United States District Court, D. Oregon
BRIAN J. BOQUIST, Plaintiff,
OREGON STATE SENATE PRESIDENT PETER COURTNEY, in his official capacity, SENATOR FLOYD PROZANSKI, in his official capacity as Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Conduct, SENATOR JAMES MANNING, in his official capacity as member of the Special Senate Conduct Committee, DEXTER JOHNSON, in his official capacity as Legislative Counsel, DARON HILL, in his official capacity as Legislative Administration Director, JESSICA KNIELING, in her official capacity as interim Human Resources Director, BRENDA BAUMGART & MELISSA HEALY, in their official capacity as contract investigators to the Oregon State Senate, and all in their official capacities in the Legislative Branch of the State of Oregon, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael McShane, United States District Judge
case stems from a political impasse in the Oregon State
Senate. Eleven Republican senators, wanting to avoid a quorum
vote, brought the legislative function to a halt by leaving
the Oregon State Capitol. Oregon Governor Kate Brown ordered
State Police to arrest the absent senators, including
Plaintiff Brian Boquist, and bring them back to the Capitol.
Governor Brown also imposed a $500 fine for each day a given
senator was absent during the legislative session.
Police did not arrest Plaintiff, but Governor Brown did levy
a $3, 500 fine against him. Plaintiff paid the fine, but it
was ultimately vacated and his money was returned. Due to
several statements Plaintiff made during the ordeal that some
perceived as threatening, Senate leadership determined that
Plaintiff may only enter the Capitol if he provides a 12-hour
notice of his intent to do so.
now brings this action against Defendants-who are eight
individual employees or elected officials in the Legislative
Branch of the State of Oregon-alleging that the 12-hour
notice requirement is unlawful and Defendants violated his
state and federal constitutional rights. Defendants move to
dismiss Plaintiff's claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6)-or, in the alternative, for summary judgment
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56-arguing that Plaintiff fails to
state a claim for which relief can be granted. Defs.'
Mot. 1-2, ECF No. 8. Because Plaintiff fails to establish
that Defendants' actions were unlawful, Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 8) is GRANTED.
2019, the Republican caucus of the Oregon State Senate
participated in a walkout. Pl.'s First Am. Compl.
¶¶ 44, 86, ECF No. 6 (“FAC”);
Defs.' Mot. 3. As a result, the absent legislators faced
$500 per day in fines and potential arrest, imprisonment, and
investigation. Defs.' Mot. 3. On July 19, 2019,
Plaintiff, an elected Republican state senator, told Senate
President Peter Courtney, “Mr. President, and [sic] if
you send the [S]tate [P]olice to get me, Hell's coming to
visit you personally.” FAC ¶ 46; Defs.' Mot.
3. During the walkout, Plaintiff said that State Police
should “send bachelors and come heavily armed.”
Defs.' Mot. 2. Ultimately, none of the missing senators
were arrested and any fines that were levied against them
were vacated. Id. at 3. However, Plaintiff was
disciplined for what some perceived as threatening language
and his access to the Capitol was conditioned on him giving
12-hour advance notice of his presence to the Secretary of
the Senate. Id. Although it is not always clear from
the Amended Complaint which of the Defendants did what,
Plaintiff alleges that some of the Defendants are responsible
for the disciplinary order regulating his access to the
Capitol. Plaintiff also alleges that some Defendants are
secretly investigating him and have denied him access to
public records related to this investigation. FAC
¶¶ 8, 11, 13, 15, 17, 70, 75. Finally, Plaintiff
alleges that some of the Defendants are responsible for the
orders to fine and arrest him. Id. at ¶ 11-13,
brought this action on July 26, 2019 and filed an Amended
Complaint on September 24. See Pl.'s Compl., ECF
No. 1; FAC. Plaintiff alleges violations of: (1) his First,
Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the U.S.
Constitution; (2) his rights under Article I, Section 26 and
Article IV, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution; and (3) 25
C.F.R. §§ 11.404 and 11.448. FAC ¶¶ 5,
10, 12, 13. Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgments stating:
(1) that he has free, unfettered access to the Capitol; (2)
that the investigation of him is unconstitutional; (3) that
Defendants violated his First Amendment rights; (4) that
Defendants violated his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment due
process rights; (5) that he is free from fines without due
process; (6) that he is free from arrest without due process;
and (7) what the definition of “compel” is under
the Oregon State Constitution. FAC ¶¶ 105-25.
survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter that
“state[s] a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). A claim is plausible on its face when the
factual allegations allow the court to infer the
defendant's liability based on the alleged conduct.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009). The
factual allegations must present more than “the mere
possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 678.
considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all
allegations of material fact as true and construe those facts
in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Burget v.
Lokelani Bernice Pauahi Bishop Trust, 200 F.3d 661, 663
(9th Cir. 2000). However, the court is “not bound to
accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. If the
complaint is dismissed, leave to amend should be granted
unless “the pleading could not possibly be cured by the
allegation of other facts.” Doe v. United
States, 58 F.3d 494, 497 (9th Cir. 1995).
fails to state a cognizable claim against Defendants Dexter
Johnson, Daron Hill, Jessica Knieling, Brenda Baumgart, and
Knieling is the Oregon State Legislature's Interim Human
Resources Director. FAC ¶ 33; Defs.' Mot. 7. Mr.
Hill is Ms. Knieling's immediate supervisor and the
Legislative Administration Director. FAC ¶¶ 33, 36.
Mr. Johnson is Legislative Counsel for the State of Oregon.
Id. at ¶ 32; Defs.' Mot. 6. Ms. Baumgart is
a contract investigator who works for Stoel Rives LLP. FAC