status report.” A conviction status report is a document that is generated automatically by CCAP after a judgment of conviction is entered into CCAP in a case involving a driving offense. The report contains information about the convicted person, including his or her driver's license number, and the report is sent to the Department of Transportation. The clerk of court's office does not input information into a conviction status report manually; rather, CCAP determines what information to include in a conviction status report. In Johnson's case, Hutter's driver's license number was on the conviction status report that was generated and sent to the Department of Transportation. After Fox discovered that Hutter's driver's license number was listed on Johnson's conviction status report, she notified the Department of Transportation. Fox created new, handwritten conviction status reports for both Johnson's and Hutter's 2015 cases. Fox sent the corrected reports to the Department of Transportation. She also sent a letter to the Pierce County district attorney explaining what she thought might have occurred.

         There are no records showing who entered Hutter's driver's license number into the parties tab in Johnson's case. The parties tab can be completed by either the district attorney, at the time a criminal complaint is filed, or by the deputy criminal clerk in the St. Croix County clerk of court's office, at the time the arrestee attends criminal intake court for an initial appearance. At the time of Hutter's and Johnson's initial appearances on January 12, 2015, defendant Edie Ferrill was the deputy criminal clerk. Ferrill does not recall whether she populated the parties tabs in Johnson's or Hutter's cases. If she did, Ferrill would have used information from booking sheets to populate the tabs. (The other St. Croix county defendant, Jayme Foley, was a financial assistant in the clerk of courts' office. Foley had no role in entering information into CCAP or in generating conviction status reports.)

         There are also no records showing why Hutter's driver's license number was listed on Johnson's conviction status report. Fox contacted a CCAP representative, who told her that the driver's license numbers contained in the conviction status reports are not taken from the parties tab in CCAP. But because the parties tab is the only location where Fox found Hutter's driver's license number in the Johnson case, Fox could not determine why Hutter's driver's license number appeared on Johnson's conviction status report.

         B. Pierce County

         Defendant Rick Huneke is a deputy sheriff with the Pierce County Sheriff's Office. From January 2015 to October 2018, Huneke was assigned to overnight patrol for Pierce County. Huneke stopped Hutter for traffic violations on several occasions during that time.

         On January 23, 2016 at approximately 1:30 a.m., Huneke stopped Hutter for driving his vehicle without a front license plate, in violation of Wis.Stat. § 341.15(1). After Huneke approached Hutter's vehicle, he noted that Hutter had bloodshot and glassy eyes and that there was an odor of intoxicants coming from the vehicle.[2] Huneke asked Hutter to perform field sobriety tests. After deciding that Hutter had performed several of the tests unsuccessfully, Huneke arrested Hutter for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated as a second offense. Huneke asked Hutter to take a preliminary breath test and give a blood sample, but Hutter refused. Huneke later obtained a warrant to draw Hutter's blood, and the blood test showed that Hutter's blood alcohol concentration was 0.08 g/100 mL. Dkt. #68-3. At the time, Hutter was on community supervision in at least two different criminal cases. He gave a statement admitting that he violated his rules of community supervision by drinking and driving. Dkt. 150-1. His probation and extended supervision were revoked as a result. Dkt. #145-2. But his criminal case for the events of January 23 was ultimately dismissed on the prosecutor's motion after Hutter filed a successful motion to suppress the results of the field sobriety and blood alcohol concentration tests. (The state court judge concluded that Huneke did not have reasonable suspicion that Hutter was intoxicated at the time he asked Hutter to perform field sobriety tests.)

         On September 20, 2017, at 2:39 a.m., Huneke stopped Hutter because Hutter was driving a vehicle with expired license plates. On November 23, 2017, at 12:18 a.m., Huneke stopped Hutter because he was driving a vehicle that was registered to someone with a suspended license. (It is not clear from the record whether Hutter received citations as a result of these stops.)

         On November 29, 2017, Huneke stopped Hutter again because he was driving a vehicle that was registered to someone with a suspended license. As a result of the stop, Hutter received a warning for driving with no current proof of insurance. During the stop, Huneke asked Hutter about ownership of the vehicle and whether Hutter would be driving it in the future, but Hutter refused to speak with Huneke. Approximately two minutes after finishing the stop, Huneke drove past the stop location and saw Hutter outside of his ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.