Hunter v. Rodebaugh et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). An Order of Dismissal will accompany this Memorandum and Order. Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 6/1/2015. (JMC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JERRY LEE HUNTER,
MARK RODEBAUGH, et al.,
No. 4:15CV848 DDN
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. The motion is granted.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma
pauperis if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
To state a claim for relief under § 1983, a complaint must plead more than “legal conclusions”
and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere
conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). A plaintiff must
demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.”
Plaintiff alleges that defendant Mark Rodebaugh, a police officer with the St. Louis
Police Department arrested him on February 19, 2014, for theft and trespassing. Plaintiff alleges,
in a wholly conclusory manner, that Rodebaugh did not have probable cause for the arrest.
However, plaintiff alleges that Rodebaugh was investigating the theft of metal from Engineering
Rodebaugh talked to either Sue Kerr or Frank Sophie, who are
employees at Southern Metal Processing Center (“Southern Metal), about the theft and requested
they contact him regarding persons attempting to sell scrap metal.
After plaintiff either
attempted to sell metal or sold metal to Southern Metal, Kerr or Sophie notified Rodebaugh and
gave him plaintiff’s contact information. Plaintiff asserts that defendants arrested him because
he is African-American, and he claims that Rodebaugh used racial epithets while arresting him.
Plaintiff seeks monetary, declarative, and injunctive relief.
On September 23, 2014, a grand jury indicted plaintiff on two counts of stealing and two
counts of trespass. Missouri v. Hunter, No. 1422-CR03632 (City of St. Louis). The indictment
states that plaintiff stole metal from Engineering Warehouse equipment on February 18, 2014.
Id. Plaintiff pled guilty on May 6, 2014. Id. He did not file an appeal.
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. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994); Schafer v. Moore, 46 F.3d 43,
45 (8th Cir. 1995); Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 648 (1997) (applying rule in § 1983 suit
seeking declaratory relief). As a result, he is not entitled to monetary or declaratory relief.
Additionally, plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief is mooted by his guilty plea. He
seeks “Preliminary Injunctive Relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 65 to avoid harassment and
retaliation revenge and Prospective relief.” Plaintiff asserts that he did not commit the crime and
that the reason he was arrested was racial animus.
However, plaintiff admitted having
committed the crime by pleading guilty. Moreover, his claims regarding racial animus are
conclusory and do not state a plausible claim for relief.
Also, defendants Kerr, Sophie, and Southern Metal are not state actors under § 1983.
The complaint is also frivolous against the St. Louis Police Department because police
departments are not suable entities under § 1983. Ketchum v. City of West Memphis, Ark., 974
F.2d 81, 82 (1992).
For each of these reasons, the complaint must be dismissed.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
An Order of Dismissal will accompany this Memorandum and Order.
Dated this 1st day of June, 2015.
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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