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					      CASE 0:13-cv-00582-DWF-FLN Document 1 Filed 03/14/13 Page 1 of 12



                   UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
                       DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
________________________________________________________________________

Erwin Alfred Lingitz,                                    Court File No.:

              Plaintiff,                                 JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

vs.                                                      COMPLAINT

Ramsey County, Minnesota;
Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department
Deputy Daniel Eggers, in his official
and individual capacities;
Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department
Deputy Richard Werdien, in his official
and individual capacities;
Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department
Deputy John Doe, in their official
and individual capacities;
Twin City Lawmen, Inc., a Minnesota
corporation;
Frank Patterson, individually
and as an employee of Twin City Lawmen, Inc.;
and Supervalu, Inc., a Delaware corporation
d/b/a Cub Foods,

           Defendants.
________________________________________________________________________
       For his complaint, plaintiff Erwin Alfred Lingitz states and alleges as follows:
                                        PARTIES
       1.     Plaintiff Erwin Alfred Lingitz (Plaintiff) is a Minnesota resident.
       2.     Defendant Ramsey County (County) is a county organized under Minnesota
law. The tortious conduct hereafter alleged against certain of the County’s Sheriff’s
Department’s Deputies occurred while in their official and individual capacities.
       3.     Defendant Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Daniel Eggers
(Deputy Eggers) was at all times mentioned a deputy of the County’s Sheriff’s
Department.    Deputy Eggers violated Plaintiff’s civil rights and/or engaged in other
     CASE 0:13-cv-00582-DWF-FLN Document 1 Filed 03/14/13 Page 2 of 12



tortious conduct while acting in his official and individual capacities.
       4.     Defendant Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Richard Werdien
(Deputy Werdien) was at all times mentioned a deputy of the County’s Sheriff’s
Department. Deputy Werdien violated Plaintiff’s civil rights and/or engaged in other
tortious conduct while acting in his official and individual capacities.
       5.     Defendant Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department Deputy John Doe (Deputy
Doe) was at all times mentioned a deputy of the County’s Sheriff’s Department. The
identity of Deputy Doe is not yet known. Deputy Doe violated Plaintiff’s civil rights
and/or engaged in other tortious conduct while acting in his official and individual
capacities.
       6.     Twin City Lawmen, Inc. (Lawmen) is a Minnesota corporation with a
registered office address of 1700 4th Street North East, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413.
       7.     Defendant Frank Patterson (Patterson) is a Minnesota resident. At all time
material herein, Patterson was employed as a security guard for Lawmen for which, under
principles of respondeat superior and/or vicarious liability Lawmen is liable for
Patterson’s tortious conduct involving Plaintiff.
       8.     Defendant Supervalu, Inc. (Supervalu) is a Delaware corporation with a
registered office address of 100 South 5th Street, Suite 1075, Minneapolis, Minnesota
55402. Supervalu does business under various names including the assumed name of
Cub Foods (Cub Foods). The incident involving Plaintiff’s claims occurred at the Cub
Foods grocery store located at 1059 Meadowlands Drive, White Bear Township,
Minnesota 55127. When referred to individually, Supervalu and Cub Foods are referred
to as “Cub Foods.”
       9.     When not referred to individually, the County, Deputy Eggers, Deputy
Werdien, Deputy Doe, Lawmen, Patterson and Cub Foods are collectively referred to as
“Defendants.”



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                             JURISDICTION AND VENUE
       10.    This court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and
1343, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, and applicable provisions of the United States
Constitution. Plaintiff also invokes the court’s pendant jurisdiction regarding his claims
arising under Minnesota law. Venue is proper in the District of Minnesota.
                                          FACTS
       11.    Plaintiff is 68-year old senior citizen/retiree standing approximately five-
feet seven inches tall, who weighs approximately 180 pounds and, for health reasons, is
prescribed medication by his physician.
       12.    Plaintiff and his 73-year old wife are longstanding customers of Cub Foods;
for over ten years, he and his wife have regularly shopped for groceries at Cub Foods,
purchased and/or compared prescription prices at its pharmacy (located there within) and
occasionally been greeted by its store employees.
       13.    During such shopping trips, Cub Foods personnel have regularly solicited
Plaintiff to sample various free samples of food items being promoted for sale to its
customers.
       14.    Cub Foods places no conditions and/or limitations upon the free food
samples given to its customers; it does not limit its customers to receiving only one
sample, nor does it require its customers to eat such samples within the confines of its
stores. For example, on those occasions when Plaintiff was given free samples and his
wife was waiting outside in their parked vehicle (due to mobility issues), Cub’s personnel
gave Plaintiff additional free samples to take outside to share with his wife.
       15.    Due to its failing to implement a formal policy regarding its practice of
distributing free food samples at its stores, Cub Foods has encountered ongoing problems
related thereto including, without limitation, incidents involving food poisoning and/or
contamination resulting in personnel injury and/or death, incidents involving its
distributing samples containing expired date codes and/or are samples that are otherwise

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unfit for human consumption and/or sale, etc.
       16.      On April 24, 2010, at approximately 2:43 p.m., leaving his wife in their
vehicle (due to mobility issues), Plaintiff entered the Cub Foods regarding a prescription
for his wife.
       17.      On such date, as on past occasions, Cub Foods personnel solicited Plaintiff
to sample free food samples (luncheon meats and sauces) that it was promoting to its
customers; with his wife waiting in their parked vehicle, Cub’s personnel gave Plaintiff
additional free samples to take outside to share with his wife.
       18.      On such date, following Cub Food’s personnel giving him additional free
samples to take outside to share with his wife, Plaintiff was approached by Patterson who
disrespectfully shouted, “Hey Dude you took something; you got something in your
pocket.” Plaintiff replied that he had nothing that he was supposed to pay for and, noting
Patterson’s disrespectful, accusatory tone, politely asked Patterson to please not speak to
him that way.
       19.      Ignoring Plaintiff, Patterson proceeded to force his hand into Plaintiff’s
pocket thereby initiating a physical struggle with Plaintiff; upon Patterson’s yelling for
assistance, other Cub employees joined in the ensuing struggle; a struggle culminating
with Patterson’s (of large physical stature) pinning Plaintiff against a stack of water
softener salt located outside the store’s entrance.
       20.      During the ensuing struggle, Cub Foods personnel called the police. In the
vicinity and wearing plain clothes, Deputy Eggers responded to the call.
       21.      Upon his arriving at Cub Foods in an unmarked car, Deputy Eggers
observed that Patterson had Plaintiff pinned against a stack of water softener salt; in his
haste to intervene, Deputy Eggers exited his car so quickly that he was observed losing
one of his tennis shoes in the process, while repeatedly yelling, “get down,” “get down”
as he opened his car’s trunk to retrieve a set of handcuffs.
       22.      Deputy Eggers then approached Patterson and Plaintiff, himself joining in

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the struggle; grabbing, pushing and throwing Plaintiff from side to side.
       23.     Unaware of Deputy Eggers’ law enforcement status (due to his wearing
plain clothes, unmarked car, etc.), Plaintiff pleaded to Deputy Eggers, “Who are you”?
Deputy Eggers responded that he was with the County’s Sheriff’s Department and told
Plaintiff to turn around and place his hands behind his back.
       24.     Realizing he was in plain clothes, that he did not appear to be law
enforcement and that he had not properly identified himself (presented a
badge/identification); mindful of Plaintiff’s skepticism of his law enforcement status,
Deputy Eggers ceased struggling in order to remove his wallet (containing his badge and
identification).    Upon Deputy Eggers presenting proper identification, Plaintiff
immediately cooperated and willingly turned around to face the salt stack in preparation
of being handcuffed.
       25.     Plaintiff informed Deputy Eggers that Plaintiff’s wife was waiting in their
parked vehicle with medical issues that needed to be tended to, that he had not done
anything wrong; assuring Deputy Eggers there was no need for him to be handcuffed.
       26.     With Plaintiff’s cooperation, Deputy Eggers then handcuffed Plaintiff’s left
wrist behind his back and instructed Patterson to hold on to Plaintiff’s wrist.
       27.     With Plaintiff’s cooperation, Deputy Eggers then started to handcuff
Plaintiff’s right wrist; at which time, Patterson released his hold on Plaintiff’s left wrist
thereby permitting Plaintiff’s left handcuffed wrist to hang freely.
       28.     As evinced by Cub Food’s store surveillance cameras and video, with the
otherwise cooperative Plaintiff now free with one handcuff on and one handcuff off;
Deputy Eggers, exhibiting marked psychological instability, overreacted. “Fearing that
the open handcuff [could] now be used as a weapon against [Deputy Eggers] …” (despite
Plaintiff’s ongoing cooperation); Deputy Eggers grabbed Plaintiff around the head and
body-slammed him face first into the concrete sidewalk then, in turn, proceeded to dig his
knees into Plaintiff’s back. With the Plaintiff pinned to the ground. Deputy Eggers then

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proceeded to kick the back of Plaintiff’s head and his ribs, while Patterson kicked
Plaintiff in the knee.
       29.    As also evinced by Cub Food’s store surveillance video, Deputy Werdien
arrived on the scene with his taser beam light illuminated on Plaintiff’s back (deciding not
deploy the same because Deputy Eggers was in the way). Instead, himself exhibiting
marked psychological instability, Deputy Werdien overreacted by jamming his knee into
Plaintiff’s back and, utilizing maximum body pressure, forcing (i.e. grinding) Plaintiff’s
face into the concrete sidewalk until other officers arrived on the scene.
       30.    His face/head having been body-slammed and ground into the sidewalk,
having been kicked and now bleeding profusely, his back in agony from being jammed
with knees, and experiencing difficulty breathing; Plaintiff experienced severe chest pain
and began perspiring, believing he was having a heart attack.
       31.    Thereafter, Plaintiff was transported to Regions Hospital; following which,
he was incarcerated at the Ramsey County Jail. While incarcerated, despite Plaintiff’s
repeated pleas, Deputy Doe denied Plaintiff his medication.
       32.    Thereafter, despite surveillance video evincing the contrary, to otherwise
justify their conduct precipitating the incident and/or to mitigate the nature and extent of
Plaintiff’s beating (Exhibit A); without limitation, Patterson, Deputy Eggers and Deputy
Werdien contrived false, so-called incident reports.
       33.    Thereafter, dismayed that this incident had occurred, following Cub Food’s
acknowledging the existence of store surveillance video, Plaintiff’s wife requested and
paid for copies of the same; however, the surveillance video that was provided to Plaintiff
was blank indicating that Cub Food’s had erased the same.
                             SPOLIATION OF EVIDENCE
       34.    To intentionally conceal and/or otherwise destroy evidence of Plaintiff’s
beating; Defendants knowingly and intentionally manufactured false evidence and/or
destroyed Cub Food’s store surveillance video.

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                                       COUNT ONE

                  CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY THE COUNTY
       35.    Plaintiff restates and realleges the allegations contained in paragraphs 1-34
against the County as though fully set forth herein.
       36.    Prior to April 24, 2010, the County tolerated, permitted, failed to correct,
and in cases exonerated a pattern or practice on the part of its Sheriff’s Department and
certain officers thereof in the use of unjustified, unreasonable and illegal use of force and
other forms of intimidation, coercion and harassment.
       37.    As a direct and proximate result of the aforesaid acts and omissions,
systematic flaws, policies and practices of the County involving its Sheriff’s Department,
Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe, acting in both their official and individual capacities,
engaged in the above-described conduct in violation of Plaintiff’s civil rights from which
Plaintiff has been damaged in an amount exceeding seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00)
dollars.
                                      COUNT TWO

                      CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY
                  DEPUTIES EGGERS, WERDIEN AND DOE
           IN BOTH THEIR OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES
       38.    Plaintiff restates and realleges the allegations contained in paragraphs 1-37
against Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe as though fully set forth herein.
       39.    By the actions described above, Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe, acting
in both their official and individual capacities, violated and deprived Plaintiff of his civil
rights to be free from the excessive and unreasonable use of force, the deprivation of
liberty without due process of law, summary punishment, false arrest, unlawful detention,
denial of medical care and/or abuse of legal process. Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe
in their intentional and unpermitted physical contact with Plaintiff and/or their denial of
medical care resulted in Plaintiff’s incurring excruciating physical pain, severe mental

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      CASE 0:13-cv-00582-DWF-FLN Document 1 Filed 03/14/13 Page 8 of 12



suffering and permanent physical injury.
       40.    Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe, acting in both their official and
individual capacities, subjected Plaintiff to these deprivations of his civil rights either
maliciously or by acting with a reckless disregard as to whether Plaintiff’s civil rights
would be violated by such actions.
       41.    As a proximate result of the acts and/or omissions of Deputies Eggers,
Werdien and Doe, Plaintiff has suffered injury, was forced to endure great pain and
mental suffering, was deprived of his physical liberty, was denied medical care, was
forced to obtain medical treatment and incur medical expenses, and has been damaged in
an amount exceeding seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00) dollars.
                                     COUNT THREE
                                      NEGLIGENCE
               (Defendants County, Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe)
       42.    Plaintiff restates and realleges the allegations contained in paragraphs 1-41
against the County, Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe as though fully set forth herein.
       43.    On April 24, 2010, the County and the Sheriff’s departments employed
Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe.
       44.    In their employment of Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe, the County and
their departments had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the hiring, training, retention
and supervision of such deputies relative to their employment therewith. Said duty
extended to all persons, including Plaintiff.
       45.    In their official capacities of employment as deputies, Deputies Eggers,
Werdien and Doe had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the course of providing law
enforcement services on behalf of the County.        Said duty extended to all persons,
including Plaintiff.
       46.    In their individual capacities of employment as deputies, Deputies Eggers,
Werdien and Doe had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the course of providing law

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      CASE 0:13-cv-00582-DWF-FLN Document 1 Filed 03/14/13 Page 9 of 12



enforcement services on behalf of the County.         Said duty extended to all persons,
including Plaintiff.
       47.    As alleged above, the County and its Sheriff Department, by allowing
Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe to falsely arrest, falsely imprison, fail to fully
investigate, deny medical care and/or falsely charge Plaintiff, did carelessly and
negligently breach their duty of exercising reasonable care toward Plaintiff.
       48.    As alleged above, in their official capacities of employment as deputies,
Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe, by their falsely arresting, falsely imprisoning, failing
to fully investigate, denying medical care and/or falsely charging Plaintiff, did carelessly
and negligently breach their duties of exercising reasonable care toward Plaintiff.
       49.    As alleged above, in their individual capacities of employment as deputies,
Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe, by their falsely arresting, falsely imprisoning, failing
to fully investigate, denying medical care and/or falsely charging Plaintiff, did carelessly
and negligently breach their duties of exercising reasonable care toward Plaintiff.
       50.    The collective and/or individual careless and negligent conduct of the
County, Deputies Eggers, Werdien and Doe has proximately caused Plaintiff damages in
an amount exceeding seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00) dollars.

                                     COUNT FOUR

                                     NEGLIGENCE

                          (Defendants Lawmen and Patterson)

       51.    Plaintiff restates and realleges the allegations contained in paragraphs 1-50

against Lawmen and Patterson as though fully set forth herein.

       52.    On April 24, 2010 Lawmen employed Patterson.

       53.    In its employment of Patterson, Lawmen had a duty to exercise reasonable




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care in its hiring, training, retention and supervision thereof. Said duty extended to all

persons, including Plaintiff.

       54.    In his capacity as an employee of Lawmen, Patterson had a duty to exercise

reasonable care in the course of his providing services on behalf of Lawmen. Said duty

extended to all persons, including Plaintiff.

       55.    As described above, by allowing Patterson to forcibly restrained Plaintiff,

Lawmen did carelessly and negligently breach its duty of exercising reasonable care

toward Plaintiff.

       56.    As described above, as an employee of Lawmen, Patterson, by forcibly

restraining Plaintiff, did carelessly and negligently breach his duty of exercising

reasonable care toward Plaintiff.

       57.    As a direct and proximate cause of Lawmen and Patterson’s collective

and/or individual careless and negligent conduct, Plaintiff has sustained damages in an

amount exceeding seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00) dollars.

                                       COUNT FIVE

                                       NEGLIGENCE

                                    (Defendant Cub Foods)

       58.    Plaintiff restates and realleges the allegations contained in paragraphs 1-57

against Cub Foods as though fully set forth herein.

       59.    On April 24 2010, Cub Foods employed various store personnel.

       60.    In its employment of store personnel, Cub Foods had a duty to exercise




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reasonable care in its hiring, training, retention and supervision thereof.      Said duty

extended to all persons, including Plaintiff.

       61.    In their capacities as Cub Foods store personnel, such personnel had a duty

to exercise reasonable care in the course of their providing services on behalf of Cub

Foods. Said duty extended to all persons, including Plaintiff.

       62.    As described above, by its failing to implement a formal policy regarding

its practice of distributing free food samples at its stores and by its permitting Patterson

and/or its store personnel to physically restrain Plaintiff, Cub Foods did carelessly and

negligently breach its duty of exercising reasonable care toward Plaintiff.

       63.    As described above, by physically restraining Plaintiff, Cub Foods store

personnel did carelessly and negligently breach their duty of exercising reasonable care

toward Plaintiff.

       64.    As a direct and proximate cause of Cub Foods and its store personnel’s

collective and/or individual careless and negligent conduct, Plaintiff has sustained

damages in an amount exceeding seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00) dollars.

                                    JURY DEMAND
       Plaintiff respectfully demands trial by jury of all claims and issues as allowed by
applicable law.
       WHEREFORE, plaintiff Erwin A. Lingitz prays for judgment against defendants
as follows:
       1.     As to Count One, a money judgment against defendant Ramsey County for
damages in an amount in excess of seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00) dollars;
       2.     As to Count Two, a money judgment against defendants Deputy Daniel
Eggers, Deputy Richard Werdien and Deputy John Doe for damages in an amount in

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excess of seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00) dollars;
       3.       As to Count Three, a money judgment against defendants Ramsey County,
Deputy Daniel Eggers, Deputy Richard Werdien and Deputy John Doe for damages in an
amount in excess of seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00) dollars;
       4.       As to Count Four, a money judgment against defendants Twin City
Lawmen, Inc. and Frank Patterson for damages in an amount in excess of seventy-five
thousand ($75,000.00) dollars;
       5.       As to Count Five, a money judgment against defendants Supervalu, Inc.
and Cub Foods for damages in an amount in excess of seventy-five thousand
($75,000.00) dollars.
       6.       Plaintiff's costs, disbursements, reasonable attorney fees and prejudgment
interest; and
       7.       For such other and further relief as this court may deem just and equitable.

                                                   GARDNER LAW OFFICE

Dated: March 14, 2013                              s/ Robert M. Gardner______
                                                   Robert M. Gardner, #234977
                                                   Southcross Commons
                                                   3000 County Road 42 West, Suite 310
                                                   Burnsville, MN 55337
                                                   (952) 435-7474
                                                   rgardner@mnlawcenter.com

                                                   Attorney for Plaintiff
                                                   Erwin A. Lingitz




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