Dallas v. Missouri Department of Family Services et al
ORDER granting 13 motion to dismiss case as to Defendants Parsons and Smith. The Clerk is directed to mail a copy of this order to the plaintiff at his last known address. Signed on 7/15/2021 by District Judge M. Douglas Harpool. (Maerz, Mary) Modified on 7/15/2021 (Maerz, Mary).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
KENDALL CODY DALLAS,
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY
SERVICES, et al.,
Case No. 6:21-CV-03065-MDH
Before the Court is Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Defendants Governor Mike Parsons
and Karen Smith. (Doc. 13). For the reasons set forth herein, the Motion is GRANTED.
Pro se Plaintiff brings this claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging that the Defendants
violated his “civil rights as a father” by “not telling” him anything relating to his daughter S.V.
Plaintiff also claims that he was “harassed” by the State of Missouri because he was allegedly
forced to surrender custody of his two other daughters. Plaintiff further claims that his oldest
daughter now wishes to obtain custody of his daughter S.V. and that because he would not agree,
his parental rights “they” are going to terminate his parental rights. Plaintiff is seeking monetary
relief and appears to seek injunctive relief in the form of the termination of the Defendants from
their current positions.
To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “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). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” McDonough v. Anoka Cty., 799
F.3d 931, 945 (8th Cir. 2015) (quotations and citation omitted).
Government officials performing discretionary duties are afforded qualified immunity
shielding them from civil damages liability. See Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 638 (S. Ct..
1987). Qualified immunity is liberally applied and shields an individual government official so
long as the official’s conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights
of which a reasonable person would have known. See White v. Pauly, 137 S. Ct. 548, 551–52
(2017); Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231 (2009). Whether an official is protected by
qualified immunity turns on the objective legal reasonableness of the official’s actions considered
in light of the legal rules that were clearly established at the time the official acted. See
Messerschmidt v. Millender, 565 U.S. 546 (2012). It therefore protects “all but the plainly
incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.” Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 341 (1986).
Courts use a well-settled, two-step analytical framework for analyzing claims of qualified
immunity: courts determine whether a plaintiff has demonstrated both (1) that the Plaintiffs have
set forth facts showing Defendant’s actions violated the Plaintiff’s federal constitutional or
statutory rights and, if so, (2) that the right was clearly established when the conduct occurred. See
Pearson, 555 U.S. at 231.
Plaintiffs fail to allege facts that establish that Defendants Governor Mike Parsons or Karen
Smith acted in violation of Plaintiffs’ federal constitutional or statutory rights. In fact, Plaintiff
fails to identify any action taken by either Defendant. Plaintiff identifies Karen Smith as a
Defendant, but nowhere in the Complaint does Plaintiff mention Defendant Smith or identify any
specific action taken by Defendant Smith. Plaintiff’s allegations are insufficient to show that
Defendant Karen Smith violated Plaintiff’s constitutional or statutory rights. As to Governor
Parsons, Plaintiff only claims that he contacted the Governor’s office, but fails to identify who he
spoke to or what was discussed. Plaintiff also fails to state that he spoke to the Governor himself.
Plaintiff’s allegation that he contacted the Governor’s office is simply not sufficient to establish
that the Governor himself acted in violation of Plaintiff’s federal constitutional or statutory rights.
Because Plaintiff has failed to allege facts to support that Defendants Parsons and Smith
violated a constitutional or statutory right that was clearly established at the time of the acts at
issue, all claims against Defendants Governor Mike Parsons and Karen Smith are dismissed due
to official immunity.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: July 15, 2021
/s/ Douglas Harpool______
United States District Judge
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