United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ERIC L. GOODWIN, Plaintiff,
VILLAGE OF OAKVIEW, MISSOURI, et al., Defendants.
ORDER AND OPINION (1) GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS, AND (2) DENYING AS
MOOT DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STAY
D. SMITH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SENIOR JUDGE
are Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #5) and
Defendants' Motion to Stay Case (Doc. #7). For the
following reasons, Defendants' motion to dismiss is
granted in part and denied in part, and Defendants'
motion to stay is denied as moot.
2016, Plaintiff Eric L. Goodwin was charged with assault by
spitting, a violation of Defendant Village of Oakview,
Missouri's (“Oakview”) municipal code. Doc.
#3, ¶ 18. Defendant Stuart Wieland, an attorney in
private practice who also serves as an Oakview prosecutor,
was responsible for prosecuting the charge. Id.
¶¶ 2, 10, 20. During Plaintiff's initial
appearance, Wieland was ready to proceed with trial, and the
Municipal Court asked Plaintiff for his plea. Id.
¶ 20. Plaintiff responded by stating he should be read
the charge and notified of his right to counsel. Id.
Plaintiff was arraigned and read his rights, and Plaintiff
informed the Court that he would hire an attorney.
Id. ¶ 24. At Plaintiff's second appearance,
Wieland presented an order for fingerprinting. Id.
¶¶ 25-26. Plaintiff did not consent to
fingerprinting. Id. ¶ 28. The Municipal Court
directed Plaintiff to submit to fingerprinting or go to jail.
Id. ¶ 29. Plaintiff chose to be fingerprinted.
Id. ¶ 30.
Plaintiff demanded a jury trial, the case was transferred to
the Circuit Court of Clay County, Missouri. Id.
¶¶ 32-33; Oakview v. Goodwin, No.
16CY-CR05443. The Circuit Court determined Wieland had a
conflict of interest, and he informed the Circuit Court that
he would recuse from the matter. Doc. #3, ¶¶ 36-39.
Roughly one month before trial, Oakview dismissed the charge
against Plaintiff without prejudice. Id.
¶¶ 40-41. At the same time, Wieland forwarded the
case to the Clay County Sheriffs Department for
investigation, but Clay County later declined to prosecute
Plaintiff. Id. ¶¶ 42, 45.
April 2017, Oakview again charged Plaintiff for assault by
spitting. Id. ¶ 46. At Plaintiffs initial
appearance on the second charge, Wieland appeared on
Oakview's behalf and asked to proceed with trial.
Id. ¶ 47. Plaintiff was granted a continuance
to hire an attorney. Id. ¶ 48. Plaintiff
demanded a jury trial, and the matter was transferred to the
Circuit Court. Id. ¶ 49; Oakview v.
Goodwin, No. 17CY-MU00087. Plaintiff requested
discovery, including the Sheriffs Department's
investigative report, which was produced to him days before
trial was set to begin. Doc. #3, ¶¶ 50,
55-58. He took the deposition of the victim of the alleged
crime, Laura Hill, who is also a member of the Oakview Board
of Trustees. Id. ¶ 52. During her deposition,
Hill could not explain why her description of the alleged
suspect did not match the pictures taken of Plaintiff on the
day of the alleged crime. Id. ¶¶ 53-54. At
some point, Oakview asked Plaintiff not to bring an action
against Hill. Id. ¶ 59. Plaintiff refused and
asked to proceed to trial. Id. In December 2017,
Oakview dismissed the second charge. Id. ¶ 60.
January 2019, Plaintiff filed this matter alleging Oakview,
Wieland, Oakview Police Chief Carl Drowns, Oakview Police
Officer Ashraf Alasmar, and the members of the Oakview Board
of Trustees (i.e., Aarin McClelland, Melissa Boyles, Michael
Dornhoffer, Bill Mumford, Barry Robertson, Gary Crispin, and
Hill) violated his constitutional rights. He also contends
they falsely imprisoned him, maliciously prosecuted him, and
negligently inflicted emotional distress. Doc. #3. Plaintiff
has incurred legal and other expenses, lost physical liberty,
was threatened with incarceration, and suffered physical,
emotional, and financial injuries. Id. ¶¶
61-62. Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiffs claims due to
lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a
claim, and also move to dismiss his request for injunctive
relief due to lack of standing. Doc. #5.
MOTION TO DISMISS
to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiffs common law claims
against Oakview and his official capacity claims against the
individual Defendants because they are barred by sovereign
immunity. When considering a facial challenge to
jurisdiction, the Court “restricts itself to the face
of the pleadings, and the non-moving party receives the same
protections as it would defending against a motion brought
under Rule 12(b)(6).” Carlsen v. GameStop,
Inc., 833 F.3d 903, 908 (8th Cir. 2016) (citation
omitted). A complaint should not be dismissed due to lack of
subject matter jurisdiction “unless it appears beyond
doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support
of his claim which would entitle him to relief.”
Osborn v. United States, 918 F.2d 724, 729
n.6 (8th Cir. 1990).
to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's remaining claims,
arguing he has failed to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. The liberal pleading standard created by the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). “Specific facts are not necessary; the
statement need only >give the defendant fair notice of
what the…claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Id. (citing Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). The Court Amust
accept as true all of the complaint's factual allegations
and view them in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff[
].” Stodghill v. Wellston Sch. Dist., 512 F.3d
472, 476 (8th Cir. 2008).
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. 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. The
plausibility standard is not akin to a probability
requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility
that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint
pleads facts that are merely consistent with a
defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
[A] court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin
by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.
While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a
complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.
When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court
should assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.
Id. at 679.
Civil Rights Claims
First, Second, and Fourth Claims, Plaintiff alleges
Defendants violated his rights under the First, Fourth,
Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Defendants move to
dismiss these claims on the grounds as discussed below.
Official Capacity Claims Against All Individual
move to dismiss Plaintiff's official capacity claims
against all individual Defendants. They argue Oakview is
already named as a Defendant, and thus, Plaintiff's
official capacity claims against Oakview's employees and
agents are redundant. Official-capacity suits are
“another way of pleading an action against an entity of
which an officer is an agent.” Kentucky v.
Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165-66 (1985) (quoting Monell
v. N.Y. City Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
690 n.55 (1978)). “[A] suit against a government
official in only his official capacity should be dismissed as
redundant if the employing entity is also named.”
King v. Crestwood, 899 F.3d 643, 650 (8th Cir.
is named as a Defendant, rendering official capacity claims
against its employees and agents redundant. Also, in response
to the pending motion, Plaintiff did not address
Defendants' argument for dismissal of these claims. By
failing to respond, Plaintiff tacitly waives an argument to
the contrary. See Satcher v. Univ. of Ark. at Pine Bluff
Bd. of Trs., 558 F.3d 731, 735 (8th Cir. 2009). Thus,
the Court grants Defendants' motion to dismiss the
official capacity claims against the individual Defendants.
Individual Capacity Claims Against Chief Drowns and Officer
move to dismiss Plaintiff's civil rights claims against
Drowns and Alasmar in their individual capacities because
they are entitled to qualified immunity. “Qualified
immunity protects public officials from § 1983 damage
actions if their conduct does not violate clearly established
statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable
person would have known.” Stanley v. Finnegan,
899 F.3d 623, 626-27 (8th Cir. 2018) (citations omitted).
When determining whether a defendant is entitled to dismissal
based upon qualified immunity, the court must consider
“(1) whether the official's conduct violated a
constitutional right; and (2) whether the violated right was