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Theisen v. Stoddard County

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

August 26, 2014

MATTHEW THEISEN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
STODDARD COUNTY, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

CATHERINE D. PERRY, District Judge.

Pending before me is defendant Missouri State Highway Patrol's[1] motion for judgment on the pleadings. Plaintiffs Matthew and Michael Theisen have brought 14 claims against MSHP. All of the claims are barred by sovereign immunity. Nine of the plaintiffs' claims are brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Even if MSHP were not immune from these claims, they would fail because the Theisens do not allege any facts establishing a causal link between MSHP and the alleged deprivations of their constitutional rights. For these reasons, I will grant MSHP's motion.

In my order dated June 27, 2013, I recounted the facts as alleged by the Theisens, and I will not repeat them in detail here. The Theisens allege generally that in June 2011, they were arrested, charged with first-degree property damage, and questioned, then transported to Stoddard County Jail. There they endured brutal physical and sexual assault for several hours. The Theisens were then charged with additional crimes and held without a hearing for almost a year. They were eventually adjudicated as mentally incompetent and confined to Fulton State Hospital, where they remain.

As I stated in my earlier order, all of the claims against MSHP are based on the presence of an "unidentified Missouri State Trooper in a blue-gray uniform with a round drill sergeant type hat." (Corrected Second Am. Compl., ¶ 34.) This Trooper allegedly witnessed the June 2011 attacks, deliberately refused to take action, and denied the plaintiffs medical treatment. There are no additional facts concerning this Trooper or MSHP. ( See generally id. )

I. The plaintiffs' Section 1983 claims are barred by sovereign immunity

The Theisens have brought the following claims against MSHP pursuant to Section 1983:[2]

Count I: Denial of Right to an Attorney
Count II: Infliction of Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Count III: Breach of Duty to Protect
Count IV: Violation of Substantive Due Process Rights
Count V: Plaintiffs' Confinement and Assaults Against Them Constituted a Pre-Trial Punishment That Violates the Due Process Clause
Count VI: Defendants' Assaults Against Plaintiffs Violated Their Right Not To Be Subjected to Excessive Force
Count XIV: Failure to Provide Adequate Medical Care
Count XV: Violation of Plaintiffs' Right to a ...

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