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Van Zee v. Hanson

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
630 F.3d 1126 (2011)



Joseph Van Zee (plaintiff) enlisted in the Army. Van Zee’s Army recruiter told him that he needed to undergo a background check. Van Zee informed the recruiter that he had a juvenile record and signed a release form for his probation-officer and court records. Marilyn Hanson (defendant), Clerk of Courts for Hyde County, South Dakota, disclosed Van Zee’s juvenile court records to the Army recruiter. Upon receiving the records, the recruiter cancelled Van Zee’s enlistment in the Army. Van Zee sued Hanson under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming a violation of his constitutional right to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment. During the proceedings, the district court requested copies of Van Zee’s release forms. Hanson filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, on the ground that her actions did not violate Van Zee’s constitutional right to privacy due to Van Zee’s execution of the release forms. The district court granted the motion. Van Zee appealed, arguing that the pleadings in district court did not include the release forms on which the court relied, thus transforming, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(d), Hanson’s motion into a motion for summary judgment that permitted a reply from Van Zee.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Benton, J.)

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