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William Jungblom v. Hopkins County

March 20, 2013



This matter is before the Court on Defendant Scott Troutman's Summary Judgment Motion [DN 20]. Also before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendants Hopkins County, Kentucky; Frank Latham; and Scott Troutman [DN 22]. Fully briefed, this matter is ripe for decision. For the following reasons, the motions are GRANTED.


On September 28, 2011, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants in the Hopkins County Circuit Court, seeking recovery for malicious prosecution, unlawful arrest and imprisonment, and a violation of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. At Defendants' request, the case was removed to federal court. Plaintiff's claims arise from his arrest for the offenses of unlawful imprisonment and falsely reporting an incident. The arrest was based on an event that occurred November 8, 2009.

On November 8, 2009, Plaintiff's daughter had a girl friend spend the night at the Jungbloms' residence. The girls were in contact with Eric Logan and Ryan Morris, and they planned to sneak out of the house and meet the boys nearby. At some point, Plaintiff's wife discovered the girls' plan and decided to wake up Plaintiff. Plaintiff took a flashlight and went outside to find the boys. According to the boys, Plaintiff threw a stick or a piece of wood in the road to stop their vehicle, at which point he directed them into the driveway. (Call Resp. Run Report [DN 26-2].) In his deposition, Plaintiff stated that he did not direct the boys into the driveway. (William Jungblom Dep. [DN 22-4] 36.)

According to Plaintiff, he then told the boys to get out of their vehicle. He also told them to get down on their knees, while he expressed his disappointment that they were on his property. (Id. at 23, 27.) Thereafter, Plaintiff called the police and reported that the boys were trespassing. (Id. at 29.) Deputy Ritchie Baldwin of the Hopkins County Sheriff's Department arrived at the scene and wrote the boys citations for criminal trespassing. (See Call Resp. Run Report [DN 26-2].) However, Deputy Baldwin was then informed by Eric Logan's father that Plaintiff had directed the boys onto his property. In his report, Deputy Baldwin states that Plaintiff admitted to engaging in such behavior and that due to his admission, he destroyed the citations. (Id.) The parties went their respective ways.

After this incident, there continued to be disagreements between the Jungblom and Morris families. In August of 2010, a criminal complaint was filed against Ryan Morris' mother, Mary Ann Morris, charging her with unlawful transaction with a minor in the third degree. This complaint was issued after Plaintiff's wife claimed that Morris contacted her daughter against her wishes. After the issuance of this complaint, Mary Ann Morris and her husband contacted Deputy Scott Troutman.*fn1 According to Deputy Troutman, since Plaintiff's family refused to leave the Morris family alone, the Morris family decided to press charges against Plaintiff for their son's unlawful imprisonment on November 8, 2009. Deputy Troutman also contacted Eric Logan's parents, who indicated that they too wanted charges pursued. (See KYIBRS Report [DN 20-3] 4.)

Thereafter, Deputy Troutman contacted the Hopkins County Attorney's office regarding the possibility of bringing charges against Plaintiff for the incident that occurred on November 8, 2009. According to individuals in that office, Deputy Troutman was specifically advised that there was no probable cause to pursue such charges. (J. Todd P'Pool Dep. [DN 20-2] 23--25.) Deputy Troutman presents a different story, claiming that he contacted the office several times to inquire as to whether it would prosecute the case but was told that no decision had been made. (KYIBRS Report [DN 20-3] 7.) Regardless, it is clear that a couple of weeks after first taking the case to the County Attorney's office, Deputy Troutman took the case to the Commonwealth Attorney's office, who presented it to a grand jury. The grand jury returned a misdemeanor indictment against Plaintiff for two counts of unlawful imprisonment in the second degree and one count of falsely reporting an incident. An arrest warrant was subsequently issued for Plaintiff. Plaintiff was then arrested and incarcerated.

At this point, there were two criminal actions in litigation: one against Mary Ann Morris and the other against Plaintiff. These cases were heard together on October 21, 2010. At this hearing, the parties agreed to dismiss both cases with prejudice. According to Plaintiff, it was in both parties' best interest to do so. (William Jungblom Dep. [DN 22-4] 88.) Further, Plaintiff acknowledges that there were conversations about the dismissals depending on each other. (Id. at 56.) Plaintiff now claims that Deputy Troutman "engaged in an intentional and malicious course of action to prosecute [him] . . . ." (Compl. [DN 1-2] 2.) He also claims that Sheriff Latham and Hopkins County "failed to properly implement policies and procedures for the investigation and prosecution of potential criminal charges," resulting in Plaintiff's unlawful arrest and incarceration. (Id. at 4.) Defendants filed summary judgment motions. The Court considers these motions below.


Before the Court may grant a motion for summary judgment, it must find that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of specifying the basis for its motion and identifying that portion of the record that demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Once the moving party satisfies this burden, the non-moving party thereafter must produce specific facts demonstrating a genuine issue of fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247--48 (1986).

Although the Court must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the non-moving party must do more than merely show that there is some "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require the non-moving party to present specific facts showing that a genuine factual issue exists by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record" or by "showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute[.]" Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-moving party's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-moving party]." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.



For Plaintiff to succeed on a malicious prosecution claim, he must prove: "(1) the institution or continuation of original judicial proceedings, either civil or criminal . . . , (2) by, or at the instance, of the [defendants], (3) the termination of such proceedings in [the plaintiff's] favor, (4) malice in the institution of such proceeding, (5) want or lack of probable cause for the proceeding, and (6) the suffering of damage as a result of the proceeding." Arnold v. Wilder, 657 F.3d 353, 365 (6th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). Defendants argue that the Court must grant the summary judgment motions because Plaintiff failed to offer ...

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