United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MURGUIA, United States District Judge
matter comes before the court upon defendants Stuart Hite,
Dan Peak, and Crawford County Sheriff's Department's
Amended Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc.
18). Pro se plaintiffs Eric Muathe, Julie Stover, and Kasey
King filed their complaint on June 30, 2017 (Doc. 1). The
complaint cites 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, and 1985
and the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights
as well as various state statues. The individual defendants
are sued in both their personal and official capacities.
Defendants seek to dismiss plaintiffs' twelve claims for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,
among other reasons.
preliminary matter, plaintiffs' response violates the
local rules prohibition on filing briefs with excessive pages
by about five pages. D. Kan. Rule 7.1(e) (prohibiting
arguments authorities sections from exceeding 30 pages
without leave of court). Although pro se litigants'
pleadings are liberally construed, they are required to
comply with federal and local rules.
following facts taken from plaintiffs' complaint are
taken as true. Plaintiffs were part of a group called
“Summary Judgment Group” in February 2015. The
group's intended purpose was to promote and protect
various constitutional rights. Plaintiffs produced flyers
that showed pictures of local judges and their spouses and
local law enforcement, including defendant Stuart Hite, at
social events. Plaintiffs created these flyers because they
believe that these social encounters between judges and
arresting officers create a conflict of interest. The Summary
Judgment Group has a website, Conflictgate.com, that features
defendant Hite and his social interactions with local judges
and attorneys. The group believes that the website exposes
“corruption among public officials and . . . blatant
conflicts of interests between area Judges, attorneys,
businessmen, politicians and law enforcement.” (Doc. 1,
started a petition to convene a grand jury to remove judges
in Crawford County, Kansas, specifically Judges Andrew J.
Wachter, Lori B. Fleming, and Kurtis I. Loy. Plaintiffs
received 121 signatures on their petition but 315 were
required. On June 2, 2015, a local judge not named in this
case dismissed plaintiffs' petition and ordered it
state that they believe that in September or October of 2015,
defendant Hite, local attorneys, the three judges plaintiffs
were attempting to remove from office, and others met to try
to stop plaintiffs from getting signatures for their
petition. This meeting would have occurred after their
petition was dismissed.
after the petition was dismissed, around October 29, 2015,
plaintiffs believe that defendants Dan Peak and Hite began an
investigation into the validity of the signatures on
plaintiffs' dismissed petition. Plaintiffs believe that
defendant Hite investigated the situation because he is
friends with various judges, goes to church with them, or
attends social events with them at Crestwood Country Club.
claim that defendants Peak, Hite, and a Kansas Bureau of
Investigations Officer questioned various individuals about
whether their signatures were valid and whether they knew
plaintiffs. Plaintiffs believe the investigation was
undertaken to intimidate the general population, to keep them
from supporting plaintiffs' efforts.
Pro Se Litigants
plaintiff proceeds pro se, the court construes his or her
filings liberally and holds them to less stringent standards
than pleadings filed by lawyers. Barnett v. Corr. Corp of
Am., 441 Fed.Appx. 600, 601 (10th Cir. 2011). Pro se
plaintiffs are nevertheless required to follow the Federal
and Local Rules of practice and the court does not assume the
role of advocating for pro se plaintiffs. United States
v. Porath, 553 Fed.Appx. 802, 803 (10th Cir. 2014).
Motions to Dismiss Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
court will grant a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) 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). Although the factual allegations need
not be detailed, the claims must set forth entitlement to
relief “through more than labels, conclusions and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” In re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales
Practices Litig., 534 F.Supp.2d 1214, 1216 (D. Kan.
allegations must contain facts sufficient to state a claim
that is plausible, rather than merely conceivable.
Id. “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); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681
(2009). The court construes any reasonable ...