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Kingcade v. Trowbridge

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

September 8, 2017

TIM TROWBRIDGE, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Forest Conan Kingcade filed this action against Defendants Tim Trowbridge, Phillip Caldwell, Mark Dennis, Allan Campbell, Brandon Moore, and Stephen Gregory, alleging violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the Court on the parties' Supplemental Motions for Summary Judgment. (Docs. 87, 92.)


         The Second Amended Complaint alleges that, on August 7, 2014, Defendants Moore, Trowbridge, Campbell, Gregory, Caldwell, and Dennis entered Kingcade's home without a search warrant in response to a shoplifting incident at the Town and Country Grocery Store in Kennett, Missouri. (Doc. 28 at 5.) Kingcade claims that he was ordered to the ground, and complied with this directive. Id. He states that, after he was handcuffed, Moore shoved him to the floor, and Dennis used his taser on the lower part of his thigh for a period of sixty seconds or more. Id. at 6. Kingcade states that Trowbridge and Caldwell stood by and watched the incident. Id. Kingcade alleges that, upon arrival at the Dunklin County Jail, Campbell tased him while he was securely detained. Id.

         Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, in which they argued they were entitled to judgment on all of Kingcade's claims. They first claimed that Kingcade's excessive force and failure to intervene claims were barred by the application of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). Defendants further argued that they were entitled to summary judgment on these claims based on collateral estoppel and qualified immunity. They claimed that Kingcade's deliberate indifference to medical needs and illegal search and seizure claims failed on the merits Court granted Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on June 6, 2016, and entered judgment in favor of Defendants on Kingcade's Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. 63.) The Court found that Heck barred Kingcade's excessive force and failure to intervene claims. Because this finding was dispositive, the Court did not address Defendants' additional arguments in support of summary judgment regarding these claims. The Court found that Kingcade's deliberate indifference and illegal search and seizure claims failed as a matter of law.

         On February 27, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion and judgment affirming in part and reversing in part this Court's grant of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Kingcade v. Trowbridge, et al., 678 Fed.Appx. 452 (8th Cir. 2017) (unpublished). The Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment as to Kingcade's claims of deliberate indifference, but reversed the grant of summary judgment as to Kingcade's claims of excessive force and failure to intervene.[1] The Eighth Circuit remanded the matter to this Court for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.

         Following the Eighth Circuit's opinion, this Court gave the parties an opportunity to file supplemental dispositive motions. The parties filed the Supplemental Motions for Summary Judgment, which are currently before the Court.

         I. Legal Standard

         Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment shall be entered if the moving party shows “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court is required to view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, giving that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts. AgriStor Leasing v. Farrow, 826 F.2d 732, 734 (8th Cir. 1987). The moving party bears the burden of showing both the absence of a genuine issue of material fact and its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). If the moving party meets its burden, the non-moving party may not rest on the allegations of its pleadings, but must set forth specific facts, by affidavit or other evidence, showing that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Gannon Intern., Ltd. v. Blocker, 684 F.3d 785, 792 (8th Cir. 2012); Gibson v. Am. Greetings Corp., 670 F.3d 844, 853 (8th Cir. 2012). “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.” Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 586 (2009) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.., 475 U.S. at 587).

         II. Facts [2]

         On August 7, 2014, Kennett Police Officers responded to a residence in Kennett, Missouri, at which the officers located and arrested Plaintiff Forest Conan Kingcade based on a felony warrant and probable cause that he committed various offenses including theft (shoplifting) and operating a vehicle without a license.

         During his arrest, Kingcade complied with the officers' initial commands. He was placed in handcuffs without incident. The parties disagree about what caused Kingcade to fall to the ground after he was handcuffed. Kingcade claims that Officer Moore threw him to the ground for no reason. The officers contend that Kingcade fell as Officer Moore attempted to escort him out of the house.

         Kingcade also claims that once he was lifted to his feet after being handcuffed, his boxers fell down, and he asked Officer Moore to help him pull the boxers up. The officers, on the other hand, indicate that when they denied Kingcade's request to put pants on over his boxers, Kingcade pulled his boxer shorts down and said he would go naked. (Doc. 93-1 at 1, 7, 8.) Kingcade and his girlfriend, Jessica Gordon, state that Kingcade's hands were cuffed behind his back when his boxers fell down. Gordon also claims that she asked the officers for permission to pull Kingcade's boxers up and they denied her offer to help. Id. at 5.

         Officers eventually got Kingcade out of the residence and placed him in a patrol vehicle to transport him to the Dunklin County Justice Center. Kingcade argued with the officers and was verbally abusive to the officer during the ride from his residence to the jail.

         Upon arrival at the jail, jailers and officers had to carry Kingcade from the police car to the jail booking room. While at the jail, Kingcade continued to curse and threaten officers. The officers claim that Kingcade's behavior was so combative upon arrival to the jail and in the booking room that the officers had to carry him into a holding cell. Kingcade claims that he had to be carried into the jail because his body had locked up in response to being tased at his residence and that the back of his thigh was injured from the taser prongs.

         Officers used a taser on Kingcade on two different occasions. First, Officer Dennis used his taser on Kingcade at Kingcade's residence. After the taser was deployed, Kingcade complied with the officers' commands and he was placed in a patrol car for transport to the jail. Kingcade claims he asked for and was denied medical assistance. Following Kingcade's arrival at the jail, Corporal Alan Campbell administered his taser on Kingcade in “dry-stun” mode.

         During Kingcade's intake at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center at Bonne Terre more than two months after his arrest, Kingcade reported that he did not have an arrest injury or related medical problem. (Doc. 89-4 at 6.) Kingcade requested that photographs be taken of his wrists (Doc. 51-1 at 9) on August 7, 2014, id. at 19-20, and again on August 13, 2014, id. at 21-22. Kingcade did not ask for photographs to be taken of his thigh. Id. at 9.

         On January 16, 2015, Kingcade pled guilty to the class D felony of resisting an arrest in violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. ' 575.150. The charge to which Kingcade pled guilty stated that “on or about August 7, 2014, in the county of Dunklin, State of Missouri, Alan Campbell a law enforcement officer, was attempting to arrest defendant for the felony [of] stealing and [Kingcade] resisted arrest by threatening physical force or violence.” (Doc. 89-5 at 7, emphasis added.)

         II. Discussion

         As an initial matter, the Court notes that, although Kingcade titles his pleading “Supplemental Motion, ” he does not request that the Court enter judgment in his favor. Instead, Kingcade requests that this Court “proceed on Count I. Excessive Force and Count III. Failure to Intervene claims for trial.” (Doc. 92 at 2.) Contemporaneous with this Supplemental Motion, Kingcade filed a “Memorandum of the Plaintiff Forest Conan Kingcade in Support of his Supplemental Motion for the Appeal Court Judges Did Not Err Judgment by Remanded Count I. Excessive Force and III. Failure to Intervene of his Claims” (Doc. 93), along with exhibits in support (Doc. 93-1); and “Affidavits of Uncontroverted Material Facts in Support of the Plaintiff's Supplemental Motion, that the Appeal Court Judges (per curiam) Did Not Err” (Doc. 94).

         Defendants have filed a Motion to Strike Plaintiff's “Supplemental Motion, ” in which they argue that the Court should strike the Supplemental Motion and its supporting documents because they fail to state a proper basis for summary judgment and because they are untimely. (Doc. 97.) Defendants state that, to the extent the Court accepts Kingcade's Supplemental Motion, they re-allege, readopt, and incorporate by reference Defendants' Supplemental Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 87.)

         Defendants' Motion to Strike will be denied. Although Kingcade's Supplemental Motion was filed two days after the deadline set forth in the Court's March 30, 2017 Order, Defendants are not prejudiced by this delay. The record shows that Kingcade has been diligently pursuing his claims in this action. He has filed multiple ...

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