United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
JOHNNY M. ESPARZA, Plaintiff,
DIANE MANLEY, et al., Defendants,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
W. SIPPEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the motion of defendants
Zackary Driskell, Diane Manley, Derek Bouse, Monty Wright,
and Crawford County, by and through counsel, for partial
judgment on the pleadings. (Docket No. 32). For the reasons
discussed below, the Court will grant defendants’
the pleadings are closed, a party may move for judgment on
the pleadings. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). A motion for judgment on
the pleadings is reviewed “under the same standard used
to address a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).” Clemons v.
Crawford, 585 F.3d 1119, 1124 (8th Cir.
state a claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim
for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of
misconduct.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
679 (2009). “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.” Id. at 678. The
court must “accept as true the facts alleged, but not
legal conclusions or threadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements.” Barton v. Taber, 820 F.3d 958,
964 (8th Cir. 2016). See also Brown v. Green
Tree Servicing LLC, 820 F.3d 371, 372-73 (8th
Cir. 2016) (stating that court must accept factual
allegations in complaint as true, but is not required to
“accept as true any legal conclusion couched as a
filed a pro se civil complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 on May 18, 2018, naming as defendants the Crawford
County Sheriff’s Department and Diane Manley. (Docket
No. 1). Along with the complaint, plaintiff also filed a
motion to appoint counsel. (Docket No. 4). The complaint
generally alleged that defendants had not allowed him to use
his electronic voice box while incarcerated at the Crawford
County Jail. Without the voice box, plaintiff was unable to
August 15, 2018, the Court granted plaintiff’s motion
for appointment of counsel. (Docket No. 6). The Court noted
that plaintiff had stated serious allegations and believed
that he could benefit from legal assistance. Appointed
counsel was directed to file an amended complaint.
filed an amended complaint on December 7, 2018. (Docket No.
13). The amended complaint named the Crawford County
Sheriff’s Department, Diane Manley, Zackary Driskell,
Derek Bouse, and Monty E. as defendants. Defendants filed a
motion to dismiss the Crawford County Sheriff’s
Department pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Docket No.
24). Plaintiff responded by filing a second amended petition
terminating the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department,
and naming as defendants Derek Bouse, Zackary Driskell, Monty
Wright, Diane Manley, and “K – Badge #757.”
(Docket No. 27). Defendants were sued in both their official
and individual capacities.
March 1, 2019, defendants filed an answer to
plaintiff’s second amended complaint. (Docket No. 30).
On March 22, 2019, defendants filed a motion for partial
judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c).
(Docket No. 32). Defendants also filed a memorandum in
support of their motion. (Docket No. 33). Plaintiff filed a
memorandum in opposition to defendants’ motion on April
19, 2019. (Docket No. 37). Defendant’s reply was filed
on May 3, 2019. (Docket No. 40).
Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings
motion seeks judgment on several claims. (Docket No. 32 at
2). First, defendants Driskell, Manley, Bouse, and Wright
seek to have their official capacity claims dismissed as
duplicative, as Crawford County is also named as a defendant
in the action. Second, defendants seek judgment on the
pleadings with regard to the failure to supervise claim in
Count IV, because plaintiff has failed to state a claim.
Finally, defendants seek judgment on the pleadings on the
failure to protect claim in Count V, regarding black mold
exposure, because plaintiff has failed to allege an
unconstitutional condition of confinement and has failed to
establish defendants’ liability.
noted above, defendants seek judgment on the pleadings with
regards to the official capacity claims against defendants
Driskell, Manley, Bouse, and Wright; the failure to supervise
claim in Count IV; and the failure to protect claim in Count
V. For the reasons ...