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Compton v. City of Harrodsburg

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

October 2, 2013

SAMANTHA COMPTON, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF HARRODSBURG, KENTUCKY, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOSEPH M. HOOD, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon a Joint Motion to Reconsider [D.E. 50] filed by Defendants City of Harrodsburg and Ernie Kelty, in his individual capacity. The Court having reviewed the Motion, and being otherwise sufficiently advised, this matter is now ripe for review.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants on September 25, 2012, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging Constitutional violations, as well as state law violations, arising out of Plaintiff's sexual relationship with a member of the City of Harrodsburg Police Department. [D.E. 1]. The Court previously dismissed several parties, as well as several of Plaintiff's claims. [D.E. 24]. Defendants City of Harrodsburg and Ernie Kelty, in his individual capacity, then sought leave from this Court to file a third-party complaint against Rodney and Deanna Compton, the parents of Plaintiff. [D.E. 47]. The Court construed the third-party complaint as one seeking indemnity and contribution, and denied Defendants' Motion for Leave to file the third-party complaint. [D.E. 49]. Defendants have filed a new Motion, asking the Court to reconsider its denial of leave to file the third-party complaint and clarifying that Defendants are seeking apportionment. [D.E. 50].

II. Standard of Review

"District courts have inherent power to reconsider interlocutory orders and reopen any part of a case before entry of a final judgment." Mallory v. Eyrich, 922 F.2d 1273, 1282 (6th Cir. 1991) (citing Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. v. United States, 320 U.S. 1, 47-48 (1943)). Courts grant a motion to reconsider "when there is (1) an intervening change of controlling law; (2) new evidence available; or (3) a need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice." Rodriguez v. Tenn. Laborers Health & Welfare Fund, 89 F.Appx. 949, 959 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing Reich v. Hall Holding Co., 990 F.Supp. 955, 965 (N.D. Ohio 1998)).

III. Analysis

As to the indemnity claims, the Court does not find that Defendants have presented a change of law, new evidence, or manifest injustice that would warrant reconsidering its prior Order. However, the Court will address each of Defendants contentions in an attempt to clarify the findings in its previous Order. Thus, as to the indemnity claims, the previous Order [D.E. 49] stands as entered. Previously, the Court construed Defendants' third-party complaint as one seeking contribution, rather than apportionment, based on the language used in the third-party complaint. [D.E. 49 at 4]. Through their Motion to Reconsider, Defendants have informed the Court that apportionment, rather than contribution, is what they intended to plead. [D.E. 50 at 6]. The Court finds that Defendants have preserved their right to have fault apportioned on the state law claims.

A. Indemnity

Defendants do not assert any valid claims for indemnity. Defendants have not asked the Court to reconsider its finding that indemnity was not proper for any liability on claims arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [D.E. 50 at 4]. Thus, the Court will only assess the availability of indemnity for the state law claims.

"A right to total indemnity may exist if the joint tortfeasors are not in pari delicto and the party secondarily negligent asserts a claim against the one primarily negligent." Lexington Country Club v. Stevenson, 390 S.W.2d 137, 143 (Ky. 1965) (citing Brown Hotel Co. v. Pittsburgh Fuel Co., 224 S.W.2d 165 (Ky. 1949)). In Kentucky, indemnity will lie in two situations:

(1) Where the party claiming indemnity has not been guilty of any fault, except technically, or constructively, as where an innocent master was held to respond for the tort of his servant acting within the scope of his employment; or (2) where both parties have been in fault, but not in the same fault, towards the party injured, and the fault of the party from whom indemnity is claimed was the primary and efficient cause of the injury.

Degener v. Hall Contr. Corp., 27 S.W.3d 775, 780 (Ky. 2000). The Defendants' seek leave to file a third-party complaint asserting indemnity based upon potential liability for the following state law claims: (1) a tort of outrage claim against Defendant Kelty; (2) a general negligence claim against Defendants; (3) negligent training, supervision, and retention claims against Defendants; (4) negligent screening and hiring claims against Defendant Kelty; and (5) an alleged statutory violation of KRS 620.030, made actionable by KRS 446.070, ...


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