United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff, Thomas
Vonneedo, Jr., (registration no. 514039), an inmate at
Southeast Correctional Center (“SECC”), for leave
to commence this action without payment of the required
filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds
that plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the
entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing
fee of $1.98. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court
will stay and administratively close this action pursuant to
the Supreme Court case of Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S.
384 (2007), based on the pendency of an underlying criminal
cases against plaintiff that arises out of the same facts.
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
asserting violations of his Fourth Amendment rights. Prior to
this case being filed, two related underlying criminal cases
were filed against plaintiff in Missouri State Court. See
State v. Vonneedo, Case Nos. 15SO-CR01124-01
(33rd Judicial Circuit, Scott County Court) and
14MI-CR00436-02 (33rd Judicial District, Scott
County Court). In both cases, plaintiff has been charged with
felony possession of methamphetamines with intent to
distribute. He has pled guilty to felony distribution of a
controlled substance in Case No. 14MI-CR00436-02; however,
the matter is currently scheduled for a jury trial on
December 4, 2017 in Case No 15SO-CR01124-01.
current action, plaintiff asserts that he was
arrested (in custody at time) by Detective Ryan
Dennis of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety on October
5, 2015. In actuality, plaintiff had previously been charged
with possession of controlled substance, and a warrant had
already been issued for his arrest, in State v.
Vonneedo, Case No. 11SO-CR01109-02 (33rd
Judicial Circuit, Mississippi County Court). Plaintiff claims
that while he was in custody in the new case, Detective
Dennis “violated his Constitutional rights by going
outside the scope of the search warrant and having [him]
placed in ICU at MoDelta Medical Center…” and
having plaintiff drug tested.
claims that not only was he drug tested, but that he was also
“pumped full of drugs intravenously and fed laxatives
against [his] will.” Plaintiff claims he has suffered
damage to his bladder as a result of the ICU placement, and
he believes his due process rights were violated by this
purported “unlawful search.”
believes that he was subsequently charged with the additional
cases in Scott County as a result of the purported unlawful
drug testing by defendant Dennis. Plaintiff also names as a
defendant in this action, Missouri Delta Medical Center and
the Sikeston Police Department as a whole.
case, plaintiff asserts claims for false arrest, false
imprisonment and malicious prosecution as a result of an
alleged false arrest that occurred on October 5, 2015.
Plaintiff's claims in this lawsuit arise under the Fourth
Amendment and include: lack of probable cause; false arrest;
false imprisonment; warrantless search; and warrantless
seizure. He blames both the police and the hospital
for acting outside the Fourth Amendment.
Wallace v. Kato, the United States Supreme Court
held that ''the statute of limitations upon a §
1983 claim seeking damages for a false arrest in violation of
the Fourth Amendment, where the arrest is followed by
criminal proceedings, begins to run at the time the claimant
is detained pursuant to legal process.''
Wallace, 549 U.S. at 397. The Court observed that
''[f]alse arrest and false imprisonment overlap; the
former is a species of the latter.'' Id. at
388. The Court instructed that where ''a plaintiff
files a false arrest claim before he has been convicted . . .
it is within the power of the district court, and in accord
with common practice, to stay the civil action until the
criminal case or the likelihood of a criminal case is
ended.'' Id. at 393-94. Otherwise, the court
and the parties are left to ''speculate about whether
a prosecution will be brought, whether it will result in
conviction, and whether the impending civil action will
impugn that verdict, all this at a time when it can hardly be
known what evidence the prosecution has in its
possession.'' Id. at 393 (internal citation
case, plaintiff asserts claims for illegal search and
seizure, false arrest and false imprisonment. The principles
of Wallace v. Kato dictate that further
consideration of plaintiff's § 1983 claims should be
stayed until the underlying criminal matter currently pending
against plaintiff has been resolved through criminal appeals,
as well as through post-conviction processes.
a stay or abstention until resolution of the criminal matter
would be appropriate because a prisoner may not recover
damages in a § 1983 suit where the judgment would
necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction, continued
imprisonment or sentence unless the conviction or sentence is
reversed, expunged or called into question by issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512
U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994); Schafer v. Moore, 46 F.3d
43, 45 (8th Cir. 1995); Edwards v.
Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 648 (1997) (applying rule in
§ 1983 suit seeking declaratory relief).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's
motion to proceed in forma ...