United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
D. NOCE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is the joint motion of defendants City of St. Louis
and Christopher Tanner to stay this action or for an
extension of time to file a response to plaintiff Milton
Green's complaint. (Doc. 13.)
complaint plaintiff alleges that on June 21, 2017, he, when
off-duty as a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer, was shot
and seriously wounded by defendant Christopher Tanner, a
fellow St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer. (Doc. 1 at
3-4.) Plaintiff alleges defendant Tanner violated
plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be
free from unreasonable seizure and the use of excessive
force. (Id. at 1.) Plaintiff alleges that defendant
City of St. Louis ratified Tanner's unconstitutional
conduct through a “custom of unreasonable seizures and
excessive force and its failure to train and supervise its
further alleges that defendant Tanner shot him in the arm,
seriously wounding him and causing permanent damage.
(Id. at 5.) Plaintiff alleges that after two years
he remains on disability leave and suffers substantial pain,
injury, economic distress, and family trauma. Further, his
pension claim has not been decided by the pension board for
nearly two years. (Id. at 7.)
brings this action for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
with subject matter jurisdiction granted by 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 and 1343(a)(3), and under Missouri law with
subject matter jurisdiction granted by 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
alleges claims for relief, under: (1) § 1983 for
constitutionally unreasonable seizure, against defendant
Tanner (Count 1); (2) § 1983 for constitutionally
excessive force, against defendant Tanner (Count 2); (3)
§ 1983 against defendant City of St. Louis for
constitutionally unreasonable seizure, excessive force, and
failure to train and supervise (Count 3); (4) Missouri law
for battery against all defendants (Count 4); and, (5)
Missouri law for negligent infliction of emotional distress
against all defendants (Count 5). (Id. at 8-12.)
support of their joint motion to stay this action, defendants
argue, on March 27, 2019, plaintiff filed a claim for
workers' compensation arising out of the June 21, 2017
incident, several months before plaintiff commenced this
federal judicial action on June 17, 2019. Defendants'
primary arguments for a stay of these proceedings are that
the determination of the facts regarding the June 21 incident
by the Missouri Division of Workers' Compensation
(“Commission”) “will likely have preclusive
effect on these [federal judicial] proceedings, ” and
permitting this judicial action to proceed could result in
plaintiff receiving double recovery. Conversely, plaintiff
argues that the Commission's findings will have no
bearing on his federal claims and the resolution of the
workers' compensation claim will likely occur before any
trial in this matter. The Court may take any reasonable step,
by appropriate jury instruction or otherwise, to avoid an
unlawful multiple recovery.
Commission lacks jurisdiction over any federal claim, since
recovery under the Missouri workers' compensation statute
is not the exclusive remedy for work-related injuries, and
the determination cannot bar an employee from seeking relief
under a federal cause of action. See Donnelly v. St.
John's Mercy Medical Center, 635 F.Supp.2d 970,
988-99 (E.D. Mo. 2009) (citing Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee
Corp., 464 U.S. 238, 248 (1984)). Moreover, state
legislatures did not enact workers' compensation schemes
to displace federal laws. Id. at 988.
argues that the Commission's determination may preempt
the plaintiff's two state law claims, battery and
negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Supreme Court
held that the issuance of a stay of a proceeding in federal
court during a pendency of a similar matter in the state is
an “extraordinary and narrow exception to the duty of a
district court to adjudicate a controversy properly before
it.” Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v.
United States, 424 U.S. 800, 813 (1976). Further, the
Commission is designed to answer questions of causation and
work relatedness regarding the workers compensation claim,
superseding the right to trial by jury within its limited
procedural constraints. See generally Bresnahan v. May
Dept. Stores Co., 726 S.W.2d 327 (Mo. 1987) (en banc).
this Court notes plaintiff's demand for a jury. To the
extent the Commission makes a final determination on the now
pending workers' compensation claim, the Court can
consider any preclusive effect on the state law claims.
Therefore, a mere pending determination by the Commission, a
state administrative agency, does not provide a substantial
basis for staying this action.
reasons stated above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
that the defendants' joint motion to stay these
proceedings (Doc. 13) is denied.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants' joint motion
for an extension of time to file an answer or other
responsive pleading (Doc. 13) is sustained.
Defendants have until Octo ...