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Johns v. City of Florissant Police Department

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

February 14, 2018

BRENT J. JOHNS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF FLORISSANT POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          AUDREY G FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon review of the amended complaint. (Docket No. 17). The amended complaint fails to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and with this Court's September 1, 2017 Memorandum and Order. In addition, plaintiff indicates an intent to incorporate by reference claims and defendants from earlier pleadings. Plaintiff will be given the opportunity to file a second amended complaint that conforms to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and that sets forth his claims in one single pleading.

         Background

         On May 15, 2017, plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his civil rights were violated when he was tased and beaten in March of 2017 and then denied medical care. He named the Florissant Police Department as defendant. Thereafter, plaintiff filed four additional complaints against various other defendants in which he also alleged that his civil rights were violated when he was tased and beaten in March of 2017 and denied medical care. Because plaintiff's allegations in each complaint stemmed from essentially the same transaction or series of transactions, the cases were consolidated. In a Memorandum and Order dated September 1, 2017, this Court instructed plaintiff to file an amended complaint to set forth all of his claims against each defendant he wished to sue. The Court noted that plaintiff's claims against the Florissant Police Department were legally frivolous, and also that plaintiff had failed to set forth specific facts showing that each named defendant was personally responsible for violating his rights. The Court also noted that it was impermissible to amend a pleading by filing supplemental documents. The Court instructed plaintiff to submit an amended complaint on a Court-provided form, and explained that the amended complaint must comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court clearly instructed plaintiff that he was required to allege specific facts showing how each named defendant was personally responsible for violating his rights. In response, plaintiff has filed multiple motions seeking various forms of relief, and two amended complaints. The Court now reviews plaintiff's most recently-filed amended complaint.

         At the top of the amended complaint, plaintiff wrote “Amended Final.” (Docket No. 17). Plaintiff did not prepare the amended complaint on a court-provided form. It is written in the form of a long narrative, and it contains a significant amount of legalese, conclusory statements, and unnecessary information. For example, plaintiff writes:

On the night of March 1, 2017 in the City of and Municipality of Florissant, County of St. Louis, State of Missouri, I being a citizen of the United States and Great State of Missouri, had my civil and constitutional rights knowingly and unlawfully deprived and violated by law enforcement officers all fully clothed in Florissant Police uniforms, driving fully marked Florissant Police Cars and acting under color of law.
When Florissant Police Officers Brian Panus (DSN 672) and Steven Beekman (DSN 596) did knowingly and also unlawfully without valid reason to think a crime was being committed or knowledge that a crime had been committed or was about to be committed and without explanation nor reason when I was seized in public in violation of Terry v. Ohio (1968); Union Pac. R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891) also by doing so they knowingly violated my 4th, 14th amendment rights to be free of unreasonable searches, seizures 5th to due process.
These same officers, along with ofc. Joshua Smith DSN 603 also fully clothed in uniform, driving fully marked police car #7 and acting under color of state law acted with malicious and sadistic intent with reckless disregard of my life and of the lives of civilians in the immediate area knowing that such disregard would ultimately create an extreme risk of danger to my life and the lives of other officers and civilians by ignoring a direct order given by a superior officer (Sgt. Anthony Mocca DSN 584) to “Terminate and stop following the vehicle!” (see; Florissant Police, incident report #17-001391, Narratives page #2, line 31) ultimately causing serious bodily injury.
Officers continued to ignore the order given further by calling out over the radio my location. By Sgt. Anthony Mocca not repeating the previous command he showed that he agreed or approved by allowing the officers to create further danger in a residential area (given my location) Sgt. Anthony Mocca DSN 584 previous decision to “terminate and stop following” and then chose to allow the officers in the same residential area to create danger shows that acquiescence occurred (due to the previous order given) and was alerted and understood then and now disregarded that same danger to my life and to the civilians in the immediate area as well as to the lives of his own officers safety an acquiescence occurred through silent acceptance of the officers continued pursuit and knowledge of their insubordinate acts that were verbal over the radio to dispatch and to Sgt. Anthony Mocca and his silent acceptance of the officers continued pursuit and knowledge of their insubordinate acts that were verbal over the radio to dispatch and to Sgt. Anthony Mocca and his silent acceptance of that fact proves this supervisor (Sgt. Mocca) is also directly liable for his subordinates (Panus, Beekman and Smiths) actions that follow . . . further violates 14 and 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 14th.

(Id. at 1-3).

         Elsewhere in the amended complaint, plaintiff lists the names of several defendants and then states, in conclusory fashion, that his rights were violated. He also alleges that “they” and “the officers” committed various forms of wrongdoing.

         Plaintiff specifically names thirteen defendants: four police officers, the mayor of Florissant, Missouri, one alderwoman, and seven aldermen. At the end of the amended complaint, plaintiff appears to attempt to name fourteen other defendants, including the Chief of Police, a lieutenant, a sergeant, two detectives, two additional officers not named elsewhere, and seven “unknown officers” whom plaintiff identifies via department serial number. (Id. at 17).

         Plaintiff writes that he is “requesting this amended claim to be combined with all previously named defendants” and “to also include all named and unnamed defendants under this cause number to be joined with this claim all officers named in this claim and alderwomen, aldermen, mayor already named as well.” (Id. at 14). Finally, the amended complaint includes a copy of a Florissant ...


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