University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Whitner v. City of Pagedale CJ-MO-0010
Docket / Court 4:15-cv-01655 ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Criminalization of poverty
Case Summary
On November 4, 2015, residents of Pagedale who had received warnings that they may receive tickets, have been ticketed, or will be ticketed by the city filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiffs sued the City of Pagedale under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ... read more >
On November 4, 2015, residents of Pagedale who had received warnings that they may receive tickets, have been ticketed, or will be ticketed by the city filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiffs sued the City of Pagedale under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 2201, alleging violations of the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs, represented by both private counsel and a public interest law firm, asked the court for certification of their proposed Ticket and Warning Recipients class, declaratory and injunctive relief, nominal damages, and attorneys’ fees.

The plaintiffs claimed that the City of Pagedale used its code enforcement and municipal court to generate revenue, violating the Due Process and Excessive Fines Clauses of the Constitution and abusing the City’s police powers. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the City’s search for revenue resulted in government intrusion into the homes of residents by dramatically increasing the number of non-traffic tickets issued, ticketing for conditions it terms “nuisances,” regulating things not included in its Code, and fining or imprisoning residents for minor infractions (including such things as basketball hoops or dish antennas in the front of houses, not walking on the right side of crosswalks, or wearing one’s pants below the waist in public). The plaintiffs also alleged that Pagedale’s municipal court system, through its opacity and inaccessibility, denies ticketed residents their right of due process.

On December 7, 2015, the City filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ class allegations. On December 21, 2015, the City also moved to dismiss one of the individual plaintiffs' claims for lack of justiciable controversy.

On January 22, 2016, the court (Judge Rodney W. Sippel) denied the City’s motion to strike the class allegations from the plaintiff’s complaint. The court determined that, while the class is quite broad, it does not lack any possible relation or logical connection to the subject matter, so a motion to strike is not appropriate.

As of February 11, 2016, litigation is ongoing.

Katrina Fetsch - 02/10/2016


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Courts
Disciplinary procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Pagedale
Plaintiff Description Residents of Pagedale who have received warnings that they may receive tickets, have been ticketed, or will be ticketed by the city of Pagedale.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Links Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
4:15-cv-01655-RWS (E.D. Mo.) 01/22/2016
CJ-MO-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Civil Rights Class Action Complaint 11/04/2015
CJ-MO-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant City of Pagedale’s Motion to Dismiss Count IV and Plaintiff Mildred Bryant’s Claims from Plaintiffs’ Civil Rights Class Action Complaint 12/21/2015
CJ-MO-0010-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order 01/22/2016 (E.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Sippel, Rodney W. (W.D. Mo., E.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0010-0002 | CJ-MO-0010-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Clark, J. Bennett (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0010-0001 | CJ-MO-0010-9000
House, Joshua (Virginia)
CJ-MO-0010-0001 | CJ-MO-0010-9000
Lanahan, Michael Brendan (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0010-9000
Maurer, William R. (Washington)
CJ-MO-0010-0001 | CJ-MO-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Reichardt, Timothy J. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0010-0003 | CJ-MO-0010-9000
Tangaro, Andrew T. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0010-0003 | CJ-MO-0010-9000
Vitale, Joseph C. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0010-0003 | CJ-MO-0010-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -