United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Rodney Brown (“Brown”) filed this action claiming
that Defendants violated his constitutional rights under 42
U.S.C §1983 in addition to Missouri state law
violations. The matter is before the Court on Motions to
Dismiss made by three Defendants: the City of St. Louis [Doc.
No. 27], Defendants Matthew Boettigheimer, Joseph Steiger,
Steven Korte, and Phil Harden (collectively referred herein
as “Defendant Officers”), collectively [Doc. No.
29], and Donald J. Trump [Doc. No. 40]. Defendant City of St.
Louis moves to dismiss Count V of Plaintiff's First
Amended Complaint (“FAC”). Defendants
Boettigheimer, Steiger, Korte, and Harden all move to dismiss
Count III of the FAC. Defendant Trump moves for a full
dismissal of all counts against him. Plaintiff opposes the
Motions. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to
Dismiss by the Defendant Officers is granted, the Motion to
Dismiss by the City of St. Louis is granted in part and
denied in part, and the Motion to Dismiss by Defendant Trump
purpose of the motions to dismiss, Plaintiff's
allegations are taken as true. The essential facts alleged in
the FAC are as follows:
March 11, 2016 Plaintiff attended a campaign rally for
then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, held at the
Peabody Opera House. Brown was not a supporter of Trump.
During the course of the rally, Brown was removed by the
Defendant police officers and arrested for general peace
disturbance. On April 6, 2016, the City of St. Louis filed
formal charges against Brown for peace disturbance under
Section 15.46.030 of the St. Louis City Municipal Ordinance
Code. Brown was acquitted of all charges on September 18,
of the FAC alleges Unlawful Seizure/False Arrest pursuant to
42 U.S.C. §1983 against all individual Defendants. Count
II alleges Malicious Prosecution pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§1983 against all individual Defendants. Count III
alleges Conspiracy to Violate Plaintiff's Civil Rights
under §1983. Count IV alleges Retaliation for Exercise
of First Amendment Rights in Violation of First and
Fourteenth Amendments pursuant to the U.S. Constitution and
§1983. Count V alleges a Monell claim for
Violations of First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the
Constitution and §1983. Count VI alleges False Arrest
under Missouri law. Count VII alleges Malicious Prosecution
under Missouri law. Count VIII alleges Retaliation for
Exercise of Freedom of Speech and Right to Peaceable Assembly
in Violation of Article I, Section 8 and 9 of the Missouri
purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim is to test the legal sufficiency of a complaint
so as to eliminate those actions “which are fatally
flawed in their legal premises and deigned to fail, thereby
sparing the litigants the burden of unnecessary pretrial and
trial activity.” Young v. City of St. Charles,
244 F.3d 623, 627 (8th Cir. 2001) (citing
Neitzke v. Willaims, 490 U.S. 319, 326-27 (1989)).
To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint
must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The Court
must “accept the allegations contained in the complaint
as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
nonmoving party.” Id. However,
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” will
not be enough. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
III-Conspiracy to Violate Civil Rights
claims that the Defendant Officers and Trump are liable under
42 U.S.C §1983 for conspiracy. Plaintiff alleges that
they conspired in his arrest, charge, and prosecution. To
prove a conspiracy claim, a plaintiff must show: (1) that the
defendant conspired with others to deprive him of his
constitutional rights; (2) that at least one of the alleged
co-conspirators engaged in an overt act in furtherance of the
conspiracy; and (3) that the overt act injured the plaintiff.
White v. McKinley, 519 F.3d 806, 814 (8th Cir. 2008)
citing Askew v. Millerd, F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir.
argues that he has alleged sufficient facts to satisfy each
of the elements of a §1983 conspiracy claim against all
individual defendants. The existence of a civil conspiracy
requires plaintiff to proffer “evidence of specific
facts that show a ‘meeting of minds' among
conspirators.” Barstad v. Murray, 420 F.3d
880, 887 (8th Cir. 2005). There must be enough facts
“to suggest the defendants reached some understanding
to violate constitutional rights.” City of Omaha
Emps. Bettermen Ass'n v. City of Omaha, 883 F.2d
650, 652 (8th Cir. 1989). The FAC fails to allege how
Defendant Officers and Defendant Trump reached a
“meeting of the minds” in order to violate the
constitutional rights of Plaintiff. In reference to
Plaintiff, Defendant Trump uttered the phrase “Get him
out of here!” and motioned for Plaintiff to be removed
from the premises. Plaintiff was removed from the premises.
The pleading fails to set out how then-candidate Trump, a
non-state actor, would have control over municipal
violations. The FAC fails to show how Defendant Trump, with
his request for removal of Plaintiff, and accomplished by
Defendant Officers Boettigheimer and Korte, was in conspiracy
with the other named Defendants to ultimately lead to an
arrest and prosecution with the goal of depriving Plaintiff
of his constitutional rights.
allegations alleged in Count III of the First Amended
Complaint are insufficient to support a claim of civil
conspiracy under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Count III will be
V-Monell Claim for First, Fourth, Fourteenth