United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Motion of Defendant, the
City of Saint Louis Missouri, to dismiss or in the
alternative to strike filed February 14, 2019. (ECF No. 28).
The matter is fully briefed and ready for disposition.
September 15, 2017, the Circuit Court of the City of St.
Louis issued its findings and verdict in Stockley,
prompting some members of the public to engage in protest
activity around the St. Louis metropolitan area including
within the City of St. Louis. (ECF No. 21, ¶¶
12-17). The Protests concerned the verdict itself and broader
issues including racism in the criminal justice system and
the use of force by police officers against African-American
citizens. Id. ¶¶ 18-20. Most of the
protests were non-violent. Id. ¶ 23. “In
response to the protests, St. Louis Metropolitan police
officers amassed at several protests wearing military-like
tactical dress, helmets, batons, and full-body riot shields
and carrying chemical agents. Id. ¶ 21.
approximately 9:45 AM on the morning of September 15, 2017,
Plaintiff arrived downtown and gathered with other protesters
at the intersection of Tucker and Market streets.
Id. ¶ 36. After marching with protesters,
clergy and elected officials, Plaintiff returned to the
intersection of Tucker and Market, where she remained for two
hours. Id. ¶¶ 38-39. Plaintiff observed
SLMPD officers on bicycles. Id. ¶ 40. These
officers nearly knocked Plaintiff to the ground. Id.
Plaintiff needed to use the restroom, so she spoke with a St.
Louis City Alderman who suggested that Plaintiff use a
restroom inside City Hall. Id. ¶¶ 41-42.
When Plaintiff was done using the facilities, she exited city
hall on Clark Street. Id. ¶ 44. Plaintiff
witnessed officers use their bicycles to push protesters and
witnessed a woman being pepper sprayed but did not see
civilians commit any unlawful activity. Id.
¶¶ 47-49. Plaintiff was then, without warning,
pepper sprayed in the face by an unidentified SLMPD officer.
Id. ¶50. Plaintiff claims that she was not
engaged in unlawful activity at any time during her encounter
with police. Id. ¶ 52. Plaintiff asserts that
as a result of being sprayed, she experienced pain, burning
in her eye, mucus, and labored breathing that persisted for
24 hours. Id. ¶ 53. Plaintiff alleges that she
now fears future police retaliation. Id. ¶ 56.
asserts First Amendment (Count I), and excessive force (VI)
against the individual officers pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff also asserts § 1983 claims against the
City (Count II) alleging municipal liability for failure to
train and for an unconstitutional policy or custom. Finally,
Plaintiff asserts supplemental state-law claims alleging
assault (Count III), battery (Count VII), intentional
infliction and negligent infliction of emotional distress
(Counts IV and V), and battery (VIII).
City moves to dismiss the amended complaint for failure to
comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) “short and plain
statement” requirement and to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In
the alternative, Defendant moves to strike certain paragraphs
of the complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f) as immaterial or
impertinent. Specifically, the City moves to dismiss
Plaintiff's §1983 claims under 12(b)(6), asserting
that Plaintiff fails to state a cognizable claim for
municipal liability based on policy or custom.
to Dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) or in the Alternative
Motion to Strike
City moves to dismiss Plaintiff's amended complaint for
failure to comply with the “short and plain”
statement requirement of Rule 8(a), arguing that the amended
complaint contains inflammatory rhetoric. (ECF No. 29, at 2).
Specifically, the City objects to Plaintiff's allegations
concerning the Stockley verdict, the nature of the
public protests in response thereto, the prior orders of this
Court concerning SLMPD actions in response to public
protests, and the attachment of hearing transcript
documentation to the complaint. Id., at 3.
Alternatively, the City moves to strike these paragraphs
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f) as immaterial or impertinent.
other judges in the District have held with respect to the
same challenge in related cases, the Complaint's factual
allegations and supporting exhibits, to which the City
objects, are relevant to the Plaintiff's municipal
liability claim at a minimum. Laney v. City of St. Louis,
Mo., No. 4:18 CV 1575 CDP, 2019 WL 2423308, at *3 (E.D.
Mo. June 10, 2019); Altridge v. City of St. Louis,
Mo., No. 4:18 CV 1677 CAS, 2019 WL 1695982, at *4 (E.D.
Mo. Apr. 17, 2019). The Court therefore finds that dismissal
under Rule 8(a) or striking under Rule 12(f) is not
for Motion to Dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P.
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must view the
allegations in the Complaint in the light most favorable to
Plaintiff. Eckert v. Titan Tire Corp., 514 F.3d 801,
806 (8th Cir. 2008). The Court “must accept the
allegations contained in the complaint as true and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.”
Coons v. Mineta, 410 F.3d 1036, 1-39 (8th Cir.
2005)(citation omitted). The complaint's factual
allegations must be sufficient “to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level, ” and the motion to
dismiss must be granted if the complaint does not contain
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 520 (2007)(abrogating the
“no set of facts” standard for Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) found in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,
45-46 (1957)). Furthermore, “the tenet that a court
must accept as true all allegations contained in a complaint
is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of
the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 129 1937, 1949 (2009)(citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555 (pleading offering only “labels and
conclusions” or formulaic recitation of the elements of
a cause of action” will not do)).
§1983 Constitutional Violations ...