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 defendant Brandon Smith's
motion to dismiss (#11). The matter is fully briefed, and the
motion will be granted in part and denied in part.
motion-to-dismiss stage, the Court pulls the facts from the
Petition (#4). Back in 2014, the Pemiscot County
Sheriff's Department responded to a call about a house
fire. A deputy sheriff questioned plaintiff (a minor) and his
father at the scene. Then, a Missouri State Fire Marshall
Investigator arrived and assisted with the investigation. He
directed plaintiff and his father to the Pemiscot County
Justice Center for more questioning.
there, defendant (a Pemiscot County Deputy Juvenile Officer)
interviewed plaintiff with his father present. Next, the
officer told plaintiff's father to leave the interview
room and arranged for plaintiff to be transported to Lakeland
Behavioral Health Systems, in Springfield, Missouri. In
restraints and at the officer's direction, plaintiff was
taken from the Pemiscot County Justice Center to Lakeland
Behavioral Health Systems. Neither plaintiff nor his father
consented to this, and the officer orchestrated
plaintiff's transport without a court order or judicial
intervention of any kind.
days later, the officer finally filed a petition with the
Pemiscot County Circuit Court, Juvenile Division, alleging
that plaintiff needed care pursuant to § 211.031 RSMo.
Section 211.031 provides that juvenile or family courts have
exclusive original jurisdiction (in certain circumstances)
over proceedings involving minors who allegedly need care and
treatment. § 211.031.1(1) RSMo.
days later, plaintiff appeared before the Juvenile Court,
which ordered that he be released to the custody of his
father. About a month later, the Juvenile Court dismissed the
petition the officer filed against plaintiff.
sued the officer in both his official and individual
capacity, alleging the officer violated his Fourth Amendment
right to be free from unreasonable seizures. Plaintiff also
alleges the officer violated Missouri law by falsely
imprisoning him. In sum, plaintiff claims there was no legal
justification to detain him without an order from the
Pemiscot County Juvenile Court.
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim tests
the sufficiency of a complaint and eliminates those actions
“which are fatally flawed in their legal premises and
designed to fail, thereby sparing litigants the burden of
unnecessary pretrial and trial activity.” Young v.
City of St. Charles, 244 F.3d 623, 627 (8th Cir. 2001).
“To survive a motion to dismiss, a claim must be
facially plausible, meaning that the ‘factual content .
. . allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.'” Cole v. Homier Dist. Co., 599
F.3d 856, 861 (8th Cir. 2010) (alteration in original)
(quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009)). The Court must “accept the allegations
contained in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.”
Id. (quoting Coons v. Mineta, 410 F.3d
1036, 1039 (8th Cir. 2005)).
brings a § 1983 claim and a state-law claim. The Court
addresses each separately.
42 U.S.C. § 1983-Fourth Amendment Violation
Plaintiff sues the officer in both his official and