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Isaiah v. City of Pine Lawn

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

August 12, 2014

MILTON ISAIAH, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF PINE LAWN, et al., Defendants.

OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

HENRY EDWARD AUTREY, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Ricky Collins' Motion for Summary Judgment, [Doc. No. 38] and Defendants Caldwell and City of Pine Lawn's Motion for Summary Judgment, [Doc. No. 41]. Plaintiffs oppose the motions. For the reasons set forth below, the Motions are granted in part and denied in part.

Facts and Background

Plaintiffs are former Pine Lawn police officers who allege they were wrongfully discharged from their employment for expressing their views that certain orders and directives were improper and/or illegal. Counts I and II of Plaintiffs' Complaint is brought for a violation of "Public Policy" alleging that their "Constitutional Right to Due Process" was violated and in contravention of public policy, for failing to afford Plaintiffs a hearing prior to terminating their employment.

Count III is brought under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Plaintiffs allege they were fired from their police officer positions with the City of Pine Lawn in retaliation for exercising their rights under the First Amendment to free speech and whistle blowing regarding the misconduct of Pine Lawn officials.

Defendants have submitted Statements of Uncontroverted Facts. Plaintiffs deny each of these facts, however, Plaintiffs have failed to specifically cite to the record wherein the facts are in controversy.

Plaintiff Isaiah was hired by the City of Pine Lawn as a patrol officer and was an employee of the City until his employment was terminated on February 14, 2011. Isaiah's employment was terminated as a result of a vote of the Board of Alderman of the City. Plaintiff Goforth was hired by the City of Pine Lawn as a patrol officer in 1999 and was an employee of the City until his employment was terminated on February 14, 2011. Goforth's employment was terminated as a result of a vote of the Board of Alderman of the City.

During their employment, Plaintiffs received different directives and/or orders which Plaintiffs believed were improper and/or illegal. Specifically, Plaintiff Isaiah contends that:

Defendant Collins issued an order that, when responding to a call at a home, to arrest every individual in the home; Collins set forth specific individuals with whom Isaiah could not speak or else he would be fired; Collins issued an order that every individual with an outstanding warrant that is pulled over must be arrested; Collins recommended a different officer, Officer Weaver, be terminated after that officer suggested that a certain arrest was illegal; Collins continually instructed his officers to write more tickets.

Plaintiff Goforth contends that:

Collins directed officers to arrest all individuals walking through the streets of Pine Lawn during late night or early morning; Collins directed that cars pulled over during traffic stops should be towed when the driver is arrested even if other individuals in the car are capable of driving it; Collins directed officers to arrest occupants of vehicles for violations on their cars; Collins directed officers to assist employees at Imo's Pizza Parlor in Northwoods, Missouri, which is outside of the City of Pine Lawn; Collins instructed Goforth to write up officers on his shift; Collins instructed Goforth to direct his shift to write more tickets; Collins instructed officers to write police reports that resulted in arrests.

All of the allegedly improper and/or illegal directives involved the manner in which Plaintiffs performed their jobs.

Neither Plaintiff complained to the FBI or other third party police agency about Collins or Collins' directives.

Plaintiff Isaiah only complained to his immediate supervisors, Sergeant Willie Epps and Corporal Joseph Goforth. He also complained directly to Collins on one occasion regarding Collins' alleged public threats that Isaiah would be fired. Plaintiff Isaiah once told his co-workers that he was going to go to the FBI to ...


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