United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
EDWARD B. GOGAN, Plaintiff,
JEFFREY SILER, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
E. JACKSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on defendants' motion for
summary judgment. Plaintiff has filed a response in
opposition and the issues are fully briefed.
March 20, 2012, plaintiff Edward Gogan was taken to the St.
Louis County Justice Center after he was arrested in Clayton
on an outstanding warrant. In this action brought pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff alleges that St. Louis
County corrections officers Jeffrey Siler, Cranston Jones,
and James Lively severely beat him while he was handcuffed
with his hands behind his back. He was transported by
ambulance to the emergency room at SSM St. Mary's Health
Center, where he was admitted for treatment of two broken
ribs, a collapsed lung, and a perforated eardrum. He asserts
a § 1983 claim of excessive force in violation of his
rights under the Fourth Amendment and a state law claim of
assault and battery.
parties present widely divergent versions of the facts,
beginning before plaintiff arrived at the Justice Center. The
Court sets out abbreviated statements of the parties'
versions of events. In doing so, the Court expresses no
opinion regarding the credibility of the testimony.
Edward Gogan spent the evening of March 19, 2012, drinking
beer at a bar in Clayton, Missouri. Plaintiff's
Deposition [Doc. # 56-1 at 9]. After the bar closed, he began
walking toward home. A Clayton police officer in a patrol car
stopped him and asked for identification. After checking his
state ID, the officer informed plaintiff that there was an
outstanding warrant from Jefferson County for failure to pay
child support and that he was under arrest. Plaintiff was
handcuffed with his hands behind his back and placed in the
back of the patrol car. Id. at 10.
Clayton police officer transported plaintiff to the St. Louis
County Justice Center to be processed and held for transfer
to Jefferson County. Once inside the Justice Center, the
officer directed plaintiff to take a seat in the booking
hallway. Plaintiff complied. Id. at 13.
Approximately five minutes later, a Justice Center guard
escorted plaintiff to a bench in front of the nurse's
station and told him to wait for the nurse to call his name.
Plaintiff testified that the guard stood to the right of him,
at a distance of a few feet. Plaintiff described the guard as
a white man in his late fifties or early sixties, with
graying hair. Id. at 13, 15. When pressed for
further details, plaintiff stated that he had not been paying
much attention to him but he thought that the guard was under
6 feet tall and weighed about 180 or 190 pounds. In any
event, he “seemed like a bigger fellow” than
plaintiff. Id. at 15.
subsequently identified defendant Jeffrey Siler as the guard
in question and the Court will refer to him as
stood up when he heard his name called. He testified that
Siler hauled him to his feet and told him to “move his
ass.” Plaintiff swore at him. Plaintiff testified that
he took a half step before he was knocked unconscious by a
blow to his left ear from behind him. When he regained
consciousness he was in the hospital. Id. at 16. He
was unable to describe what happened to him after he lost
consciousness. Id. at 16, 17. He had no memories of
interacting with defendants Jones and Lively. Id.
presented to the emergency department with a collapsed lung,
fractured ribs on both the left and right, and a punctured
ear drum. [Doc. # 61-2]. He rated his pain at level 10 on a
10-point scale. He was described as intoxicated, spitting,
and screaming profanities. Id.
Jeffrey Siler held the rank of captain and was the intake
supervisor on March 20, 2012. Siler Deposition [Doc. # 56-2
at 4]. He testified that he was present when two Clayton
police officers brought plaintiff to the Justice Center
booking area in handcuffs, holding him by both arms. He
described plaintiff as “very drunk, very
belligerent” and “acting out verbally.”
Defendant Siler asked the Clayton police officers to bring
plaintiff to the counter where nurse Gerard Kearney was ready
to complete an intake evaluation. Plaintiff responded to
Kearney's questions with profanities. Nurse Kearney
determined that plaintiff was fit for confinement.
Id. at 6-7. Defendant Siler testified that he
attempted to replace the handcuffs the Clayton police
officers had used to restrain plaintiff with Justice Center
restraints. Id. at 8. Plaintiff struggled during the
switch so defendant Siler “gave the instruction to
place [him] in the prone position to limit his ability to
pull away from us or cause harm to us or anyone else.”
Id. at 10. Once plaintiff was on the floor, he
kicked defendant Siler in the stomach “near the private
area.” Id. Defendant Siler grabbed
plaintiff's foot and leg, put it back on the ground, and
put his knees on plaintiff's back to hold him down.
Defendants Lively and Jones pinned plaintiff's legs and
defendant Siler was able to complete the exchange of the
handcuffs. Id. at 11; 13. Plaintiff was then placed
in a restraint chair. Id. at 8; 12. Nurse Kearney
examined plaintiff, who was moaning and had blood coming from
one ear. Kearney Deposition [Doc. # 56-5 at 7-8].
Kearney told the defendants that plaintiff needed to be
transported to the emergency room. Id. When asked
how he thought plaintiff sustained his injuries, defendant
Siler noted that plaintiff had been found by the Clayton
police at the side of the road and opined that plaintiff was
injured before coming to the Justice Center. [Doc. # 56-2 at
March 20, 2012, defendant Siler was 42 years old and weighed
375 pounds. Siler Affidavit [Doc. # 56-6]. Defendant Jones is
an African-American male and was 28 years old at the time of
this event. [Doc. # 56-7]. ...