United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN R. CLARK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Daniel Isom's
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint . The Court
grants the Motion.
April 6, 2018, Plaintiff Jamal White filed a complaint in
this Court alleging Defendant Adam Feaman, a police officer
with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, used
excessive force against White in violation of the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
White alleges Feaman struck White in his jaw and cranium with
a flashlight. For a complete procedural history of the case,
the Court refers to its Memorandum and Order, dated November
14, 2019, dismissing the claims against Feaman and Isom, in
their official capacities, and the City of St. Louis. Doc.
brought his claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and asserted
that the City has two policies and a custom that are the
“moving force” behind the alleged
unconstitutional conduct. He first alleged the two policies:
(1) the “Normal” policy pursuant to which the
City “normally” charges suspects on whom
excessive force is used with resisting arrest in municipal
court (rather than state court); and (2) the
“Rec” policy under which municipal prosecutors
will plea bargain and “recommend” dismissal of
municipal-court-resisting-arrest charges only if a defendant
will sign a liability waiver releasing the City from any
civil lawsuits. Doc. 62, ¶¶ 22-24. White then
alleged St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
(“SLMPD”) has a “custom” of
“using unjustified force with impunity in any case that
an offender runs, pulls away, or protest [sic].” Doc.
62, ¶ 55. White labeled the “custom” as
“you run, you pay” (“YRYP”). Doc. 99.
In dismissing the claims against the City and Feaman and Isom
in their official capacities, the Court found White did not
plausibly plead a pattern of misconduct and did not plead any
facts from which the Court could infer a direct causal link
between the Rec & Normal policies, the YRYP custom, and
Feaman's conduct towards White. The remaining count
against Isom is Count II for failure to train and supervise
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in his individual capacity.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”)
12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a claim for
“failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” The notice pleading standard of FRCP 8(a)(2)
requires a plaintiff to give “a short and plain
statement . . . showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” To meet this standard and to survive a FRCP
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(internal quotations and citation omitted). This requirement
of facial plausibility means the factual content of the
plaintiff's allegations must “allow the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Park Irmat Drug Corp.
v. Express Scripts Holding Co., 911 F.3d 505, 512 (8th
Cir. 2018) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). The
Court must grant all reasonable inferences in favor of the
nonmoving party. Lustgraaf v. Behrens, 619 F.3d 867,
872-73 (8th Cir. 2010).
ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court must liberally
construe a complaint in favor of the plaintiff. Huggins
v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., 592 F.3d 853, 862
(8th Cir. 2010). However, if a claim fails to allege one of
the elements necessary to recovery on a legal theory, the
Court must dismiss that claim for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. Crest Constr. II, Inc.
v. Doe, 660 F.3d 346, 355 (8th Cir. 2011). Threadbare
recitals of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678;
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). Rule 8 does not “unlock the doors of discovery
for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than
conclusions.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79.
“A pleading that merely pleads labels and conclusions
or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action, or naked assertions devoid of factual enhancement
will not suffice.” Hamilton v. Palm, 621 F.3d
816, 817 (8th Cir. 2010) (internal quotations omitted).
Although courts must accept all factual allegations as true,
they are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion
couched as a factual allegation. Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555 (internal quotations and citation omitted);
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-78.
ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT
the Court summarizes all of White's allegations, factual
and conclusory, to provide context to the Court's
analysis below. The Court focuses on the allegations relevant
alleges, that on August 14, 2016, Feaman, a patrol officer,
sought to place White under arrest. As White moved backward
from Feaman, White questioned his impending arrest. Feaman
struck White with his flashlight, cracking White's jaw,
and again struck White in the cranium. According to White, as
a result of Feaman's actions, White required extensive
medical care, sustained significant injuries, and suffered
severe emotional and psychological distress.
alleges the excessive force Feaman used against him was the
result of a widespread custom in the SLMPD of “you run,
you pay” that was caused by the “Rec &
Normal” policies. According to White, the “Rec
& Normal” policies were created in 2012, when the
SLMPD Chief of Police, Isom, updated a special order and
trained officers to “normally” charge any
resisting-arrest charge in municipal court rather than state
court when the offender did not use force or threaten to use
force, i.e. the “Normal” policy. White alleges
the City also enforced a mandatory policy, called the
“Rec Policy.” In exchange for a city
prosecutor's recommendation to dismiss a resisting-arrest
charge in municipal court, the defendant signs a release of
any civil liability that the City may have for use of
excessive force against the defendant.
written “Normal” policy states, in part:
Under normal circumstances, the defendant will be charged
with a city ordinance violation of resisting arrest or
interfering with an officer. The information application will