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Gray v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

July 1, 2013

COREY CHARLES GRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
LEXINGTON-FAYETTE URBAN COUNTY GOVERNMENT, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DANNY C. REEVES, District Judge.

This matter is pending for consideration of Defendants Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government's ("LFUCG"), LFUCG Detention Center's, LFUCG Division of Police Chief Ronnie Bastin's, LFUCG Division of Police Officer Elizabeth Adams', and LFUCG Division of Police Officer William Persley's motion to dismiss.[1] [Record No. 9] On June 10, 2013, the Court gave notice of its intention to convert the motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment and gave Plaintiff Corey Charles Gray fourteen days to submit any additional materials relevant to the summary judgment analysis. [Record No. 14] On June 24, 2013, Gray filed a supplement to his response, which included two additional documents for consideration. [Record No. 15] For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant summary judgment and dismiss the claims asserted by Gray.

I.

This matter arises from Gray's arrest and conviction for the May 18, 2010, robbery of a Subway Restaurant. Officers Adams and Persley conducted an investigation of the robbery. On May 20, 2010, a witness identified Gray as the perpetrator. Based on this identification, Gray was arrested and the officers obtained a search warrant for his home. On March 18, 2011, while Gray was confined at the LFUCG Detention Center ("Detention Center"), he suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage, a type of stroke. [Record No. 8 ¶ 11] Gray was sent to a medical unit for monitoring when he began exhibiting symptoms of the stroke. Approximately forty-eight minutes later, the Detention Center contacted the Lexington Fire & Emergency Services to provide emergency medical care. [ Id. ] Gray has since been awarded Social Security disability benefits as a result of the stroke. [ Id. ¶ 12] On January 12, 2012, Gray pleaded guilty to the charge of second degree robbery. Thereafter, he was given a suspended sentence of five years imprisonment and placed on probation. [ Id. ]

Gray filed suit on February 18, 2013. [Record No. 1] In his Amended Complaint, Gray alleges that the Detention Center failed to reasonably respond to his medical condition and unreasonably delayed providing necessary medical care. He contends that he was denied care for his serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Further, Gray asserts a claim for the denial of his due process rights under the Fourth Amendment on the ground that the identification procedure used by Officers Adams and Persley was "so unduly prejudicial as to taint [his] identification and arrest." [Record No. 8 ¶ 19] The Amended Complaint also contains a claim against LFUCG for failure to train and failure to supervise, as well as a claim for municipal liability. Gray seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, costs, and attorney's fees.

II.

Although the defendants originally sought to dismiss Gray's claims under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, they relied on a number of matters outside the pleadings. Thus, the Court converted the motion to a motion for summary judgment in accordance with Rule 12(d). Gray challenges this decision in his response to the June 10, 2013 Notice. [Record No. 14] However, contrary to Gray's assertions, this is an appropriate use of the Court's authority under Rule 12(d). See Logar v. W.Va. Univ. Bd. of Governors, 493 F.Appx. 460, 461-62 (4th Cir. 2012) (affirming district court's conversion of motion to dismiss to motion for summary judgment where the court "provided notice to the parties of its intention to convert the motions, and allowed the parties an opportunity to submit any additional information regarding the statute of limitations issue); see also Wolfe v. Alexander, No. 3:11-0751, 2012 WL 7060841, at *2 (M.D. Tenn. July 5, 2012); Bell v. Zuercher, No. 10-72-ART, 2012 WL 1868391, at *1 (E.D. Ky. May 22, 2012); cf. Bruce v. Corr. Med. Servs., Inc., 389 F.Appx. 462, 465 (6th Cir. 2010) (finding abuse of discretion where district court converted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to a motion for summary judgment without notice to the pro se petitioner).

The cases cited by Gray in opposition to conversion of the defendants' motion are inapposite, as they do not address the application of Rule 12(d). For example, in Buckingham v. United States, 998 F.2d 735 (9th Cir. 1993), the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court's sua sponte entry of summary judgment due to its failure to provide adequate notice to the defendant. Id. at 742. And in LaBounty v. Coughlin, 137 F.3d 68 (2d Cir. 1998), the Second Circuit reversed a district court's grant of summary judgment and remanded the case with directions to determine whether the defendants had produced certain documents requested by the plaintiff and, if not, to allow him the "opportunity to receive the information and to use it to oppose summary judgment." Id. at 72. Gray's reliance on Joseph v. Patterson, 795 F.2d 549 (6th Cir. 1986), is similarly misplaced, as that case involved a district court's grant of a motion to dismiss, not a motion for summary judgment. Id. at 550. Finally, Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510 (7th Cir. 1990), concerned a district court's entry of summary judgment on the merits of a claim, despite the fact that discovery had been limited exclusively to an entirely different issue. Id. at 1519 ("[W]e must stress the unusual posture in which we confront this claim."). This case does not stand for the proposition, as Gray suggests, that "where there has been no discovery allowed, the Court must use the [Rule] 12(b) standard for review." [Record No. 15, p. 3] Such a requirement would render Rule 12(d) superfluous, as it would almost never be appropriate to convert a motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment.

Accordingly, the Court will consider the matters raised in the defendants' motion to dismiss under the standards applicable to motions for summary judgment. Entry of summary judgment is required when "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of showing conclusively that no genuine issue of material fact exists. CenTra, Inc. v. Estrin, 538 F.3d 402, 412 (6th Cir. 2008). Once the moving party has met its burden of production, its opponent must "do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.'" Sigler v. Am. Honda Motor Co., 532 F.3d 469, 483 (6th Cir. 2008) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)). Instead, the nonmoving party must present "significant probative evidence" of a genuine dispute in order to defeat the motion for summary judgment. Chao v. Hall Holding Co., 285 F.3d 415, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). In deciding whether to grant summary judgment, the Court views all the facts and inferences drawn from the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587.

III.

The defendants assert that Gray's claims are time-barred. In an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Court must apply the state's "general or residual statute for personal injury actions." Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235, 250 (1989). In Kentucky, § 1983 claims are governed by the one-year statute of limitations contained in section 413.140(1)(a) of the Kentucky Revised Statutes ("KRS"). Collard v. Ky. Bd. of Nursing, 896 F.2d 179, 182 (6th Cir. 1990). However, "federal law governs the question of when that limitations period begins to run." McCune v. City of Grand Rapids, 842 F.2d 903, 905 (6th Cir. 1988). Under federal law, a cause of action accrues when the plaintiff "knew or should have known of the injury which forms the basis of [his] claims." Ruff v. Runyon, 258 F.3d 498, 500 (6th Cir. 2001). "A plaintiff has reason to know of his injury when he should have discovered it through the exercise of reasonable diligence." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

The defendants maintain that the one-year statute of limitations had run for both of Gray's primary claims well before he filed suit on February 18, 2013. Gray counters that he did not discover the basis for his claims until a later date. Additionally, he contends that the statute of limitations was tolled for both causes of action. On June 24, 2013, Gray filed the following documents in support of his arguments: (1) an affidavit by Gray; and (2) a statement by Practical Nurse Larry Thomas, Jr., regarding the standard of care for a patient exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a stroke.[2] [Record Nos. 15-1, 15-2]

As an initial matter, the Court rejects Gray's assertion that the statute of limitations for both causes of action were tolled until his conviction on March 14, 2012. [Record No. 15, pp. 1-2] Although he cites two cases for this proposition, neither compels the result he urges. First, Ragland v. DiGiuro, 352 S.W.3d 908 (Ky. Ct. App. 2010), is readily distinguishable from the facts and procedural posture of this action. In Ragland, the Kentucky Court of Appeals declined to apply the one-year statute of limitations to a wrongful death action, concluding that "the public policy of this Commonwealth would be furthered by allowing the family of a murder victim to wait until conviction of a defendant before filing suit." Id. at 911. This case does not purport to apply to all cases in which one of the parties is the defendant in a separate criminal action, as Gray seems to argue. Therefore, it does not support the assertion that his claims were tolled until the date of his conviction.

Reliance on Pedigo v. Breen, 169 S.W.3d 831 (Ky. 2004), is similarly misplaced. In Pedigo, the Kentucky Supreme Court considered the accrual of a cause of action for professional negligence and held that the statute of limitations begins to run when "the underlying case is final and non-appealable." Id. at 833. Because Gray has not brought a malpractice claim against his attorney in the state-court matter - indeed, he has not ...


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