United States District Court, E.D. Missouri
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on motions to dismiss filed by
Defendants City of St. Louis and Mayor Lyda Krewson (Doc. No.
33); Peter and Paul Community Services, Inc. (Doc. No, 40);
and St. Patrick Center (Doc. No. 52). Plaintiff was granted
several extensions of time to respond to the motions (Doc.
Nos. 44, 46, 63, 70), and most recently up to and including
March 21, 2018 (Doc. No. 68). To date he has not responded.
The Court will, therefore, rule on Defendants' unopposed
Edward Allen Moore, proceeding pro se, filed this action on
July 5, 2017, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged
violations of his civil rights, against the City of St. Louis
(“the City”); St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson
(“Mayor Krewson”); Biddle House Opportunity
Center (“Biddle House”); St. Patrick
Center (“St. Patrick”); Peter and Paul Community
Services, Inc. (“Peter and Paul”); Biddle House
Staff Person Keneesha Unknown; Biddle House Staff Person Emma
Unknown; and Six John Doe Biddle House Staff Persons. (Doc.
No. 1) In his original complaint and motions for injunctive
relief, Plaintiff asserted he was a homeless resident of the
City of St. Louis seeking services from Biddle House, a
facility owned by the City which purportedly “serves
the needs of the homeless and is staffed by St. Patrick
Center, ” and serviced by Peter and Paul. Plaintiff
alleged that in June of 2017, he was given a
“routing” slip at Biddle House that allowed him to
take showers, do laundry and obtain meals. Plaintiff further
alleged that after he became an “outspoken
critic” of Biddle House, voicing his criticisms on
certain media websites as well as on Defendants'
websites, Biddle House began to retaliate against him by
denying him services. Plaintiff sought an ex parte hearing on
his motion for temporary restraining order, but was
instructed to notify Defendants of his intent to seek a
hearing prior to being given a hearing date.
10, 2017, Plaintiff amended his complaint to add a claim that
he was being denied an overnight bed by Biddle House. (Doc.
No. 7) On July 13, 2017, he filed a second amended complaint
(Doc. No. 8), and renewed his motions for temporary
restraining order and preliminary injunction (Doc. Nos. 9,
11). Plaintiff alleged that Biddle House was refusing to
renew his routing slip, effectively cutting him off from
services, including food, laundry, showers and a bed.
on Plaintiff's allegations in his renewed motion for
temporary restraining order, the Court held an emergency
hearing on July 13, 2017. A representative from the City
testified that Plaintiff was in good standing at Biddle
House, able to receive services there, and provided Plaintiff
with contact information in order to attain services. On July
14, 2017, this Court denied Plaintiff's motion for
temporary restraining order and renewed motion for temporary
restraining order based on his failure to present any
evidence showing a likelihood of success on the merits or a
threat of irreparable harm (Doc. No. 17). His motion for
reconsideration was denied on August 4, 2017. (Doc. No. 32)
alleges three claims against Defendants in his second amended
complaint. First, he alleges that all of the Defendants, in
their individual and official capacities, retaliated against
him in violation of the First Amendment by failing to provide
him services at Biddle House. Second, Plaintiff alleges he
was denied property, in violation of the Fourteenth
Amendment, when Defendants kept his clothing at Biddle House
after an alleged verbal dispute. Lastly, Plaintiff asserts
that Defendants deprived him of procedural due process in
violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks
compensatory and injunctive relief in connection with his
purpose of a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) is to test the legal sufficiency of the
complaint. “To survive a 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.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Although pro se complaints are to be
construed liberally, “they still must allege sufficient
facts to support the claims advanced.” Stringer v.
St. James R-1 Sch. Dist., 446 F.3d 799, 802 (8th Cir.
2006) (quoting Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914
(8th Cir. 2004)). “[P]ro se litigants must set [a
claim] forth in a manner which, taking the pleaded facts as
true, states a claim as a matter of law.” Id.
(internal quotation omitted).
Peter and Paul Community Services and St. Patrick
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that
he has been deprived of a constitutional right by a person
acting under color of state law. Sabri v. Whittier
All., 833 F.3d 995, 999-1000 (8th Cir. 2016) (citing
Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 942
(1982)). Importantly, “[o]nly state actors can be held
liable under Section 1983.” Carlson v. Roetzel
& Andress, 552 F.3d 648, 650 (8th Cir. 2008). There
is no allegation that Peter and Paul and St. Patrick, both
private non-profit organizations, are state actors. However,
a private party may be held liable under § 1983 if it is
a “willful participant in joint action with the State
or its agents.” Mershon v. Beasley, 994 F.2d.
449, 451 (8th Cir. 1993).
a private party liable under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege, at the very least, “that there was a mutual
understanding, or a meeting of the minds, between the private
party and the state actor.” Miller v. Compton,
122 F.3d 1094, 1098 (8th Cir. 1997); Mershon, 994
F.2d. at 451. The facts alleged with respect to a mutual
understanding or conspiracy must be specific and may not be
merely conclusory. Deck v. Leftridge, 771 F.2d 1168,
1170 (8th Cir. 1985). A threadbare recital of an element of a
cause of action is insufficient to sustain a § 1983
claim against a private party. See Murray v. Lene,
595 F.3d 868, 870 (8th Cir. 2010) (stating a plausible §
1983 “conspiracy claim” among state actors and
non-state actors “requires allegations of specific
facts tending to show a ‘meeting of the minds'
among the alleged conspirators”).
has alleged no facts plausibly suggesting that Peter and Paul
and/or St. Patrick acted in concert with state authorities to
violate his constitutional rights. See Carlson, 552
F.3d at 651 (holding that to find “private parties
liable as state actors, this court has required joint action
or conspiracy with state authorities”). Although
Plaintiff alleges that St. Patrick “staffed” the
Biddle House and that Peter and Paul “supervised”
the Biddle House (FAC ¶ 7), a private corporation cannot
be held liable under § 1983 on a theory of respondeat
superior. Johnson v. The Bridge, No. 4:14-CV-884
JAR, 2014 WL 2711795, at *2 (E.D. Mo. June 16, 2014) (citing
Boyd v. Knox, 47 F.3d 966, 968 (8th Cir. 1995)).
Instead, a private corporation will only be liable for its
own unconstitutional ...