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Roggenbauer v. Limoges

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

November 3, 2015

DAN LIMOGES, Sherriff at Union County Jail, in his individual and official capacity, Defendant.


LAWRENCE L. PIERSOL, District Judge.


Plaintiff, Jerad Paul Roggenbauer, filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that Dan Limoges violated his constitutional rights. Plaintiff is an inmate at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This Court screened Roggenbauer's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons below, his complaint survives screening.


In November 2014, Roggenbauer was incarcerated at the Union County Jail. Docket 1 at 4. He alleges he protested the denial of his constitutional rights, and Union County Jail employees assaulted him in response. Id. Roggenbauer alleges Limoges and another officer held his arms, and Limoges ordered a third officer to tase him. Id. After defendant let Roggenbauer go, he ordered another officer to shoot Roggenbauer with taser darts. Id. Limoges then put Roggenbauer in a restraint chair, restrained him, told him he "messed with the wrong people, " punched him in the face, and tased him three more times. Id. at 5. Roggenbauer believes this was done because he was arrested by a relation of Limoges. Id.

Roggenbauer is now incarcerated in SDSP. He filed this complaint on October 8, 2015. Docket 1. He raises claims of retaliation and excessive force against Limoges. Id. at 4-5. He claims injuries of taser burns, taser dart holes, an injured jaw, slight bruising, and mental deterioration. Id. at 4-5, 7. In relief, Roggenbauer requests compensation for his injuries.


The court must accept the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Schriener v. Quicken Loans, Inc., 774 F.3d 442, 444 (8th Cir. 2014). Civil rights and pro se complaints must be liberally construed. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Bediako v. Stein Mart, Inc., 354 F.3d 835, 839 (8th Cir. 2004). Even with this construction, "a pro se complaint must contain specific facts supporting its conclusions." Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985); Ellis v. City of Minneapolis, 518 F.Appx. 502, 504 (8th Cir. 2013). Civil rights complaints cannot be merely conclusory. Davis v. Hall, 992 F.2d 151, 152 (8th Cir. 1993); Parker v. Porter, 221 F.Appx. 481, 482 (8th Cir. 2007).

A complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations... [but] requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "If a plaintiff cannot make the requisite showing, dismissal is appropriate." Abdullah v. Minnesota, 261 F.Appx. 926, 927 (8th Cir. 2008); Beavers v. Lockhart, 755 F.2d 657, 663 (8th Cir. 1985).


Liberally construed, Roggenbauer raises claims under the 8th and 14th Amendments for excessive force and retaliation.

I. Excessive Force

A pretrial detainees' right to be free from excessive force arises under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Edwards v. Byrd, 750 F.3d 728, 732 (8th Cir. 2014) (citing Putman v. Gerloff, 639 F.2d 415, 419 (8th Cir. 1981)). "[T]he Due Process Clause affords pretrial detainees at least as much protection as the Eighth Amendment provides to convicted prisoners." Id. (citing Owens v. Scott Cty. Jail, 328 F.3d 1026, 1027 (8th Cir. 2003)). If the alleged use of force violates the Eighth Amendment, it necessarily violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Id. Roggenbauer's incarceration status is not clear from his complaint. At this stage, however, it does not matter because his complaint states a claim under the Eighth Amendment.

"When confronted with a claim of excessive force alleging a violation of the Eighth Amendment, the core judicial inquiry is whether force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.'" Santiago v. Blair, 707 F.3d 984, 990 (8th Cir. 2013) (quoting Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 7 (1992)). Roggenbauer's complaint alleges force that was maliciously meant to cause harm. He claims he was beaten and tased while restrained because Limoges was related to the officer who arrested him. ...

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