United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon review of plaintiff Michael
McAfee's second amended complaint. For the reasons
explained below, the Court will partially dismiss the second
amended complaint, and issue process upon defendants
Frederick Lemons and Jesse Meindhart in their individual
background of this case is fully set forth in the prior
orders of the Court. However, following is a brief
recitation. Plaintiff is a Missouri state prisoner who is
proceeding herein pro se and in forma pauperis. He initiated this
civil action on September 4, 2018 by filing a complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against “Clayton
County Justice Center” and University City police
detectives Frederick Lemons and Jesse Meindhart. The
complaint focused upon alleged beatings perpetrated by Lemons
and Meindhart during a custodial interrogation in Arizona in
March of 2015. However, plaintiff's allegations failed to
state a plausible claim for relief against either defendant.
The complaint also appeared to assert unrelated claims
against additional defendants, and plaintiff attempted to
assert even more unrelated claims in a supplemental document.
The Court gave plaintiff the opportunity to file an amended
complaint to set forth all of his claims for relief. In so
doing, the Court gave plaintiff clear instructions about how
to conform his amended complaint to the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, including Rule 20(a)(2) and Rule 18(a).
filed an amended complaint, but upon initial review the Court
determined it was defective for many of the same reasons as
the original. While the complaint focused upon the same
alleged beatings by Lemons and Meindhart, those claims were
obscured in an unnecessarily long pleading and supplemental
pleading, both of which contained a great deal of unnecessary
and irrelevant information. Additionally, plaintiff offered
inconsistent allegations concerning when the beatings
occurred, and he again attempted to assert unrelated claims
against additional defendants. More specifically, plaintiff
alleged wrongdoing on the part of two “court
escorts” in St. Louis, Missouri in November of 2016,
and he stated he received inadequate medical care while
incarcerated in both Arizona and St. Louis. The Court again
gave plaintiff the opportunity to amend his pleading, again
giving him clear instructions about how to conform his
pleading to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including
Rules 20(a)(2) and Rule 18(a). Plaintiff has now filed a
second amended complaint, which the Court reviews pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915.
Second Amended Complaint
brings the second amended complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against University City police detectives
Frederick Lemons and Jesse Meindhart; St. Louis County
Justice Center employees John Doe Escort #1, John Doe Escort
#2, and Captain Tressell; and “Arizona Correctional
Officers.” Plaintiff states he sues the defendants in
their official and individual capacities.
first alleges that, on or about March 28, 2015 in Arizona,
Lemons and Meindhart questioned him in connection with a
murder. During the questioning, plaintiff did not answer the
way Lemons wanted him to, so Lemons punched plaintiff in his
eyes and head. After this, Meindhart punched plaintiff in his
face and the side and back of his head. Plaintiff was afraid
and asked the detectives to give him until the next day, but
they said no. Plaintiff alleges he made up a story for the
detectives because he was scared, and that he “was
overborned [sic] by physical beating so he decided
to make up a story to save his life.” Plaintiff also
alleges that Meindhart “told plaintiff he had to say .
. . he shot victim or they won't believe it.”
plaintiff alleges that, on or about November 2 or 3, 2016
during his criminal trial in St. Louis, the two John Doe
defendants beat him, and Captain Tressell watched without
intervening. Next, plaintiff alleges that, on or about March
29, 2015 in Arizona, four Arizona correctional officers woke
him and put him in a cell with a concrete bed and no toilet,
and a drain that smelled of urine. Finally, plaintiff alleges
that, a few days later, an Arizona officer poked him in his
chest and, using profanity, told him to not start anything.
Plaintiff states he does not remember the names of the
Arizona officers, but would recognize their faces.
clear that plaintiff's primary claims are those against
Lemons and Meindhart. Liberally construed, plaintiff's
allegations that these defendants used excessive force
against him and coerced his confession during a custodial
interrogation in March of 2015 sufficiently state plausible
claims for relief against them in their individual
capacities. Therefore, these claims will be allowed to
proceed. However, plaintiff's official capacity claims
against Lemons and Meindhart will be dismissed, without
prejudice. Naming a government official in his official
capacity is the equivalent of naming the government entity
that employs him, which in this case is the University City
Police Department. See Will v. Michigan Dept. of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). Municipal departments,
such as police departments, are not suable entities under
§ 1983. Ketchum v. City of West Memphis, Ark.,
974 F.2d 81, 82 (1992). Additionally, the second amended
complaint fails to state a claim of municipal liability.
See Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of City of New
York, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978).
claims against John Doe Escort #1, John Doe Escort #2, and
Captain Tressell will also be dismissed, without prejudice.
Plaintiff claims that these defendants committed wrongdoing
while he was incarcerated in the St. Louis County Justice
Center in St. Louis in November of 2016. However,
plaintiff's claims against these defendants do not arise
out of the same transaction or occurrence, or series of
transactions or occurrences, as plaintiff's claims
against Lemons and Meindhart, nor is there a question of law
or fact common to all these defendants. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 20(a)(2). As noted above, the Court repeatedly
cautioned plaintiff that he was required to follow Rule
20(a)(2). However, plaintiff has failed to do so. The Court
therefore concludes that it would be futile to give plaintiff
another opportunity to amend his pleading, and will dismiss
plaintiff's claims against John Doe Escort #1, John Doe
Escort #2, and Captain Tressell, without prejudice. See
Id. Nothing in this Memorandum and Order shall be
construed as preventing plaintiff from bringing claims
against these defendants in a separate civil action.
claims against “Arizona Correctional Officers”
will also be dismissed. First, as with plaintiff's claims
against the Doe defendants and Captain Tressell,
plaintiff's claims against “Arizona Correctional
Officers” do not arise out the same transaction or
occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences, as his
claims against Lemons and Meindhart, nor is there a question
of law or fact common to these defendants. See Id.
Additionally, plaintiff has failed to make sufficiently
specific allegations against “Arizona Correctional
Officers” to permit their identification after
reasonable discovery. See Munz v. Parr, 758 F.2d
1254, 1257 (8th Cir. 1985). For these reasons, plaintiffs
claims against “Arizona Correctional Officers”
will be dismissed, without prejudice. Nothing in this
Memorandum and Order shall be construed as preventing
plaintiff from bringing claims against these defendants in a
separate civil action.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs
official capacity claims against Frederick Lemons and Jesse