Morgan-Tyra v. City of St. Louis, 4:18-cv-01799-MTS

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
PartiesJENNIFER MORGAN-TYRA, et al., Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF ST. LOUIS, et al., Defendants.
Docket Number4:18-cv-01799-MTS
Decision Date22 September 2022

JENNIFER MORGAN-TYRA, et al., Plaintiffs,

CITY OF ST. LOUIS, et al., Defendants.

No. 4:18-cv-01799-MTS

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

September 22, 2022



Before the Court is Defendant City of St. Louis and Defendant Officer Andrei Nikolov's Motion for Summary Judgment, Doc. [192], in which they seek summary judgment in their favor on all Plaintiff Jennifer Morgan-Tyra's and Plaintiff Michael Morgan's claims in the Second Amended Complaint, Doc. [37]. The parties extensively briefed the Motion, and it is now ripe for adjudication. For the reasons explained below, the Court has concluded that, when viewing the record in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs and drawing all reasonable inferences in their favor, Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra's claims arising under federal law. Because only Plaintiffs' claims under Missouri state law remain, the Court, in its discretion, declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over these remaining claims. Accordingly, the Court will grant Defendants' Motion in part and enter summary judgment in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra's claims arising under federal law, and the Court will deny the Motion without prejudice in all other respects and dismiss Plaintiffs' claims arising under Missouri state law without prejudice.


I. Background

On May 8, 2015, Plaintiff Jennifer Morgan-Tyra was pointing a gun toward a woman in the home of Morgan-Tyra's brother, Plaintiff Michael Morgan, when Defendant Andrei Nikolov, a uniformed, on-duty police officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department who was responding to a 911 call, shot Morgan-Tyra multiple times. Plaintiff Morgan witnessed his sister, Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra, being shot by Defendant Nikolov. Though numerous bullets struck Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra, she survived. But she now lives with significant irreversible effects from her extensive injuries. After the incident at issue here, a grand jury indicted Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra with two felonies-assault of a law enforcement officer in the second degree and armed criminal action-based on her alleged conduct that led to Defendant Nikolov shooting her. In June of 2017, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office dropped the charges against Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra. Thereafter, Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra and her brother, Plaintiff Morgan, filed the instant action.

Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint, the operative complaint here, contains a total of ten counts, with some arising under federal law and some arising under Missouri state law. Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra brought eight total counts, one against Defendant Nikolov alone, one against the City alone, and six against both Defendant Nikolov and the City. Plaintiff Morgan brought two claims, both of which are against Defendant Nikolov and the City. Morgan-Tyra asserts a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 excessive force claim against Defendant Nikolov in his individual capacity (Count One), a § 1983 “unreasonable seizure, false arrest and violation of substantive due process” claim against both Defendants[1] (Count Two), a § 1985[2] conspiracy claim against


both Defendants (Count Three), a § 1983 failure to train, supervise, or discipline[3] claim against the City (Count Four), and claims under Missouri state law for false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and negligent infliction of emotional distress against both Defendants (Counts Five through Eight, respectively). Plaintiff Morgan brings his claims, Count Nine and Count Ten, in the alternative and alleges both counts against both Defendants. Count Nine alleges a claim under Missouri law for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and Count Ten alleges a claim under Missouri law for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Defendants now seek summary judgment on all the claims against them, primarily relying on the doctrine of qualified immunity for the claims arising under federal law and on the doctrine of official immunity for the claims arising under Missouri law. See Williams v. Jackson, 600 F.3d 1007, 1012 (8th Cir. 2010) (explaining qualified immunity); Southers v. City of Farmington, 263 S.W.3d 603, 610 (Mo. banc 2008) (explaining official immunity under Missouri law).

II. Standard

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a court must grant summary judgment to a moving party “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). At the summary judgment stage, facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, but only if there is a “genuine” dispute as to those facts. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). Mere “metaphysical doubt as to the material facts” is insufficient to defeat summary judgment.


Id. A party asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by citing to particular parts of materials in the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A district court, however, is not “constrained to view only the evidence submitted by [the moving party] to support its summary judgment motion; the court c[an] consider any evidence in the record.” Terra Indus., Inc. v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, 383 F.3d 754, 759 (8th Cir. 2004); accord Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3) (providing court “may consider other materials in the record” besides just “cited materials”). In reviewing the record, a court must not weigh evidence at the summary judgment stage but instead should decide simply whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no ‘genuine issue for trial.'” Scott, 550 U.S. at 380. The Court will specifically identify the Plaintiffs-friendly version of the genuinely disputed facts. See N.S. v. Kansas City Bd. of Police Comm'rs., 933 F.3d 967, 970 (8th Cir. 2019).

III. Facts

On the evening of May 8, 2015, Defendant Nikolov and his partner, Officer Gregory Bushart, were on-duty, and in full uniform, as police officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department when, at around 6:49 p.m., they received a radio assignment for a disturbance at 4241 Chippewa Street in St. Louis. The dispatcher advised the officers that a 911 caller, Karla Nicholson, was having a dispute with her other roommate who possibly had a gun and who had threatened Nicholson. The dispatcher further advised that Nicholson was locked in her bedroom. Defendant Nikolov's in-car computer also received the corresponding electronic call notes relaying the same information. Defendant Nikolov and Officer Bushart responded to 4241 Chippewa. At 7:02:55 p.m., Defendant Nikolov's patrol car automatically notified the


Computer-Aided Dispatch System that his patrol car came within seventy-five meters (about eighty-two yards) of 4241 Chippewa. At 7:03:31 p.m., a dispatch began over the same dispatch channel, albeit directed to a different officer, this time advising that a 911 caller named Jennifer at 4241 Chippewa reported that a white female armed with a screwdriver was trying to attack the caller. The dispatcher reported that Jennifer was “armed with a gun” and “threatened to shoot . . . if the female came close to her.”[4] Doc. [63-4]. A corresponding electronic call note reporting this dispatch was not sent to Defendant Nikolov's in-car computer. Whether Defendant Nikolov had entered the residence at 4241 Chippewa prior to this second dispatch is disputed.

When Defendant Nikolov and Officer Bushart arrived at 4241 Chippewa, the front door of the residence was open, and there was an unlocked metal screen door closed in front of it. Officer Bushart banged on the closed metal screen door and both officers yelled “police.”[5] The officers then entered the residence. Though unbeknownst to Defendant Nikolov and Officer Bushart at that moment, there were four individuals inside that residence at the time they arrived, Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra, Plaintiff Morgan, Nicholson, and Richard Peterson. The officers first encountered a man in a tank top, Peterson. Peterson told the officers something to the effect of, “I tried to calm the situation down; they are in the back.” Doc. [211] ¶ 22. In the home, the


Officers could hear screaming and swearing.[6] Defendant Nikolov walked toward the screaming. As he did, Defendant Nikolov saw another man, Plaintiff Morgan, who was standing between Defendant Nikolov and Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra. Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra was holding a gun and pointing it toward Nicholson. Plaintiff Morgan was yelling at Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra to put the gun down. But Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra continued to point the gun “directly” at Nicholson[7] and yell at her. Defendant Nikolov also yelled at Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra to put the gun down.[8]Though it is undisputed that Defendant Nikolov at least yelled at Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra to put the gun down, it is disputed whether Defendant Nikolov again identified himself as a police officer, like he did prior to entering the residence. Defendant Nikolov fired his service weapon at Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra almost immediately[9] after giving his command for her to drop her weapon.

Multiple bullets struck Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra, and she sustained critical injuries. She spent significant time in the hospital and underwent numerous surgeries. She has lasting effects from her injuries, including paralysis. The day after the shooting the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's


Office filed a two-count felony complaint against Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra charging her with assault of a law enforcement officer in the second degree and armed criminal action. Doc. [1029]. Days later, a grand jury indicted Plaintiff Morgan-Tyra on those two charges. Doc...

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