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Walker v. City of Pocatello

United States District Court, D. Idaho

July 20, 2016

JOHN WALKER Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF POCATELLO, a political subdivision of the State of Idaho; SCOTT MARCHAND, in his individual and official capacity; BRIAN BLAD, in his individual and official capacity, and ROGER SCHEI, in his individual and official capacity, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill, United States District Court Chief Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Defendants City of Pocatello, Scott Marchand, Brian Blad and Roger Schei’s Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 11). Defendants seek to dismiss plaintiff John Walker’s state law claims (Counts III-VI) against Defendants Scott Marchand and Roger Shei for failure to post bond under I.C. § 6-610, and seeks to dismiss the Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED) claims set forth in Count VI for failure to state a claim for relief. For the following reasons, the Court will grant the motion in part and deny the motion in part.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff John Walker brings federal and state claims against the defendants regarding their treatment of him in their capacity as supervisors within the Pocatello Police Department (“PPD”), as well as the defendants’ alleged interference with Walker’s efforts to procure employment outside of the PPD. See generally, Am. Compl. (Dkt. 3).

         Walker has worked as a police officer with PPD since September 1996. Id. at ¶ 11, Dkt. 3. Defendant Marchand is the Pocatello Chief of Police, and Defendant Schei is a PPD Captain who supervised Walker. Although Walker suggests that a number of adverse employment actions were unfairly taken against him since June 2012, Walker’s claims primarily stem from the individual defendants’ alleged interference with Walker’s efforts to be hired as the Director of Public Safety at Idaho State University. Id. at ¶ 51- 58, Dkt. 3.

         Walker alleges that the defendants’ actions violated his First Amendment rights to Freedom of Speech and Fourteenth Amendment rights to Due Process. See Id. at ¶ 61-74, Dkt. 3. Additionally Walker asserts that the defendant’s conduct was tortious under Idaho law. Id. at ¶ 75-89, Dkt. 3.

         ANALYSIS

         1. Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss under I.C. § 6-610

         Defendants seek to dismiss Walker’s state law claims against defendants Marchand and Schei for a failure to post bond under Idaho Code § 6-610.[1] Under Idaho law, “[b]efore any civil action may be filed against any law enforcement officer or service of civil process on any law enforcement officer, ” plaintiffs are required to post bond prior to or simultaneously with the filing of the Complaint. See I.C. § 6-610(2) (emphasis added). Although not a jurisdictional requirement, posting bond is “mandatory” and a failure to post bond requires the trial court judge to dismiss the claims immediately without prejudice. I.C. § 6-610(5); see also Monson v. Boyd, 348 P.2d 93, 97 (Idaho 1959). It is undisputed that plaintiff failed to post bond in this case.

         In response, Walker argues that I.C. § 6-610 does not apply because the alleged claims do not arise from Marchand and Schei’s “duty” as law enforcement officers. Under the statutory language relevant here, the bond requirement only applies when the action “arises out of, or in the course of the performance of his duty. . . .” I.C. § 6-610(2) (emphasis added). Walker contends that a law enforcement officer is only acting within “the course of the performance of his duty, ” when he or she is involved in the enforcement of Idaho’s criminal laws. Under this view, the bond requirement imposed by the statute would not apply here, where Walker’s claims are unrelated to Marchand and Schei’s law enforcement activities, and focus solely on their actions in supervising him and interfering with his efforts to obtain other employment.

         In making this argument, Walker relies upon the language of I.C. §6-610(1) which defines “law enforcement officer” for purposes of the statute as follows:

. . . a “law enforcement officer” shall be defined as any court personnel, sheriff, constable, peace officer, state police officer, correctional, probation or parole official, prosecuting attorney, city attorney, attorney general, or their employees or agents, or any other person charged with the duty of enforcement of the criminal, traffic or penal laws of this state or any other law enforcement personnel or peace officer as defined in chapter 51, title 19, Idaho Code.

Id. (emphasis added). Plaintiff’s reliance on Idaho Code § 6-610(1) is misplaced. While the statute does define the term “law enforcement officer, ” with reference to an officer’s duty to enforce the state’s criminal laws, it does not use that language in defining or explaining the phrase, ...


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