United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division
C. WIMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Cheri Toalson Reisch's motion to
dismiss. (Doc. #9). The Court, being duly advised of the
premises, denies said motion.
Mike Campbell brings a 42 U.S.C.§ 1983 claim against
Defendant, Missouri state representative Cheri Toalson
Reisch, alleging that Reish violated his First Amendment
rights by blocking him from commenting on her Twitter
account. Campbell seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.
the allegations of Campbell's first amended complaint
(Doc. #22),  Reisch is a State Representative for the
44th District of the Missouri House of Representatives.
Reisch uses a social media platform Twitter. Reisch has
operated a Twitter account under the handle
“@CheriMO44” since September 2015
(“Account”). Her Twitter profile states:
“Christian, MO State Rep 44th District, Mother,
is a social media platform owned and operated by Twitter,
Inc., with more than 300 million active users worldwide.
Twitter enables users to publish short messages to the
general public called “tweets, ” to republish or
respond to others' tweets, and to interact with other
users. Twitter users may “follow” other Twitter
users. A followed user's tweets automatically appear in
the following user's Twitter feed - a continually
updating scroll of new tweets from other users. A user may
comment on other users' tweets, or “retweet”
their tweets to her own followers. Twitter also enables its
users to block particular users from following their tweets.
A blocked user who attempts to follow the blocking user will
see a message informing the blocked user about the blocking.
a resident of Centralia, Missouri, is registered to vote in
Missouri's 44th district, for which Reisch
sits. Plaintiff is active on social media platforms,
including Twitter, which he uses to follow and comment on
posts by various state officials, including Reisch. Campbell
alleges that Reisch uses her Account to address her
constituents, tout her accomplishments as a state
representative, and promote her political agenda. Some
examples of such tweets alleged in the complaint include: (i)
a May 18, 2018 retweet of a message from House Speaker Todd
Richardson with the comment, “Thank you Mr. Speaker,
you are a true gentleman. We worked hard and got the job
done”; (ii) a May 23, 2018 tweet, “Great to have
Governor @EricGreitens & Hallsville Mayor at the NRA
Bianchi Cup today”; (iii) a June 13, 2018 tweet,
“Accomplished much in my 1st 2 years, ready for the
next 2.” Reisch also uses the account to tweet about
various subjects of personal interest to her.
22, 2018, Reisch tweeted about her appearance at a public
event, at which her political opponent in the November 6,
2018 general election, Maren Jones, also appeared. Resich
tweeted “Sad my opponent put her hands behind her back
during the Pledge.” On June 23, 2018, Representative
Kip Kendrick criticized Reisch's tweet by commenting,
“Maren's father was a Lieutenant in the Army. Two
of her brothers served in the military. I don't question
[Maren's] patriotism. That's a low blow and
unacceptable from a member of the Boone County
delegation.” Campbell retweeted Kendrick's
criticism in Reisch's Account. After this retweet, Reisch
permanently blocked Campbell from following or commenting on
also allegedly blocked dozens of other Twitter users from
seeing or commenting on her tweets, including many of her own
constituents in the 44th House District.
claims that such blocking is an impermissible viewpoint-based
restriction that violates his free speech rights under the
First and Fourteenth Amendments. In the instant motion,
Reisch moves the Court to dismiss Campbell's complaint
for insufficient pleading under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” “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
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
moves for dismissal of Campbell's § 1983 claim,
alleging that he failed to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, because he failed to properly allege
sufficient factual matter to plead both of the “under
the color of state law” and the
“deprivation” elements of the claim. Campbell
responds that his allegations as to both elements are
adequate under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(b).
The Motion to Dismiss is Denied.
state a § 1983 claim, Campbell must plead that (1)
“[he was] deprived of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States, ” and (2)
“the alleged deprivation was committed under color of