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ACLU Complaint

ACLU Complaint

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Published by samtlevin
City of Ellisville
City of Ellisville

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Published by: samtlevin on Apr 17, 2013
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04/17/2013

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1
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTEASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURIEASTERN DIVISION
Michael J. Elli,individually and on behalf of thosesimilarly situated,Plaintiff,v.City of Ellisville, Missouri;John Doe, individually and in his officialcapacity as a police officer for City of Ellisville, Missouri;Defendants.))))))))))))No. 4:13-cv- 711
JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
 
V
ERIFIED
C
LASS
-A
CTION
C
OMPLAINT FOR
D
ECLARATORY AND
I
NJUNCTIVE
R
ELIEFAND
I
NDIVIDUAL
C
OMPLAINT FOR
D
AMAGES
 
 Introduction
 1.
 
This is a civil rights action filed by Michael J. Elli challenging the policy andcustom of the City of Ellisville, Missouri, of having police officers pull over, detain, and citeindividuals who are perceived as having communicated to oncoming traffic that a speed trap isahead by flashing their headlamps and then prosecuting and imposing fines upon thoseindividuals.2.
 
The policy or custom includes citing and prosecuting individuals for violation of an ordinance that no reasonable officer would believe the individuals had violated, withoutreasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe they had violated any law, and in retaliation forthe individuals having engaged in expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment.3.
 
In this action, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff seeks damages onhis individual claims. In addition, he seeks declaratory and prospective relief on behalf of a classof similarly situated individuals.
Case: 4:13-cv-00711 Doc. #: 1 Filed: 04/16/13 Page: 1 of 14 PageID #: 1
 
 
2 
 Jurisdiction and Venue
4.
 
This action arises under the Constitution of the United States and the provisionsof 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The jurisdiction of this court is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and1343(a), and pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.5.
 
Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1)-(2) because alldefendants reside in Saint Louis County and a substantial part of the events or omissions givingrise to the claims occurred in Saint Louis County.6.
 
Venue is proper in the Eastern Division pursuant to E.D.M
O
.
 
L.R. 2.07 (A)(1)and (B)(2).
Parties
 7.
 
Plaintiff, Michael J. Elli, is a resident of the City of Ellisville and the State of Missouri.8.
 
Defendant City of Ellisville, Missouri, is a municipal corporation and politicalsubdivision of the State of Missouri.9.
 
Defendant John Doe is a police officer of City of Ellisville, Missouri, whose nameis not known to Plaintiff. On or about November 17, 2012, Doe pulled Plaintiff’s vehicle overand issued to Plaintiff Ellisville Police Department Uniform Citation No. 09-00046459 forallegedly “[f]lashing lights on certain vehicles prohibited. warning of RADAR ahead.” Doe issued in his individual and official capacities.10.
 
All defendants have acted, and continue to act, under color of state law at alltimes relevant to this Complaint.
Facts
11.
 
Plaintiff is a resident of the City of Ellisville, Missouri.
Case: 4:13-cv-00711 Doc. #: 1 Filed: 04/16/13 Page: 2 of 14 PageID #: 2
 
 
312.
 
Prior to the incident at issue in this case, Plaintiff had not been alleged to havecommitted any moving violation or other infraction for more than thirty-five years.13.
 
At or about 2:50 in the afternoon of November 17, 2012, Plaintiff drove hisvehicle northbound on Kiefer Creek Road within the City of Ellisville, Missouri.14.
 
Plaintiff observed a speed-trap.15.
 
Plaintiff communicated by flashing his headlamps to drivers approaching in theopposite direction –none of whom Plaintiff suspected of violating any law– that they shouldproceed with caution.16.
 
The flashing of headlamps is commonly understood as conveying the message toslow down and proceed with caution.17.
 
The Missouri Department of Revenue, which is responsible for the licensing of drivers within the State of Missouri, recommends drivers flash their headlamps to warn otherdrivers of emergencies.18.
 
Plaintiff did not violate any law.19.
 
Doe did not have reasonable suspicion to believe that Plaintiff had violated anylaw.20.
 
Doe, who was traveling in traffic in a marked police vehicle, activated hisflashing lights to signal to Plaintiff that he must pull over to the side of the road.21.
 
Plaintiff complied.22.
 
Plaintiff was not free to leave the stop until after he was issued a citation.23.
 
Plaintiff was required to remain for approximately 15 minutes.
Case: 4:13-cv-00711 Doc. #: 1 Filed: 04/16/13 Page: 3 of 14 PageID #: 3

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