Lindstedt's Lawsuit #3.

Lindstedt vs. Missouri Southern State College et. al.

Alum sues for $1.3 million



A Missouri Southern alumnus is suing the College for $1.3 million and the city of Joplin for $5 million more.

Martin Lindstedt, a December 1984 graduate with a bachelor's of science in business administration, filed a civil rights lawsuit on Nov. 2, 1995, two years to the day after an incident involving a Campus Activities Board guest speaker.

"We have filed preliminary motions to get the case dismissed because we believe the claim is not valid," said Ron Mitchell, College attorney. "You don't have the right to disrupt a guest speaker."

Since Southern was served around the beginning of the year, this "wild claim" is pretty new to the College. No other preparations have been made by Mitchell.

According to Lindstedt, the incident began when he criticized Robert Ressler, a former FBI agent, after his presentation in the Billingsly Student Center. Lindstedt said both men wanted to get the last word in.

At that point, an officer of the Campus Activities Board called campus security, who in Lindstedt's opinion detained him until Joplin police arrived. He is suing the College because he believes he was arrested for criticizing a guest speaker.

Lindstedt said he is also suing the city of Joplin for $5 million because he was arrested for the Joplin "nit-wit" law of obstruction. He claims five police cars pulled up to arrest him the night of Nov. 2, 1993, although he cites only three officers in the lawsuit. He is suing for $1 million for each car there.

"They do this sort of thing all the time," he said. "This time they picked the wrong guy.

"I ve learned how to do a lot of fighting on my own."

This fighting has led him to cases before the Missouri Supreme Court twice, where he lost both times.

"I m not a lawyer," Lindstedt said, "but I have practice in fighting the legal battle and have become a sort of jack-leg lawyer."

He filed as a pauper, which means he would not have to pay any of the court fees. This motion was initially denied, but after an appeal, it was sustained.

Filing as a pauper also allows for legal representation by a court-appointed council: the city attorney.

Named in the lawsuit, besides Southern and Joplin, are Everett Howard, a member of campus security; Andrew Love, a former CAB officer; Doug Carnahan, dean of students; and Gary Arias, Bob Dennis, and Vicki Myers, of the Joplin Police Department, along with two unidentified police officers.

Carnahan was cited because Lindstedt, editor of the Southwest Missouri Libertarian, tried to form a Libertarian organization on campus, had what he believed to be the necessary criteria for that group, and was denied when Carnahan became "ticked off."

Carnahan had no comment to these allegations.

As far as winning the case, Lindstedt is realistic.

"I'm not going to win [the $6.3 million] because there is too much money on the line," he said, "but I'm not going into this to lose."


A longer variation of this article was published in The Chart, The MSSC student newspaper on Feb. 1, 1996.

Legal papers have been exchanged already and battle has begun.

I will post all the legal papers (HTML willing) so that the reader may learn how and how not to file a Title 42 section 1983 Civil Rights lawsuit.

This page last updated March 11, 1996