United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
HONORABLE CANDY W. DALE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Court has before it Defendant's motion for summary
judgment and motion to strike. Plaintiffs Joy Larson and
Roger Dole, who have appeared pro se, have sued Defendant
Douglas Payne, a Magistrate Judge for the First Judicial
District of the State of Idaho, claiming he violated
Plaintiffs' constitutional rights. Payne argues that he
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the grounds of
judicial immunity, lack of jurisdiction, and abstention.
Payne contends also that Roger Dole lacks standing to sue.
Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately
presented in the briefs and record. Accordingly, in the
interest of avoiding delay, and because the Court
conclusively finds that the decisional process would not be
significantly aided by oral argument, the motion will be
decided on the record before this Court without oral
argument. The hearing set for March 21, 2019, will be
vacated. Dist. Idaho L. Rule 7.1(d). Having carefully
considered the record and relevant authority, the Court will
grant Defendant's motion for summary judgment, and will
deny the related motion to strike as moot.
filed the Complaint against Payne on August 24, 2018. A
15-page Affidavit with Exhibits A - L accompanied the two-page
complaint. Plaintiffs state they “bring this suit
pursuant to Title 42 U.S. Code § 1983 for violations of
certain protections guaranteed to us by the First, Fifth,
Fourth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments of the
Federal Constitution, ” and name Payne as the only
defendant. Plaintiffs allege that, while Payne was acting as
a Judge for the county of Benewah, he acted
“unconstitutionally or outside of his
jurisdiction.” Plaintiffs allege that the “wrong
began on July 19, 2017, and continues to this day.”
They seek an injunction “commanding defendant to
restore [their] rights; and return what is lawfully ours Our
children E.S. and C.S.” They also seek damages in the
amount of $1, 000, 000.00.
filed a motion for summary judgment on December 27, 2018, and
a motion to strike directed at Plaintiffs' affidavit. The
Court conducted a telephonic scheduling conference on January
8, 2019, staying discovery until resolution of the pending
motions. Plaintiffs did not file a response to the
motions. The Court finds the following facts
Douglas Payne is a Magistrate Judge for the First Judicial
District of the State of Idaho. His chambers are in St.
Maries, Idaho, and he serves Benewah County.
of his official duties, Judge Payne handles Child Protective
Proceedings for Benewah County. On June 22, 2017, Payne was
the magistrate judge assigned to handle a Benewah County
Child Protective Proceeding identified as Benewah Case No.
CV-2017-225, which involved the minor children of Plaintiff
Joy Larson. Plaintiff Roger Dole became the children's
step father upon his marriage to Ms. Larson. The parties to
the Child Protective Proceeding included minor children EMS
and CMS, and the children's biological parents, Joy
Larson and Jeremy Shuman.
proceedings were initiated upon the filing of a petition by
Brian Thie, the Benewah County Prosecutor, on June 22, 2017.
Aff. of Payne Ex. A. (Dkt. 17-1.) Judge Payne conducted
hearings and issued orders related to Case No. CV-2017-225,
beginning June 22, 2017, through and including November 21,
23, 2017, Joy Larson was personally served with the
following: (1) Order appointing Guardian Ad Litem; (2) Notice
of Hearing and Summons; (3) Petition Under Child Protective
Act; and (4) Affidavit in Support of the Protective
Supervision. An adjudicatory hearing was set for July 19,
2017. Aff. of Payne Ex. B, C. (Dkt. 17-1, 17-2.)
hearing conducted on July 19, 2017, the following individuals
appeared: prosecuting attorney Brian Thie; Jeremy Shuman,
represented by counsel; Samantha Ellis, a representative from
Health and Welfare; and Sue Sottin, a CASA worker. Joy Larson
did not attend the hearing. Aff. of Payne Ex. D. (Dkt. 17-3.)
on the evidence presented at the hearing on July 19, 2017,
Judge Payne issued Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and
Order for Legal Custody. The court's findings of fact
included a finding that the minor children had been
neglected, and that their continued residence in either of
the homes of their biological parents, Larson and Shuman,
would be contrary to the welfare of the children.
Accordingly, Judge Payne ordered that the minor children be
placed in the legal custody of the Department of Health and
Welfare for an indeterminate period not to exceed the
eighteenth birthday of each child. Id.
August 16, 2017, Joy Larson, through her attorney, filed a
motion and affidavit to set aside the court's July 19,
2017 order. Larson testified in her affidavit that she
received copies of the documents served upon her on June 23,
2017. However, she requested another opportunity to present
evidence and argument against the removal of her children
from her custody. Aff. of Payne Exs. E, F. (Dkt. 17-4.)
August 16, 2017, the matter came before Judge Payne for a
case plan hearing. Joy Larson was present with her attorney.
Based upon the pleadings, evidence presented and arguments of
counsel, Judge Payne denied Larson's motion to set aside
his July 19, 2017 order. Judge Payne also approved the case
plan, which plan sought reunification, or if unsuccessful,
adoption of the minor children. Aff. of Payne Ex. G. (Dkt.
September 27, 2017, Larson, through her attorney, appealed
the court's August 16, 2017 order denying the motion to
set aside the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order
for Legal Custody, and the Order Approving Case Plan. Aff. of
Payne Ex. H. (Dkt. 17-5.)
October of 2017, Judge Payne held a hearing on Larson's
attorney's motion to withdraw as legal
counsel. Judge Payne granted the motion and issued
an order permitting Larson's attorney to ...