United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
CHRISTINA BROOKS, on behalf of all beneficiaries, pursuant to Section 537.080, Plaintiff,
THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
in this action is a motion to dismiss Counts IX and XII
against the City of Jennings Detention Center and the
official-capacity claims in Count XIII against Aykan Acikgoz,
Kyle Bashaw, Rick Crim, Yvette Harris, Eugene Neal, Demetrius
Staples, and Kellye Still (hereinafter referred to as the
Jennings Defendants). Plaintiff does not oppose the dismissal
of Counts IX and XII.
action has its origins in the death of Plaintiffs son, DeJuan
Brison, after he hung himself when confined in the City of
Jennings Detention Center. The Jennings Defendants are
corrections officers at that Center and are sued in their
individual and official capacities.
Count X of her complaint, Plaintiff alleges that the City of
Jennings is liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for its
deliberate indifference to Brison's serious safety and
medical needs. (Compl. ¶181, ECF No. 3.) She also
alleges that the City "maintained polices, practices,
and customs demonstrating deliberate and complete
indifference to the constitutional rights of its citizens
...." (Id. ¶182.) In Count XIII, she
alleges that the Jennings Defendants "showed deliberate
indifference to Brison's serious medical needs,
negligently failed to recognize Brison's suicidal
tendencies, and further deprived him of his constitutional
rights . . . ." (Id. ¶24l.) She repeats
against these defendants the allegations in Paragraph 182
against the City. (Id. ¶242.)
Jennings Defendants move to dismiss the official-capacity
claims against them in Count XIII under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as being redundant of those
in Count X. Plaintiff disagrees.
survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, 'a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'"
McShane Constr. Co. v. Gotham Ins. Co., 867 F.3d
923, 927 (8th Cir. 2017) (quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). "A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.'" Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678). "'[Determining whether a complaint
states a plausible claim for relief ... [is] a
context-specific task that requires [this] [C]ourt to draw on
its judicial experience and common sense.'"
Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79)
(second and third alterations in original).
suit against a government officer in his official capacity is
functionally equivalent to a suit against the employing
governmental entity." Veatch v. Bartels Lutheran
Home, 627 F.3d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir. 2010).
Consequently, a claim against a defendant sued in his
official capacity for violating the plaintiffs constitutional
rights was found to be properly dismissed as redundant of a
claim against that defendant's employing governmental
entity for failure to properly train him. Id.
similar argument to the one now presented by the City of
Jennings and the Jennings Defendants was earlier advanced in
this case by the City of St. Louis and its individual
employee-defendants. The argument was that the claims in
Count VI against the individuals for being deliberately
indifferent to Brison's serious medical needs and to
maintaining "policies, practices, and customs"
demonstrating such indifference were redundant of those in
Count IV against the City for failing to "hire,
instruct, train, supervise, control and/or discipline"
the individual defendants. (Compl. at 20-24, 27-30.) Citing
Veatch, supra, the court agreed. Brooks v. City
of St. Louis, 2017 WL 2797484, *2 (E.D. Mo. June 28,
2017). Noting that the City would "ultimately be liable
if plaintiff succeeds on her official capacity claims, "
the court rejected her argument that there was no redundancy
because the claims were "based on 'separate failures
of different policy, custom, and procedure.'"
Court finds no difference between the arguments presented
relative to this earlier motion to dismiss allegedly
redundant counts and those now presented.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion to
dismiss of the City of Jennings, the City of Jennings
Detention Center, and the Jennings Defendant is GRANTED. [ECF
No. 54] Counts IX and XII are dismissed. Only the
official-capacity in Count XIII against Aykan Acikgoz, Kyle
Bashaw, Rick Crim, Yvette Harris, Eugene Neal, Demetrius
Staples, and Kellye Still will also be dismissed.
appropriate Order of Partial Dismissal will accompany ...