Billingsley v. St. Joseph Health Center et al
OPINION MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk shall issue process or cause process to issue as to defendants Sgt. Baumgarter, Officer S. Polster, and Officer W. Wilterhalt of the St. Charles City Police Department.IT IS FURTHER ORD ERED that plaintiffs official-capacity claims areDISMISSED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendant Gayle Reneer is DISMISSEDwithout prejudice. A separate Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed forthwith. Signed by District Judge Henry E. Autrey on 2/20/14. (CLA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
ST. JOSEPH HEALTH CENTER, et al.,
No. 4:13CV819 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on review of plaintiff’s amended complaint under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). Under § 1915(e), the Court must dismiss an action if it is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Plaintiff brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged excessive use of
force. Named as defendants are Gayle Reneer, the Executive Director of Behavior
Health for St. Joseph Health Center; Sergeant Baumgarter, St. Charles Police
Department; Officer S. Polster, St. Charles Police Department; and Officer W. Wilterhalt,
St. Charles Police Department.
Plaintiff alleges that he suffers from schizophrenia and had to be admitted to the
St. Joseph Health Center on September 13, 2012, due to a court order. Plaintiff says that
on September 14 his condition continued to “worsen” and he became “irate” so the police
had to be called. Plaintiff claims that Reneer allowed defendants Baumgarter, Polster,
and Wilterhalte into the facility with their weapons. And plaintiff asserts that the police
officer defendants tazed him, kicked him, and maced him. He says they kicked him in
the head and the back and knocked out a tooth.
He seeks to hold all defendants
responsible for the assault.
The complaint states a claim for relief against defendants Baumgarter, Polster, and
Wilterhalte in their individual capacities.
As a result, the Court will order these
defendants to respond to the complaint.
Naming a government official in his or her official capacity is the equivalent of
naming the government entity that employs the official. Will v. Michigan Dep’t of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). To state a claim against a municipality or a government
official in his or her official capacity, plaintiff must allege that a policy or custom of the
government entity is responsible for the alleged constitutional violation. Monell v. Dep’t
of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978). The instant complaint does not contain
any allegations that a policy or custom of a government entity was responsible for the
alleged violations of plaintiff’s constitutional rights. As a result, plaintiff’s officialcapacity claims fail as a matter of law and will be dismissed.
“Liability under ' 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct responsibility for, the
alleged deprivation of rights.” Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir.
1990); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1948 (2009) (“Because vicarious liability is
inapplicable to Bivens and ' 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead that each
Government-official defendant, through the official=s own individual actions, has violated
the Constitution.”). In the instant action, plaintiff has not set forth any facts indicating
that defendant Reneer was directly involved in or personally responsible for the alleged
violations of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff admits that his behavior escalated. And
Reneer only called the police to the situation; she did not direct them to taze and kick
plaintiff. Nor did she kick plaintiff herself. As a result, the complaint does not state a
claim for relief against Reneer, and the Court will dismiss Reneer from this action.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk shall issue process or cause process to
issue as to defendants Sgt. Baumgarter, Officer S. Polster, and Officer W. Wilterhalt of
the St. Charles City Police Department.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s official-capacity claims are
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendant Gayle Reneer is DISMISSED
A separate Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed forthwith.
Dated this 20th day of February, 2014.
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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