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Redden v. Smith

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

January 23, 2018

GARY REDDEN, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
BRANDON SMITH Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This 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.

         I. Background

         At the 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.

         Once 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.

         Thirty-two 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.

         Six 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.

         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.

         II. Legal Standard

         A Rule 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)).

         III. Discussion

         Plaintiff brings a § 1983 claim and a state-law claim. The Court addresses each separately.

         A. 42 U.S.C. § 1983-Fourth Amendment Violation Plaintiff sues the officer in both his official and individual capacity.

         1. ...


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