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Fortenberry v. City of St. Louis

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

March 18, 2019

TRACY FORTENBERRY, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF ST. LOUIS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JEAN C. HAMILTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 7). This motion if fully briefed and ready for disposition.

         BACKGROUND

         On November 19, 2016, Plaintiff Fortenberry alleges that she told an out-of-state friend that she had taken extra anxiety medication for stress. (Amended Complaint, ECF No. 6 ¶ 14). Later that evening, Defendants, Officers Collier and West (collectively “officer defendants”), arrived at Plaintiff's home reporting that they had “heard there was an accident.” Id., at ¶17. Plaintiff believed that her call to her friend prompted the defendant's to visit. Id., at ¶ 18. Plaintiff and her then-wife explained that there was no accident and answered a few questions from the officer defendants who looked around the home and left. Id., ¶¶ 19-20. Ninety (90) minutes later, officer defendants returned to Plaintiff's home with medical technicians. Id. at ¶ 21. Plaintiff showed the technicians her prescription bottle and explained that she had taken the allowable dosage hours earlier. Id. at ¶ 22.

         Plaintiff alleges that while she was speaking to the medical technicians, she overheard the officer defendants making derogatory comments about her same-sex marriage. (ECF No. 6, at ¶ 23). The medical technicians called their supervisor, Dr. Polites at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, but did not relay information about Plaintiff's dosage. Id., ¶¶ 25-26. Officer defendants then told Plaintiff that she had to go to the hospital for evaluation. Id., at ¶ 27. Plaintiff asked to see documentation mandating her removal, officer defendants allegedly did not provide such documentation. Id., ¶¶ 29-30. Plaintiff then boarded an ambulance unrestrained but when the ambulance stopped at a red light, the Plaintiff exited the ambulance. Id., ¶¶ 32-35. Plaintiff walked to the side of the road intending to walk home. Id., at ¶ 36. Officer defendants arrived at the scene soon thereafter. Id., at ¶ 37.

         Plaintiff alleges that one of the defendants started screaming at the Plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 38. In response to the defendant's alleged tone, the Plaintiff grew anxious and advised the defendants that their actions were triggering symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Id., ¶¶ 39-42. Plaintiff alleges that the officer defendants each grabbed one of Plaintiff's arms and forced her to the ground onto her back. Id., ¶¶ 48-50. Plaintiff alleges that the officer defendants then flipped the Plaintiff over onto her stomach, causing her elbow to crack. Id., ¶¶ 51-52. Plaintiff alleges that the officer defendants ignored her screams and handcuffed her hands behind her back. Id. at ¶ 56. Plaintiff alleges that she told the officer defendants that she was in pain, but the officer defendants shackled her to the ambulance's stretcher. Id., ¶¶ 57, 61. Plaintiff had her broken arm treated at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Id., ¶¶ 62-65. Plaintiff has undergone four surgeries for her elbow to remove bone fragments, repair ligaments and tendons and reposition nerves, resulting in possible irreversible nerve damage. Id. at ¶ 70-75.

         Plaintiff raises the following claims:

I. Count I - Action under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for the violation of Plaintiff's right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments against Officer Defendants.
II. Count II - Action under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for the violation of Plaintiff's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments for Officer Defendants use of excessive force.
III. Count III - Action under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for conspiracy to deprive civil rights against Officer Defendants.
IV. Count IV - Action under 42 U.S.C. §1983 based on municipal liability against Defendant City for failure to train, failure to discipline, failure to supervise, and for a custom of conducting unreasonable seizures and using excessive force.
V. Count V - Missouri State Law claim for assault against all Defendants
VI. Count VI - Missouri State Law claim for Battery against all Defendants
VII. Count VII - Missouri State Law claim for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress against all Defendants
VIII. Count VIII - Missouri State Law claim for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress against all Defendants

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Allegations are to be “simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). ...


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