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Paddock v. Otter

United States District Court, D. Idaho

June 15, 2017

KIM PADDOCK, Plaintiff,
v.
C.L. "BUTCH" OTTER, Governor of the State of Idaho, LAWRENCE WASDEN, Attorney General of Idaho, and IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND WELFARE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: MOTION TO DISMISS (DKT. 6)

          CANDY W. DALE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss all federal claims asserted in pro se Plaintiff Kim Paddock's Complaint pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Dkt. 6.) The motion is ripe for the Court's consideration. All parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Dkt. 13.) In the interest of avoiding delay, and because the Court conclusively finds the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the motion will be decided on the record and without oral argument. Dist. Idaho. L. Rule 7.1(d). As discussed more fully below, the Court will grant Defendants' motion and will dismiss Paddock's Complaint.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

         On July 15, 2011, a search warrant related to allegations of food stamp fraud was executed on Paddock's residence in Wilder, Idaho, where certain records and documents were seized as evidence by police officers and the Internal Investigation Unit of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW). The items seized included: 2 boxes of copyright materials; Paddock's personal computer which contained “confidential documents, diary notes and information concerning a pending federal action against the Wilder School District;” settlement documents related to her sister's death; and other personal documents.[2]

         In the Fall of 2011, Paddock made several requests to have the seized items in the possession of IDHW returned to her. The requests included an Idaho Public Records Act (IPRA) request, for the return of the documents. All requests were denied, however, as the investigation into the alleged food stamp fraud was ongoing. Paddock requested also to personally inspect the items seized. This request was denied for the same reason-the investigation was still active.

         On July 13, 2016, the IDHW scheduled a meeting with Paddock at its Nampa office. When Paddock arrived, she was taken into a small office where two IDHW employees were waiting. Inside the room on the floor were boxes of the items seized from Paddock's residence in 2011. According to Paddock, the IDHW employees attempted to force her to agree to certain terms in exchange for return of the seized items. Specifically, she alleges they asked her not to apply for food stamps for one year and to confirm that all of the items seized were in the box, and thus, none missing. Paddock did not agree to these terms.

         The IDHW employees returned the seized items to Paddock that day, nonetheless. When Paddock arrived home after the meeting, she discovered “legal documents concerning the death of [her] sister including non-disclosure settlement agreements with pharmaceutical companies” were not among the items in the box.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On January 23, 2017, Paddock filed a Complaint against Governor Otter and Attorney General Wasden in their official capacities, and against the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, alleging the following:

1. Violation of Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to her property and unlawful publication of private documents pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983;
2. Violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985 for conspiring to deprive her of “equal protection or equal privileges or immunities…;”
3. Violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519 for the destruction of records in a public investigation;
4. Violation of 17 U.S.C. § 510 related to the seizure of her copyrighted items;
5. Idaho Code § 74-105 (formerly Idaho Code § 9-340) violates the Fourth Amendment of the United ...

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