Wright v. Drury et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER..IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs official capacity claims against Ryan are DISMISSED without prejudice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all of plaintiffs claims against Wouten are DISMISSED without prejudice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERE D that the Clerk of Court shall issue process, or causeprocess to issue, upon defendant Ryan in his individual capacity at 131 S. New Madrid Street, Benton, Missouri 63736. IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED that an appeal from this partial dismissal would not be taken in good faith.. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on 12/4/17. (MRS)
UNITED ST ATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
WES DRURY, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court upon review of the amended complaint filed by plaintiff
Jonathan Wright. For the reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss plaintiffs official capacity
claims against defendant Ryan and all of plaintiffs claims against defendant Justin Wouten, and
will direct the Clerk of Court to issue process upon the complaint as to defendant Ryan in his
In the amended complaint, plaintiff names correctional officer Ryan and Sgt. Justin
Wouten as defendants. He sues both defendants in their individual and official capacities. The
events giving rise to the amended complaint occurred while plaintiff was incarcerated at the
Scott County Jail in Benton, Missouri. Plaintiff alleges that, on April 15, 2017, Ryan pulled and
slammed plaintiffs right hand in the "choke hole" while plaintiff was handcuffed, causing
injuries serious enough that plaintiff sought medical attention and was taken to the hospital.
These allegations state a non-frivolous claim against defendant Ryan in his individual capacity,
and the Clerk of Court will be directed to serve process or cause process to issue upon him.
However, plaintiffs official capacity claims against Ryan are subject to dismissal.
Naming a government official in his official capacity is the equivalent of naming the government
entity that employs him, which in this case is the City of Benton, Missouri. To state a claim
against a municipality or a government official in his official capacity, plaintiff must allege that a
policy or custom of the municipality/governmental entity is responsible for the alleged
constitutional violation. Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978).
In this case, the amended complaint contains no allegations that a government or municipal
policy or custom was responsible for the alleged violations of plaintiffs constitutional rights. As
a result, plaintiffs official capacity claims against Ryan will be dismissed.
Plaintiff next alleges that correctional officer Mike was present at the time, and "stated to
Ryan that, that was uncalled for" and told plaintiff to put down his name as a witness. (Docket
No. 6 at 5). Plaintiff alleges that he filed a grievance to report the incident, but was told he could
not have a copy of it. These allegations do not state a claim of constitutional dimension against
Finally, plaintiff states that Wouten "came to talk to me" and said there was "nothing he
can do about it because he can't see it on camera and he refused to talk to correctional officer
Mike stating that they work on different shifts!" Id. Wouten cannot be liable for the actions of
his subordinates based on respondeat superior. Livers v. Schenck, 700 F.3d 340, 355 (8th Cir.
2012). Wouten may be liable under § 1983 if he: ( 1) had notice of a pattern of unconstitutional
acts committed by subordinates, (2) was deliberately indifferent to or tacitly authorized those
acts, and (3) failed to take sufficient remedial action, (4) proximately causing injury to plaintiff.
Id. (citing Andrews v. Fowler, 98 F.3d 1069, 1078 (8th Cir. 1996)).
Here, plaintiff does not
allege that Wouten had notice of a pattern of unconstitutional acts, or that his failure to act was
the proximate cause of plaintiffs injury. Instead, plaintiff alleges that Ryan committed a single
act of wrongdoing and Wouten failed to investigate.
See Livers, 700 F.3d at 355 ("A single
incident, or isolated incidents, do not ordinarily satisfy this burden.") Therefore, the Court
concludes that plaintiff fails to state a claim against Wouten, and will dismiss him from this case,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs official capacity claims against Ryan are
DISMISSED without prejudice.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all of plaintiffs claims against Wouten are
DISMISSED without prejudice.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall issue process, or cause
process to issue, upon defendant Ryan in his individual capacity at 131 S. New Madrid Street,
Benton, Missouri 63736.
IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED that an appeal from this partial dismissal would not be
taken in good faith.
A separate order of dismissal will be entered herewith.
Dated this..£!..day of December, 2017.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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