United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
E. JACKSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of the St. Louis
defendants to dismiss for failure to state a claim, pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Plaintiff has filed a response in
October 4, 2014, DeJuan Brison hanged himself in a cell at
the Jennings Detention Center, just hours after he was
transferred from the St. Louis City Justice Center. His
mother, plaintiff Christina Brooks, filed suit in state court
against (1) the City of Jennings, the Jennings Detention
Center, Jennings Department of Corrections official Eugene
Neal, and corrections officers Rick Crim, Demetrius Staples,
Aykan Acikgoz, Kellye Still, Kyle Bashaw, Yvette Harris, and
Kevin Stevener (the Jennings defendants); (2) the City of St.
Louis, the St. Louis Justice Center, St. Louis Corrections
Commissioner Dale Glass, and corrections officers Joshua
Hill, Carl Myers, Lynn Page, and Jermanda Adams (the St.
Louis defendants); and (3) St. Louis County police officer
Kent Menning. She asserts claims of wrongful death under
§ 537.080 Mo.Rev.Stat. and civil rights violations under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Jennings defendants removed the
case to this Court, invoking federal question jurisdiction
pursuant 28 U.S.C. § 1331. See 28 U.S.C. §
1441(a). The St. Louis defendants move to dismiss.
October 1, 2014, DeJuan Brison was arrested and booked into
the St. Louis City Justice Center. Complaint [Doc. # 3 at
¶25]. The following day, he was placed on full suicide
watch, where he remained throughout his detention at the St.
Louis Justice Center. Id. at ¶ 26. The City of
Jennings had an outstanding warrant for Brison and, on the
morning of October 4, 2014, St. Louis County police officer
Kent Menning picked Brison up at the St. Louis City Justice
Center to take him to the Jennings Detention Center.
Id. at ¶¶ 27, 30. The St. Louis defendants
failed to inform defendant Menning that Brison had been on
suicide watch and he failed to ask for Brison's medical
information. Id. at ¶¶28-29. The Jennings
defendants failed to identify Brison's medical concerns
or have him medically evaluated. Id. at 33. Brison
was placed in a one-person cell that was difficult to monitor
and in which another inmate had previously hanged himself.
Id. at ¶¶ 36-39. At 12:57 p.m., Brison
fastened a blanket around his neck and tied it to the bars of
his cell door. He was not discovered until 1:21 p.m.
Id. at ¶¶ 41-43. Brison was transported to
Barnes-Jewish Hospital and placed on life support. He died on
October 21, 2014, without regaining consciousness.
purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is to test
the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). The factual allegations of a complaint are assumed
true and construed in favor of the plaintiff, “even if
it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is
improbable.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007) (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema
N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 508 n.1 (2002)); Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989) (“Rule 12(b)(6)
does not countenance . . . dismissals based on a judge's
disbelief of a complaint's factual allegations.”);
Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974) (stating
that a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it appears
“that a recovery is very remote and unlikely”).
The issue is not whether the plaintiff will ultimately
prevail, but whether the plaintiff is entitled to present
evidence in support of his claim. Scheuer, 416 U.S.
at 236. A viable complaint must include “enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; see
id. at 563 (stating that the “no set of
facts” language in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S.
41, 45-46 (1957), “has earned its retirement”);
see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-84
(2009) (holding that the pleading standard set forth in
Twombly applies to all civil actions).
“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555.
Claims against City of St. Louis and Justice Center
Count II, plaintiff asserts a state-law negligence claim
against the City of St. Louis. Defendants argue, and
plaintiff concedes, that the City is entitled to sovereign
immunity. See Folsom v. Morgan Cty., Mo., No.
2:10-CV-04128-NKL, 2011 WL 2417009, at *9 (W.D. Mo. June 13,
2011) (public entity afforded sovereign immunity from tort
actions, unless injury arises from (1) operation of a motor
vehicle by an agent of the entity; (2) a dangerous condition
on the entity's property; or (3) the public entity has
waived sovereign immunity by purchasing liability insurance);
Mo.Rev.Stat. § 537.600. Count II will be dismissed.
Similarly, sovereign immunity also bars plaintiff's
negligence claims against the individual defendants in their
official capacity. See Montin v. Moore, 846 F.3d
289, 292 (8th Cir. 2017) (sovereign immunity bars any suits
against states and their employees in their official
Counts III and V, plaintiff brings state and federal claims
against the St. Louis City Justice Center. She concedes that,
as a municipal department, the Justice Center is not a suable
entity. See Wallace v. St. Louis City Justice CTR,
No. 4:12CV2291 JAR, 2013 WL 3773971, at *2 (E.D. Mo. July 17,
2013) (dismissing “frivolous” claim against St.
Louis City Justice Center because the Justice Center is not a
suable entity). Counts III and V will be dismissed.
Claims Against Individual Defendants
§ 1983 Official Capacity Claims
Count VI, plaintiff asserts a § 1983 deliberate
indifference claims against the individual defendants in both
their individual and official capacities. Defendants seek
dismissal of the official capacity claims as redundant of the
§ 1983 ...