Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bumbales v. City of Vandalia

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

July 25, 2018

RAYMOND BUMBALES, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF VANDALIA, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JOHN M. BODENHAUSEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants City of Vandalia (“Vandalia”), Christopher Hammann (“Hammann”), Gabriel Jennings (“Jennings”), Robert Dunn (“Dunn”), John Weiser (“Weiser”), Dempsey Dixon (“Dixon”), Ralph Kuda (“Kuda”), Deborah Hopke (“Hopke”), Ramon Barnes (“Barnes”), Janet Turner (“Turner”), Teresa Wenzel (“Wenzel”), and W. Alan Winders' (“Winders”) (collectively Defendants) Partial Motion to Dismiss Count IV[1] of the First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 15). Plaintiffs Raymond Bumbales (“Bumbales”), William Parker (“Parker”), and William Jones (“Jones”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”) have filed a response in opposition and the issues are fully briefed. The parties consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the partial motion to dismiss.

         I. Background

         According to the allegations in the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs were police officers employed by Vandalia, a fourth-class city located in Audrain County, Missouri. (Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint, ECF No. 13 at ¶¶ 21-23) Plaintiffs allege that Defendants Hamman, Jennings, Dunn, Weiser, Dixon, Kuda, Hopke, Barnes, Turner, Wenzel, Elkins, and Winders were all either employees of Vandalia, members of the Vandalia board of alderman, or the mayor. (Id. at ¶¶ 5-19)

         In Count IV of the First Amended Complaint, styled Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy, directed to all Defendants except Donald Elkins, Plaintiffs purport to state a claim for wrongful termination against public policy. (Id. at ¶¶ 25-27, 136-46) Plaintiffs allege that they were employed by Defendants as police officers with the Vandalia Police Department. (Id. at ¶ 137) Bumbales and Parker allege that their employment was terminated because they reported wrongdoings and violations of law committed by Chase Waggoner (“Waggoner”) and they filed EEOC complaints. (Id. at ¶¶ 138, 140-41) Jones alleges that his employment was terminated because he reported wrongdoings and violations of law committed by Waggoner as well as reporting instances of national origin and disability discrimination to his supervisors. (Id. at ¶ 142)

         Defendants filed a partial motion to dismiss Count IV, arguing that (1) the individual Defendants are not employers for purposes of a wrongful termination claim, (2) Vandalia is entitled to sovereign immunity, and (3) Plaintiffs' claim in Count IV is preempted by the Missouri Whistleblower's Protection Act (“WPA”), Mo. Rev. Stat. § 285.575, a recently enacted statute prohibiting such claims against governmental entities.

         In response, Plaintiffs oppose the requested retroactive application of § 285.575 to their wrongful termination claim in Count IV.

         In their reply, Defendants note that Plaintiffs did not oppose their partial motion to dismiss as to that their claim against Vandalia being barred by sovereign immunity and the individual Defendants not being employers for purposes of a wrongful termination claim.

         II. Legal Standard

         The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The factual allegations of a complaint are assumed true and construed in favor of the plaintiff, “even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable, ” Bell v. Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007) (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 508 n.1 (2002)); Neitzke v. Williams. 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989) (“Rule 12(b)(6) does not countenance … dismissals based on a judge's disbelief of a complaint's factual allegations.”); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974) (stating that a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even it if appears “that a recovery is very remote and unlikely.”). The issue is not whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail, but whether the plaintiff is entitled to present evidence in support of his claim. Scheuer, 416 U.S. at 236. A viable complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-84 (2009) (holding that the pleading standard set forth in Twombly applies to all civil actions). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         III. Allegations in the First Amended Complaint

         For purposes of the motion now before the Court, the record set forth in the First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 13) establishes the following facts:[2]

         Defendants Hamman, Jennings, Dunn, Weiser, Dixon, Kuda, Hopke, Barnes, Turner, Wenzel, Elkins, and Winders were all either employees of Vandalia, members of the Vandalia board of alderman, or the mayor. (Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint, ECF No. 13 at ¶¶ 5-19) Plaintiffs allege that Vandalia was their employer and that Vandalia terminated or constructively discharged Bumbales' employment on April 25, 2017, and terminated Jones and Parker's employment April 12, 2017. (Id. at ¶¶ 21-26, 27-29) Plaintiffs allege that “[t]he events giving rise to this cause of action predated the recent legislative revisions to the Missouri Human Rights Act, which went into effect on August 28, 2017.”[3] (Id. at ¶ 26 n.1)

         Plaintiffs were employed as police officers with the Vandalia Police Department. (Id. at ¶ 137) Bumbales and Parker allege that their employment was terminated because they reported wrongdoings and violations of law committed by Waggoner and they filed EEOC complaints. (Id. at ΒΆΒΆ 138, 140-41) Jones alleges that his employment was terminated because he reported wrongdoings and violations of law committed by Waggoner ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.