Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Calzone v. Koster

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

July 28, 2016

RONALD CALZONE, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRIS KOSTER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Ronald Calzone brings this lawsuit against defendants Chris Koster, in his official capacity as Attorney General for the State of Missouri, J. Bret Johnson, in his official capacity as Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and Jeremiah W. Nixon, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Missouri. Plaintiff claims that § 304.230 RSMo is unconstitutional. The parties have filed cross motions for summary judgment.

         I. Factual Background

         The facts of this matter are uncontested except where indicated.

         Plaintiff Calzone was pulled over by a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and detained for more than an hour because the officer did not recognize the truck or the markings displayed on the vehicle Calzone was driving. At the time, plaintiff was driving a dump truck that he uses to support his cattle and horse ranch. The truck has Missouri-issued 54, 000 lb. local commercial vehicle license plates, and plaintiff has a valid Missouri-issued commercial driver’s license. Plaintiff’s “local” license plates mean that his truck’s operations are limited to within fifty miles of his home, and his truck is subject to biannual inspections made at inspection stations authorized by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

         On June 3, 2013, plaintiff took his truck for a successful inspection and also secured his annual registration for the truck, and he also took the truck out to gather gravel for use in his daughter’s chicken coop. At 12:45 p.m. that same day, Corporal J.L. Keathley of the Missouri State Highway Patrol saw Calzone driving on U.S. Highway 63 in Phelps County, Missouri, and pulled him over. The bed of plaintiff’s truck was empty at that time, and it was well within the applicable height, length, and width restrictions for the road on which he was traveling.

         Corporal Keathley told plaintiff that he pulled him over because he “did not recognize the truck or the markings displayed on the vehicle.” Keathley asked to inspect the truck, as he intended to perform a Level II inspection under the North American Standard Inspection (“NASI”) program, but plaintiff refused and told him he believed the stop was unconstitutional. Keathley then explained that § 304.230 RSMo authorizes the Missouri State Highway Patrol officers to stop commercial vehicles and inspect them whether or not the officer has probable cause to believe a law is being violated. Plaintiff still refused to consent to inspection. Keathley sought and received approval to conduct a motor fuel tax evasion check to see if plaintiff was using dyed motor fuel based on plaintiff’s statement to Keathley that he (plaintiff) was “a hard-headed constitutionalist.” The test showed that plaintiff was not using illegal dyed fuel. Plaintiff says he consented to the test only because Keathley told plaintiff that refusing the test would have “serious consequences with the state and the Internal Revenue Service.” Keathley issued plaintiff a citation for refusal to submit to a commercial motor vehicle inspection and then allowed plaintiff to resume driving at 1:56 p.m..

         The Phelps County prosecutor initially pursued a conviction against plaintiff for refusing to submit to the commercial motor vehicle inspection, but the prosecution was terminated by nolle prosequi on April 4, 2014.

         Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against defendants on June 3, 2015, bringing two counts:

Count I is for a declaratory judgment that § 304.230 RSMo is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and Mo. Const. Art. I, § 15.
Count II is for a declaratory judgment that Corporal Keathley violated plaintiff’s rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by applying § 304.230 RSMo to seize plaintiff on June 3, 2013.

         The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Notably, plaintiff now states that he challenges the constitutionality of only subsections 1, 2, and 7 of § 304.230.

         II. Legal Standard

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), a district court may grant a motion for summary judgment if all of the information before the court demonstrates that “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

         III. The Challenged Statute and Related Statutes

         Section 304.230 is titled “Enforcement of load laws---commercial vehicle inspectors, powers.” Plaintiff challenges the constitutionality of §§ 304.230.1, 304.230.2, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.