Jiang v. Porter et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion of defendant N.M. to dismiss [Doc. # 60 ] is denied.. Signed by District Judge Carol E. Jackson on 1/14/16. (KKS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
REV. XIU HUI “JOSEPH” JIANG,
TONYA LEVETTE PORTER, et al.,
Case No. 4:15-CV-1008 (CEJ)
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motion of defendant N.M. to dismiss
the complaint pursuant to Missouri’s anti-SLAPP statute, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.528.
Plaintiff has responded in opposition.
Plaintiff Reverend Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang is a Chinese-born ordained Catholic
priest in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Jiang asserts that defendants A.M. and N.M.
falsely accused him of sexually abusing their minor son for the purpose of monetary
Jiang also asserts that defendants Jaimie D. Pitterle and Tonya Levette
Porter, officers of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, conducted an
inadequate investigation of the abuse allegations and targeted plaintiff for
prosecution because of his religion and ethnicity.
Jiang further asserts that
defendants Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, its executive director
David Clohessy, and its registered agent in Missouri Barbara Dorris (the “SNAP
defendants”) led a public smear campaign against him which included making false
accusations of child molestation in the media.
The criminal case against Jiang
remained pending in state court from April 17, 2014 until June 17, 2015, when it
was voluntarily dismissed shortly before trial.
The following claims remain in the complaint:
selective enforcement and prosecution based on religion, race and national origin,
and conduct shocking the conscience, all in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against
defendants Porter and Pitterle (Counts I–VI); conspiracy to violate civil rights, in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985, against all defendants except the City of St. Louis
(Count VII); willful, malicious and reckless official acts in violation of Missouri law
against defendants Porter and Pitterle (VIII); abuse of process against defendants
Porter and Pitterle (Count XII); intentional infliction of emotional distress against all
defendants except the City of St. Louis (Count XIII); and defamation against the
SNAP defendants (Counts XIV–XV).
Plaintiff seeks monetary and injunctive relief.
Claims asserted against N.M. (Counts XII and XIV) and the City of St. Louis (Counts
IX–XI) were dismissed for failure to state a claim. A.M. has been dismissed from
the case due to plaintiff’s failure to serve process upon him.
Defendant N.M. argues that the this action is a strategic lawsuit against
public participation (SLAPP) and should be dismissed pursuant to Missouri’s antiSLAPP statute. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.528 (“Any action against a person for conduct
or speech undertaken or made in connection with a public hearing or public
meeting, in a quasi-judicial proceeding before a tribunal or decision-making body of
the state or any political subdivision of the state is subject to a special motion to
dismiss . . . .”). For the same reasons explained in the Memorandum and Order
denying the motion of the SNAP defendants to dismiss the complaint pursuant to
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.528, the Court finds that N.M. is not entitled to dismissal of
the complaint on the basis of Missouri’s anti-SLAPP statute. See Mem. & Order, at
*2–6 [Doc. #61] (determining that Missouri’s anti-SLAPP statute does not apply to
judicial proceedings); cf. Cordova v. Cline, 308 P.3d 975, 979–80 (N.M. Ct. App.
2013) (holding that New Mexico’s anti-SLAPP statute, with language identical to
Missouri’s anti-SLAPP statute, does not apply to judicial proceedings).
Moreover, it is unclear under existing case law whether or to what extent
Missouri’s anti-SLAPP statute applies to state law claims in federal court.
Shady Grove Orthopedic Assocs., P.A. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 559 U.S. 393 (2010)
(setting forth the framework for determining whether state law or a Federal Rule
applies to state law claims in federal court); Abbas v. Foreign Policy Grp., LLC, 783
F.3d 1328, 1333–36 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (holding that the special motion to dismiss
provision of D.C.’s anti-SLAPP statute conflicts with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
12 and 56, and thus does not apply in federal court under the analysis set forth in
Shady Grove; disagreeing with other federal court decisions that applied state antiSLAPP acts’ pretrial dismissal provisions to state law claims in federal court preShady Grove); Unity Healthcare, Inc. v. County of Hennepin, 308 F.R.D. 537 (D.
Minn. 2015) (finding that Minnesota’s anti-SLAPP statute conflicts with Rule 56 and
cannot be applied in federal court, while noting that the Eighth Circuit has not
addressed the issue of the applicability of state anti-SLAPP laws in federal court),
appeal docketed, No. 15-2489 (8th Cir. July 10, 2015).
Even if Missouri’s anti-SLAPP statute applies to state-law claims in federal
court, it has no effect on the federal law claims brought in a complaint filed in
federal court. See Shelby Cty., Ala. v. Holder, 133 S. Ct. 2612, 2623 (U.S. 2013)
(“State legislation may not contravene federal law.”); Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304
U.S. 64, 78 (1938) (holding that state substantive law applies to state claims in
federal court, “[e]xcept in matters governed by the Federal Constitution or by acts
of Congress”); see also U.S. Const. art. VI, cl. 2 (“This Constitution, and the Laws
of the United States . . . shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”); Doctor’s Data,
Inc. v. Barrett, No. 10-C-03795 (EEC), 2011 WL 5903508, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 22,
2011) (stating that application of Illinois’ anti-SLAPP law to federal claims would
violate the Supremacy Clause by “permit[ting] state law to affect and alter the
substance of federal claims”); Bulletin Displays, LLC v. Regency Outdoor Advert.,
Inc., 448 F. Supp. 2d 1172, 1180 (C.D. Cal. 2006) (holding that California’s antiSLAPP statute “does not apply to federal question claims in federal court because
such application would frustrate substantive federal rights”).
As such, the Court finds that defendant N.M. is not entitled to the dismissal
of the complaint either in whole or in part on the basis of Missouri’s anti-SLAPP
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion of defendant N.M. to dismiss
[Doc. #60] is denied.
CAROL E. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 14th day of January, 2016.
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