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Folkers v. Drill

United States District Court, D. Kansas

July 29, 2015

CHRIS FOLKERS, Plaintiff,
v.
KEITH DRILL, LAURA McCONWELL, and WAYNE BRINKLEY, in their official and personal capacities, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DANIEL D. CRABTREE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Chris Folkers brings this lawsuit alleging various violations of Kansas and federal law. This case arises out of events that occurred when Mr. Folkers appeared in the Municipal Court of Mission, Kansas, pursuant to a summons for a speeding ticket. Mr. Folkers originally filed this suit in the District Court of Johnson County, Kansas, on August 12, 2014, against Keith Drill, a Municipal Court Judge for the City of Mission (Doc. 1-1). On August 27, 2014, Judge Drill removed the action to this Court (Doc. 1). After removal, Mr. Folkers filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 12-2), adding new claims and two additional defendants-Laura McConwell, the former Mayor of Mission, and Wayne Brinkley, a Mission police officer. This matter now comes before the Court on Mr. Folkers' motion for summary judgment (Doc. 37), defendants' motion to dismiss (Doc. 39), and defendants' motions to supplement the memorandum supporting their motion to dismiss (Doc. 58) and their response to plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 59). For the reasons explained below, the Court grants defendants' motion to dismiss and denies the remaining motions as moot.

I. Factual Background

On April 26, 2014, Mr. Folkers received a citation and notice in the Mission Municipal Court on May 27, 2014. On May 23, 2014, Mr. Folkers filed a document with the Municipal Court requesting that the court dismiss the traffic citation against him. The document also purported to subpoena the City of Mission to "testify [at his arraignment hearing] to show cause for [j]urisdiction" at the May 27 hearing. Doc. 34 at 14.

As scheduled, Mr. Folkers appeared before Judge Drill for arraignment on May 27, 2014. Officer Brinkley also appeared and participated in the proceedings. Former Mayor McConwell was not present. When Judge Drill called Mr. Folkers to discuss his case, Mr. Folkers immediately asserted a challenge to the Municipal Court's jurisdiction. He argued that the City had failed to prove "standing of claim" and "subject matter jurisdiction." Doc. 34 at 2. He also asserted that the City of Mission, as an "artificial entity" and not a "natural being, " lacked standing to bring a criminal complaint. Id. at 4.

Judge Drill advised Mr. Folkers that the hearing was for arraignment purposes only. He asked Mr. Folkers repeatedly to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Mr. Folkers refused to enter a plea and instead continued to assert his jurisdictional objections. After the two repeated this exchange several times, Judge Drill advised Mr. Folkers that he would record him as having entered a plea of "not guilty." He then pointed to a seat and directed Mr. Folkers to sit down. At that time, Officer Brinkley grabbed Mr. Folkers' upper-left arm and forced him into the seat. Judge Drill then cautioned plaintiff, "If you don't stop this behavior, I'm going to hold you in contempt. Do you understand, Yes or No?" Mr. Folkers replied, "No Sir, I do not understand." Judge Drill followed through on his warning and found Mr. Folkers in contempt. Officer Brinkley then forcibly removed Mr. Folkers from the room and placed him in shackles.

On July 3, 2014, Mr. Folkers again went to the Mission Municipal Court. This time, he filed a document titled "Notice of Discovery Request and Brady Materials." Doc. 34 at 18-20. The City did not respond to his request. On July 21, 2014, he returned to the Municipal Court to file another document, this one called an "Order for Discovery." Id. at 21. Mr. Folkers returned one week later to ask the court clerk about the status of his discovery request. The clerk advised Mr. Folkers that the Judge had declined to sign his proposed order. Upon hearing this, Mr. Folkers stated: "If I need to arrest Keith Drill, I will arrest Keith Drill for violating my rights." Id. at 7.

The Municipal Court set the traffic citation against Mr. Folkers for trial on August 14, 2014. That day, Peter Simonsen, an attorney for the city, met with Mr. Folkers to discuss discovery issues. Mr. Folkers refused to discuss discovery because it already was the day of trial. The case against Mr. Folkers never proceeded to trial because he had filed this lawsuit in the Johnson County, Kansas District Court three days before the August 14 trial date.

II. Legal Standard

Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) provides that a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Although this Rule "does not require detailed factual allegations, '" it demands more than "[a] pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action'" which, as the Supreme Court explained, "will not do." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

"To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "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." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "Under this standard, the complaint must give the court reason to believe that this plaintiff has a reasonable likelihood of mustering factual support for these claims.'" Carter v. United States, 667 F.Supp.2d 1259, 1262 (D. Kan. 2009) (quoting Ridge at Red Hawk, L.L.C. v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir. 2007)).

Although the Court must assume that the factual allegations in the Amended Complaint are true, it is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.'" Id. at 1263 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice'" to state a claim for relief. Bixler v. Foster, 596 F.3d 751, 756 (10th Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).

When evaluating a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court may consider not only the Amended Complaint itself, but also attached exhibits and documents incorporated into the complaint by reference. Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1098 (10th Cir. 2009) (citing Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308 (2007)) (further citations omitted). A court "may consider documents referred to in the complaint if the documents are central to the plaintiff's claim and the parties do not dispute the ...


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