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Lloyd v. Buller

United States District Court, D. Kansas

February 7, 2017

TODD J. LLOYD, Plaintiff,
ERIC C. BULLER, et. al., Defendants.


          J. Thomas Marten, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Todd J. Lloyd filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging three Hutchinson Police Department officers, as well as a Reno County intensive supervision officer, violated his constitutional rights when they used excessive force during his arrest. Dkt. 19. All four defendants move for dismissal of the First Amended Complaint, arguing they are entitled to qualified immunity. Dkt. 21. As part of his opposition, plaintiff filed two motions to admit evidence (Dkt. 36 and 38) and a motion to compel defendants to produce the audio/video dash-camera footage of the arrest (Dkt. 39). Defendants countered with a motion to stay discovery (Dkt. 41) pending a ruling on their motion to dismiss. For the reasons stated below, the court denies the motion to dismiss and all related motions.

         I. Factual Background

         The First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) alleges, in pertinent part:

         On April 24, 2014, officers from the Hutchinson Police Department went to plaintiff's residence to arrest him on a warrant for a community corrections violation. According to plaintiff, he and his girlfriend, Jennifer Hartman, were walking down the street near his mother's house when defendants Eric Buller and Josh Radloff, officers with the Hutchinson Police Department, approached them.

         When Officer Buller got out of his patrol vehicle, he told plaintiff “he was under arrest and to stop.” FAC at 4. At that time, plaintiff was under the influence of methamphetamine. Plaintiff, in an effort to get Officers Buller and Radloff to shoot him, pulled out two knives and yelled for them to shoot him. Ms. Hartman, not wanting anything to happen to plaintiff, positioned herself between him and the officers. Plaintiff then climbed over a fence and Ms. Hartman followed him.

         Once plaintiff and Ms. Hartman made it back to a paved road, Officers Buller and Radloff, now with Don Wilkins, plaintiff's intensive supervision officer, approached them. Officer Radloff told Ms. Hartman to get down. Ms. Hartman continued to keep herself between plaintiff and the officers, but eventually dropped to her knees. Plaintiff then threw down his knives and dropped to his knees. As plaintiff began to lay face down on the ground, Officer Radloff ran up and kicked plaintiff in the face, causing plaintiff to rear up in a defensive position and ask, “why did you kick me?” Officer Radloff then tased plaintiff, while Officer Buller tackled plaintiff to the ground. While plaintiff was on the ground, Officer Buller began punching plaintiff on his head, back, and arms. At the same time, Officer Radloff struck plaintiff's back with his taser several times, with each hit sending a circuit of shock.

         Officer Carey then arrived and joined the assault on plaintiff. Id. at 6. Carey punched and kneed plaintiff on the back. Wilkins also kneed plaintiff in the back. Radloff then placed the nose of his taser against plaintiff's back and delivered a “drive stun” even though plaintiff was not resisting arrest or fighting defendants. Id. at 6, 9. Plaintiff was then placed in handcuffs.

         While hand-cuffed, Radloff pressed plaintiff's face into the dirt and Buller, Wilkins, and Carey continued punching and kneeing plaintiff's back and arms for about a minute. Radloff straightened up his body and delivered a knee drop onto plaintiff, causing him to go unconscious.

         Plaintiff was placed into a police vehicle and charged with kidnapping. Plaintiff was later convicted of kidnapping.

         II. Legal Standards

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         Rule 12(b)(6) allows dismissal of a complaint only when the factual allegations fail to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “All well-pleaded facts, as distinguished from conclusory allegations, must be taken as true.” Swanson v. Bixler, 750 F.2d 810, 813 (10th Cir. 1984); Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The court construes any reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Tal v. Hogan, 453 F.3d 1244, 1252 (10th Cir. 2006).

         B. Qualified Immunity ...

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