United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant City of St.
Louis's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended
Complaint, filed October 7, 2019. (ECF No. 33). The motion is
fully briefed and ready for disposition.
Glenn Rippley originally filed this action against the City
of St. Louis, Missouri (“City”) and the St. Louis
Metropolitan Police Department on April 25, 2019, in the
Southern District of Illinois. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff raised
two distinct issues in separate counts. In his first count,
Plaintiff alleged he was denied a jury trial on three traffic
violations incurred in November, 2018. In his second count,
Plaintiff raised several issues regarding a possible rape
conviction stemming from a May, 2017 incident. On June 20,
2019, the Honorable J. Phil Gilbert, Senior United States
District Judge in the Southern District of Illinois,
transferred the action to this Court. (ECF No. 6). The case
originally was assigned to United States Magistrate Judge
Noelle C. Collins, but was transferred to the undersigned on
July 2, 2019. (ECF No. 10).
10, 2019, Plaintiff filed a proposed Amended Complaint. (ECF
No. 17). In Count I of his proposed Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff restated his claim that he was denied a jury trial
on three traffic violations incurred in November, 2018.
Plaintiff further alleged both race and age discrimination.
As relief, Plaintiff sought the “expungement of all
police reports of the 3 traffic tickets and the dissmissal
(sic) of all three traffic tickets removed from my Missouri
police record.” (Id., P. 16).
Count II of his proposed Amended Complaint, Plaintiff
restated his claims regarding a possible rape conviction
stemming from a May, 2017 incident. (ECF No. 13-1). Plaintiff
claimed that as a result of Defendants' actions, he has
suffered “irreversable (sic) financial damages, and
slander of his good name and is on record as a felony rape
offender when Plaintiff is innocent of all charges.”
(Id., P. 4). As relief, Plaintiff sought $50, 000.00
in actual damages, for the “legal destruction of his
livelyhood (sic)”, and $50, 000.00 in punitive damages.
(Id.). Plaintiff further requested “a federal
order for the relief of expungement of all criminal records
of this event and any other charges or reports made on the
criminal record of Plaintiff Glenn Austin Rippley.”
August 2, 2019, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and Supplemental Complaint,
asserting Plaintiff failed to state a claim for which relief
may be granted. (ECF No. 23). In an Order entered September
18, 2019, the Court noted that because Plaintiff was seeking
both money damages and to vacate and expunge his convictions,
his action was a hybrid of sorts, in which he sought relief
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the federal civil rights
statute, and under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, the federal habeas
corpus statute. (ECF No. 29). The Court stated it would not
allow Plaintiff to proceed under both statutes simultaneously
in one action. Because Plaintiff originally filed his action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Court presumed he
wished to continue to proceed in this action under that
section. It therefore ordered Plaintiff to amend his
complaint on a Court-provided form, with only his civil
rights claims for monetary damages. The Court warned Plaintiff
it was not a court of appeals for state court criminal
convictions, and thus Plaintiff could not seek expungement
and dismissal of his traffic tickets and/or other charges
through a § 1983 action. See Id., P. 4 n. 3
(citing Postma v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan, 74
F.3d 160, 162 (8th Cir. 1996)). The Court further
cautioned that in order to state a claim against a
municipality, such as St. Louis City, or a government
official in his or her official capacity, Plaintiff must
allege that a policy or custom of the governmental entity was
responsible for the alleged constitutional violation. See
Id., P. 4 n. 4 (citing Monell v. Department of
Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978)). Finally,
to the extent Plaintiff sought monetary damages allegedly
resulting from his convictions in his proposed Amended
Complaint, he was reminded that “[a] prisoner may not
recover damages in a § 1983 suit where the judgment
would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction,
continued imprisonment or sentence unless the conviction or
sentence is reversed, expunged or called into question by
issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.” See Id.,
P. 5 n. 5 (quoting Winters v. Lytle, 2019 WL
2525782, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Jun. 19, 2019) (citing Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994); Schafer v.
Moore, 46 F.3d 43, 45 (8th Cir. 1995))).
filed his Second Amended Complaint on September 23, 2019,
naming as Defendants the City of St. Louis and Andre L.
Smith. (ECF No. 30). In Count I of his Second
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff again alleges he was denied a
jury trial on three traffic violations incurred in November,
2018, and further asserts the deprivation was due to race
discrimination. As relief, Plaintiff seeks “jury trials
to be reinstated at misdemeanor offenses and any other the
court deems just.” (Id., P. 7). In Count II,
Plaintiff restates his claims regarding a possible rape
charge stemming from a May, 2017 incident. (Id., PP.
4-5). Plaintiff claims that as a result of
Defendants' actions he has suffered, among other things,
degradation of character, mental anguish, and financial harm.
(Id., P. 5). As relief for Count II, Plaintiff seeks
“to have Police report CN17-022485 to be removed or
expunged…and one thousand dollars and all court
expences (sic) to be reimbursed by Andre L.
Smith…” (Id., P. 7).
noted above, Defendant City of St. Louis filed the instant
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint on
October 7, 2019, asserting Plaintiff fails to state a claim
against the City for which relief may be granted. (ECF No.
FOR MOTION TO DISMISS
ruling on a motion 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, 1039
(8th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). The
complaint's factual allegations must be sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level, ” however, 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, 570 (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 of the 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 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (pleading offering only
“labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action” will
Denial Of Jury Trial
noted above, in Count I of his Second Amended Complaint
Plaintiff alleges he was denied a jury trial on three traffic
violations incurred in November, 2018. As relief, Plaintiff
seeks “jury trials to be reinstated at misdemeanor
offenses and any other the court deems just.” The Court
notes that although the Fourteenth Amendment imposes upon
States the requirement that jury trials be available to
criminal defendants, “the guarantee of jury trial does
not extend to petty crimes.” See Dyke v. Taylor
Implement Mfg. Co., 391 U.S. 216, 219 (1968). None of
the municipal offenses for which Plaintiff alleges he was
denied the right to trial by jury authorizes a term of
imprisonment of more than six months, or a fine of more than
$500. The offenses thus are petty crimes, for which no right
to trial by jury is guaranteed. See State ex rel. Cole v.
Nigro, 471 S.W.2d 933, 936 (Mo. banc 1971); see also
Ryan v. Moreland, 653 S.W.2d 244, 250 n. 3 (Mo. App.