University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Templeton v. Dotson PN-MO-0005
Docket / Court 4:14-cv-02019 ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On December 8, 2014, residents of St. Louis and Ferguson, MO, filed this lawsuit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiffs sued the co-directors of the Unified Command, which was responsible for oversight and control of all the law enforcement response to ... read more >
On December 8, 2014, residents of St. Louis and Ferguson, MO, filed this lawsuit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiffs sued the co-directors of the Unified Command, which was responsible for oversight and control of all the law enforcement response to demonstrations following the killing of Michael Brown. The plaintiffs were represented by attorneys from ArchCity Defenders, Saint Louis University Legal Clinic, Advancement Project, Saint Louis Law School, and private counsel. The plaintiffs sought damages, a temporary restraining order and injunctive relief, alleging that their First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated as a result of unreasonable and unnecessary force during organized protests.

On November 24, 2014, following the announcement of the Grand Jury's decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed African-American teenager Michael Brown, citizens began to protest and voice their opinions about the frequency of unarmed African-American men being shot by police officers and the lack of police accountability. These demonstrations were met with a militarized response by police officers, including appearing in tanks and riot gear and shooting peaceful demonstrators with tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets. Because of the law enforcement's response to the demonstrations, several members of the community were harmed and prevented from exercising their constitutional rights.

On December 11, 2014, District Court Judge Carol E. Jackson granted the plaintiffs' request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the defendants. Judge Jackson ordered the defendants to refrain from using chemical agents to assist in the dispersing of groups engaged in non-criminal activities without issuing a clear warning that such steps would be taken and allowing individuals a sufficient opportunity to leave the area.

On January 5, 2015, the defendants filed a motion to vacate the TRO. The defendants argued that the TRO was against them acting in their capacities as directors of Unified Command, an entity created by the governor on November 17, 2014, in response to the protests stemming from the killing of Michael Brown. Since the executive order expired December 17, 2014, the defendants argued that the plaintiffs' claims were moot and should be dismissed. Judge Jackson denied their motion, noting that the complaint was brought against the defendants not only in their capacities as directors of Unified Command, but also in their official capacities as police officers and as officials of Missouri Highway control.

On January 5, 2015, Judge Jackson also dismissed the defendants' request for expedited discovery on the grounds that the request was not sufficiently supported.

On March 25, 2015, the parties filed a joint motion to dismiss and a settlement agreement. The defendants agreed to command their law enforcement to prohibit the use of tear gas, pepper spray, and other chemical agents, and the payment of the plaintiff's attorney fees and costs from the defendant totaling $7,500, with each defendant contributing $2,500 to the total amount.

On March 26, 2015, Judge Jackson granted the parties' motion to dismiss, retaining jurisdiction for the sole purpose of determining whether the settlement shall be enforced upon any motion of any party.

Daniel Fryer - 10/19/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Aggressive behavior
Confinement/isolation
Excessive force
Pepper/OC spray
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Search policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) County of St. Louis
Missouri
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are residents of St. Louis and Ferguson, Missouri
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:14-cv-02019-CEJ (E.D. Mo.) 10/12/2015
PN-MO-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 12/08/2014
PN-MO-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Temporary Restraining Order 12/11/2014 (E.D. Mo.)
PN-MO-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 01/05/2015 (E.D. Mo.)
PN-MO-0005-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 01/05/2015 (E.D. Mo.)
PN-MO-0005-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order 01/05/2015 (E.D. Mo.)
PN-MO-0005-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss 03/25/2015
PN-MO-0005-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Order to dismiss 03/26/2015 (E.D. Mo.)
PN-MO-0005-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Judges Jackson, Carol E. (E.D. Mo.) [Magistrate]
PN-MO-0005-0002 | PN-MO-0005-0003 | PN-MO-0005-0004 | PN-MO-0005-0005 | PN-MO-0005-0006 | PN-MO-0005-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Downing, Don M (Missouri)
PN-MO-0005-0001
Hansford, Justin D. (Missouri)
PN-MO-0005-0001
Harvey, Thomas B. (Missouri)
PN-MO-0005-0001 | PN-MO-0005-0007 | PN-MO-0005-9000
Lee, Nicole C. (District of Columbia)
PN-MO-0005-0001 | PN-MO-0005-0007
Lieberman, Denise D. (Missouri)
PN-MO-0005-0001 | PN-MO-0005-0007 | PN-MO-0005-9000
Roediger, Brendan D. (Missouri)
PN-MO-0005-0001 | PN-MO-0005-0007 | PN-MO-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hodzic, Christine L. (Missouri)
PN-MO-0005-9000
Hughes, Michael E. (Missouri)
PN-MO-0005-0007
Isaacson, Robert J. (Missouri)
PN-MO-0005-0007
Lawson, Mark Edward (Missouri)
PN-MO-0005-0007
Other Lawyers None on record

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