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Katekaru v. Egan

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

September 23, 2014

PAUL D. KATEKARU, Plaintiff,
v.
CAMERON EGAN, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REVISE THE COURT'S PRIOR ORDER

GREG KAYS, Chief District Judge.

This case arises from Lee's Summit Police Officer Cameron Egan's ("Officer Egan") arrest of Plaintiff Paul Katekaru ("Plaintiff") for failure to follow Officer Egan's directives. Following Plaintiff's arrest, temporary imprisonment, and eventual release, he filed suit in this Court against Officer Egan, Lee's Summit Police Sergeant Greg Bryant ("Officer Bryant"), Lee's Summit Municipal Court Prosecutor Terri Cipolla Round ("Prosecutor Round"), and the City of Lee's Summit, Missouri (the "City"). The three-count Complaint respectively alleged (1) four claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Officer Egan in his individually capacity ("Count I"); (2) one claim for malicious prosecution against Officer Egan, Officer Bryant, and Prosecutor Round ("Count II"); and (3) one claim for municipality liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City ("Count III").

The Court previously dismissed Counts I and II with prejudice, dismissed Count III without prejudice, and granted Plaintiff leave to amend Count III (the "Dismissal Order"). Now before the Court are Plaintiff's motion to alter the judgment (Doc. 16), the City's motion to dismiss the second amended complaint for failure to state a claim (Doc. 20), and the City's motion to strike the third amended complaint (Doc. 27). Construing Plaintiff's motion as a motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) and finding that the Court's previous order contained a significant error, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion (Doc. 16). Because the Court also GRANTS Plaintiff leave to amend the Complaint to fix the deficiencies noted below, the Court DENIES the City's motions (Docs. 20, 27).

Factual and Procedural Background

I. The factual background of this dispute.

Plaintiff's first amended complaint (Doc. 4) (the "Complaint") and attached documents alleged the following. On April 8, 2011, Plaintiff's nephew, James Jenkins ("Jenkins"), who lived with Plaintiff at the time, arrived at Plaintiff's residence in Lee's Summit in an intoxicated state. When Plaintiff confronted Jenkins regarding his intoxication, Jenkins immediately became belligerent. Jenkins shouted at Plaintiff and destroyed several of Plaintiff's possessions, including his computer and microwave. Plaintiff called 911 to report the disturbance, which further enraged Jenkins. After hearing Jenkins' outburst, Kevin Katekaru, Plaintiff's other nephew who also resided with him, attempted to intervene. An altercation then ensued between the two nephews, resulting in Jenkins procuring a knife and threatening to harm himself and Kevin Katekaru. As the altercation transitioned to the front lawn, Plaintiff wrestled the knife away from Jenkins.

Immediately thereafter, Officer Egan arrived at Plaintiff's residence with Lee's Summit Police Officer Jason Spaeth ("Officer Spaeth"), and the two ordered Plaintiff to drop the knife. The two officers then confronted Jenkins, but he fled the scene. Officers Egan and Spaeth proceeded to question Plaintiff about Jenkins. In response, Plaintiff stated that he was unsure whether Jenkins was currently armed but that Jenkins had access to firearms inside the house. Plaintiff then criticized Officer Egan and other members of the Lee's Summit Police Department by calling them incompetent and worthless. When Plaintiff proceeded towards his home, Officer Egan forbade Plaintiff from doing so. Plaintiff ignored the order and walked toward the house. Officer Egan then grabbed Plaintiff, placed him under arrest, and provided him with a written citation for failure to obey an order of a police officer. Officer Spaeth and Lee's Summit Police Officer Phillip Stewart then entered Plaintiff's home, purportedly to search for Jenkins.

Eventually, Officers Stephen Grubb and Scott McMillan of the Lee's Summit Police Department Canine Unit arrived at the scene. Following a brief search, these officers located Jenkins hiding in the backyard of a nearby house. Sometime after Jenkins' detainment, Officer Egan transported Plaintiff to the police station, where he remained until he posted bond thirtyfour hours later. On July 29, 2011, Prosecutor Round dismissed the case against Plaintiff.

II. The procedural background of the case.

On April 8, 2013, proceeding pro se, Plaintiff filed a three-count lawsuit in this Court. Count I alleged four separate violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Officer Egan individually, including claims for false arrest, retaliatory arrest, an unconstitutional search of his home, and conspiracy to violate his constitutional rights. Count II alleged a Missouri common law claim for malicious prosecution against Officer Egan, Officer Bryant, and Prosecutor Round. Count III alleged a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City and Prosecutor Round for failure to properly train and supervise the Lee's Summit police officers.

On January 31, 2014, the Court dismissed Counts I and II with prejudice and Count III without prejudice, and it granted Plaintiff leave to amend Count III (Doc. 15). The Court dismissed Counts I and II of the Complaint because it held that Plaintiff essentially pled himself out his alleged claims. With respect to Count I, the Court found that the Complaint attempted to allege four putative claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for (1) false arrest, (2) retaliatory arrest, (3) warrantless home search, and (4) conspiracy to violate his constitutional rights. The Court held that lack of probable cause was an integral element of the false and retaliatory arrest claims, and the Complaint actually pled Officer Egan had probable cause to arrest Plaintiff for violating an ordinance. In particular, the Court found that Officer Egan had probable cause to arrest Plaintiff for violating Section 17-26(D. the Lee's Summit Municipal Code. This section makes it unlawful for any individual to knowingly disobey or oppose a police officer's command made during an officer's attempt to "execute and carry into effect any provision" within the municipal code. Lee's Summit, Mo., Municipal Code § 17-26(D) (1988). The Court ultimately found that Officer Egan forbade Plaintiff from entering his home because he was attempting to carry into effect Section 17-26(A)(2) of the Municipal Code, which the Court interpreted as proscribing an individual's threatened interference with an arrest, stop, or detention of an another individual. Passages in the Complaint suggested that Officer Egan issued that command to aid his detention of Jenkins, so the Court found that Officer Egan was attempting to carry into effect Section 17-26(A)(2) when he commanded Plaintiff not to enter his home. Thus, because the Complaint alleged that Plaintiff disobeyed this lawful command, the Court found that Officer Egan possessed probable cause to arrest him for violating Section 17-26(D).

As for the warrantless home search claim against Officer Egan, the Court found the Complaint actually pled that Officer Egan did not conduct the home search. On the conspiracy to violate his constitutional rights claim, the Court found that the Complaint failed to allege sufficient facts to state a claim because it did not plead that Officer Egan possessed the requisite intent.

Regarding Count II, the Court found that Plaintiff's state common law claim for malicious prosecution failed because he pled probable cause existed and he failed to plead malice. Finally, the Court dismissed Count III for failure to state a claim for municipal liability.

After entry of the Dismissal Order, Plaintiff filed a motion to alter the Court's judgment and a second amended complaint containing a sole claim for municipal liability. The City then moved to dismiss the second amended complaint for failure to state a claim, and then Plaintiff, without obtaining leave from the Court, filed a third amended complaint to ...


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