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Fletcher v. Tomlinson

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

October 22, 2014

CALVIN FLETCHER, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSEPH TOMLINSON, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

RONNIE L. WHITE, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss of Defendants Board of Police Commissioners and St. Louis City Metropolitan Police Department (ECF No. 32) and the Motion to Dismiss of Defendants Bettye Battle-Turner, Richard Gray, Erwin O. Switzer, Thomas Irwin, and Francis Slay (ECF No 43).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Calvin Fletcher ("Fletcher") alleges the following facts in his First Amended Complaint (First Amended Complaint (hereinafter, "Complaint"), ECF No. 31), which the Court assumes are true for purposes of the motions to dismiss. On March 6, 2013 Fletcher was tasered and beaten by St. Louis City police, who had their video cameras turned off. ( Id., ¶1). Fletcher was taken to the infirmary in the St. Louis Justice Center where his kidneys were shutting down due to the trauma from the attack. ( Id., ¶2). Fletcher was isolated from the outside world, never taken before a judge, and not allowed to contact his family. ( Id. ) On March 12, 2013, Fletcher was taken to the Perry County Sheriff's office, which transported Fletcher to the emergency room. ( Id., ¶3). Perry County Sheriff's office, however, failed to take Fletcher to his follow-up medical appointment to obtain an MRI on March 15, 2013. ( Id., ¶3). On March 19, 2013 Fletcher had a seizure, vomited and lost consciousness. ( Id., ¶4). On March 19, 2013 Fletcher was released from jail in grave condition. ( Id. ) Fletcher went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with post-traumatic acute kidney failure. ( Id. ) Fletcher went to St. Louis and received "life-saving" dialysis treatment. ( Id. ) Fletcher filed a nine-count Complaint asserting claims for violations of his civil rights, for assault and battery, for false imprisonment, and for violation of his right to receive public records.

STANDARD FOR MOTION TO DISMISS

In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must view the allegations in the Complaint liberally in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Eckert v. Titan Tire Corp., 514 F.3d 801, 806 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing Luney v. SGS Auto Servs., 432 F.3d 866, 867 (8th Cir. 2005)). Additionally, the Court "must accept the allegations contained in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." Coons v. Mineta, 410 F.3d 1036, 1039 (8th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (abrogating the "no set of facts" standard for Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) found in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Huang v. Gateway Hotel Holdings, 520 F.Supp.2d 1137, 1140 (E.D. Mo. 2007).

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Dismiss of Defendants Board of Police Commissioners and St. Louis City Metropolitan Police Department (ECF No. 32)

Section 610.011.2 of the Missouri Open Records Act or the "Sunshine Law" provides that all public records of public governmental bodies shall be open to the public for inspection and copying as set forth in § 610.023 to § 610.026, except as otherwise provided by law. In interpreting this provision of law and all other provisions of Chapter 610, § 610.011 reads in pertinent part:

It is the public policy of this state that meetings, records, votes, actions, and deliberations of public governmental bodies be open to the public unless otherwise provided by law....

Mo.Rev.Stat. §610.011.1; see also §610.011.2 ("Except as otherwise provided by law, all public meetings of public governmental bodies shall be open to the public as set forth in section 610.020, all public records of public governmental bodies shall be open to the public for inspection and copying as set forth in sections 610.023 to 610.026, and all public votes of public governmental bodies shall be recorded as set forth in section 610.015."); §610.023 ("Each public governmental body shall make available for inspection and copying by the public of that body's public records.").

In Count 8, Plaintiff alleges a claim for violation of Missouri's Sunshine Law, pursuant to Section 610.010(4), R.S. Mo. against the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) and Board of Police Commissioners ("the Board") (collectively, "the Count 8 Defendants").[1] Plaintiff alleges that on May 15, 2013, his counsel requested all policies regarding the use of a "taser, ' pepper spray, or similar incapacitating products during an arrest, " documents related to Plaintiff's "arrest confinement, transportation, and/or release, " and "any other records contained in any physical or electronic file pertaining to Mr. Fletcher." (Complaint, ¶97). Plaintiff alleges that on August 28, 2013 and September 16, 2013, the Count 8 Defendants provided documents concerning the use of a taser. (Complaint, ¶98). On February 17, 2014, Plaintiff's counsel sent a follow-up letter requesting the following records:

a. All "After Firing Identification Dots" generated as a result of ...


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