United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HONORABLE JOHN J. TUCHI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging due
process violations in connection with Plaintiff Charles
Lewis's (“Plaintiff”) prolonged incarceration
after he was legally entitled to release, as well as a
Missouri common law claim for false imprisonment, is before
the Court on the motion of Defendant Kimberly Gardner
(“Gardner”) to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint
for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted,
and on the basis of qualified or absolute immunity. (Doc.
13). For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be
claims arise out of his eight-day detention at the St. Louis
City Medium Security Institution (“MSI”) and the
St. Louis City Justice Center (“Justice Center”)
after criminal charges against him were dismissed, and out of
the unsanitary conditions of his confinement, which lasted
for approximately twelve months in total.
names as Defendants the City of St. Louis (the
“City”) and the following individuals, solely in
their individual capacities: Vernon Betts, the Sheriff of the
City; Jeff Carson, Superintendent of MSI; Charlene Deeken,
the Director of the City's Department of Public Safety;
Kimberly Gardner, the City's Circuit Attorney; Dale
Glass, the Commissioner of the City's Division of
Corrections; and five “unknown” defendants.
alleges that he was arrested in May 2016, and charged with
two counts of making terroristic threats. (Doc. 1 at 4).
Because Plaintiff could not afford to post bond, he was
detained at MSI pending trial. Plaintiff was tried on
criminal charges in the City's circuit court in March
2017. Id. At trial, Plaintiff was acquitted of one
count of making terroristic threats, with ten jurors in favor
of acquittal and two in favor of conviction. After trial,
Plaintiff was returned to MSI. Id. at 4-5.
15, 2017, Defendant Gardner and an “unknown”
Assistant Circuit Attorney of the Circuit Attorney's
office filed a Memorandum of Nolle Prosequi, which the state
court accepted and which dismissed the charges against
Plaintiff. Id. at 5. After May 15, 2017, Plaintiff
continued to be held in MSI. Id. On May 20, 2017,
Plaintiff's public defender was notified that the charges
against Plaintiff had been dismissed. Id. On May 22,
2017, his public defender noticed that Plaintiff's name
was still on the MSI jail roster, and she verified with the
St. Louis City Sheriff's Office that Plaintiff was being
held because Plaintiff was subject to a hold issued by
Jefferson County, Missouri. Id. at 5-6.
Plaintiff's public defender then called the Jefferson
County court and was informed that no such hold had been
issued. Id. at 6.
after May 22, 2017, Plaintiff was transferred from MSI to the
Justice Center. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he
repeatedly informed various officers that he should be
released. Id. Upon being detained at the Justice
Center, Plaintiff asked two “unknown” Lieutenants
why he was being held, and was informed that he was subject
to a hold issued by Jefferson County. Id. Plaintiff
told them he was not subject to any such hold. Id.
Plaintiff was eventually released “on or after May 23,
2017.” Id. at 7.
alleges that for the duration of his stay at MSI he was
subjected to unconstitutionally poor conditions of
confinement. Id. at 7-8. He asserts that throughout
his confinement he endured leaking sewage, collapsing
ceilings, extreme hot and cold temperatures, visible mold,
outbreaks of scabies and lice, infestations of mice, rats,
snakes, spiders and raccoons, and exposed asbestos.
alleges that Defendant Gardner has a responsibility to
communicate the dismissal of criminal charges to those with
direct custody over people incarcerated by the City to ensure
the immediate release of innocent citizens. Id. at
8. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant has the
responsibility to set policies, direct staff training, and
establish patterns or practices of the City of St. Louis with
respect to the incarceration and release of innocent citizens
and people who are subject to release because they have
completed their sentences, and that Defendant knowingly
failed in these responsibilities, thus causing Plaintiff to
be wrongfully incarcerated and wrongfully punished.
Id. at 9.
further alleges that, aside from him, other people residing
in corrections institutions in St. Louis City were unlawfully
detained after charges had been dropped against them, and
that the Office of the Missouri State Public Defender System
informed all Defendants that this was the case. Id.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' actions caused him
physical harm and severe emotional distress. Id. at
complaint contains 10 counts: Fourth Amendment, due process,
and state-law false imprisonment claims, arising out of his
eight-day wrongful incarceration and asserted against Betts,
Carson, Deeken, Gardner, Glass, and certain of the unknown
Defendants (Counts I, II, and IV); a due process claim
arising out of his conditions of confinement and asserted
against Carson, Deeken, and Glass (Count III); supervisory
claims asserted against all Defendants for failure to
establish policies, failure to properly train staff, and
establishing a pattern or practice with respect to wrongful
incarceration of citizens (Counts V, VI, and VII); and
supervisory claims against the City of St. Louis, Betts,
Carson, Deeken, Glass, and an “unknown”
Sheriff's employee with respect to safe and sanitary
conditions of confinement for pretrial detainees (Counts
VIII, IX, and X). In Counts I, II, and IV, Plaintiff alleges
that the named Defendants “knew or should have known
that Plaintiff was wrongfully imprisoned” and that
these Defendants were “directly responsible for
depriving Plaintiff of his freedom.” Id. at
13-14. As the claims related to conditions of confinement
(Counts III, VIII, IX, and X) are not directed against
Defendant Gardner, the Court will not address those claims in
this Order. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive
damages, attorney's fees and costs.