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Aldridge v. Hampton

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, at Owensboro Division

June 15, 2015



JOSEPH H. McKINLEY, Jr., Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff Charley Ivy Aldridge, a prisoner currently incarcerated at the Western Kentucky Correctional Complex, filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (DN 1). This matter is before the Court for initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007).

For the reasons that follow, the Court will allow the Fourth Amendment excessive-force claim, the Fourth Amendment inappropriate-search claim, and the claims brought under the Kentucky Constitution seeking monetary damages to proceed against Defendant in his individual capacity. All other claims will be dismissed from this action.


Plaintiff sues one Defendant in this action, Mitch Hampton. She identifies the Defendant as a "State Trooper of the Kentucky State Police" and states that he is stationed in Henderson County, Kentucky. Plaintiff sues Defendant in both his individual and official capacities. As relief, she seeks "monetary damages and injunctive relief be left open at this time and to be further negotiated."

Plaintiff states the facts of this action as follows:

On November 3, 2014, the Plaintiff was involved in a police vehicle chase in which she was implicated as a criminal suspect in a fleeing vehicle, along with her boyfriend. The pursuit began in Owensboro (Daviess County), Kentucky, and led to Spotsville (Henderson County), Kentucky. After coming to a stop, the Plaintiff and her botfriend attempted to escape on foot. When Plaintiff exited the vehicle, she hit her head upon the top inside frame, and this significantly reduced her efforts to flee. The Defendant did not consider her slowed evasion; he continued the apprehension very aggressively. He ordered the Plaintiff to get on the ground, and he jumped on her back. She voluntarily placed her hands behind her back, and then after gripping her wrists and placing her in this subservient position, he punched her in the back. This act was unnecessary and uncalled for because Plaintiff had yielded to the arrest at this point since she knew she no longer had any chance to escape. She believes that resisting arrest was a matter of the Defendant's opinion and that he had an exaggerated, or even bias, view of the Plaintiff's actions. So although she showed no struggle, the Defendant continued to use extreme force. He bent her wrists excessively while placing handcuffs on her, and then tightened them twice to the extent of causing her to scream and breaking the skin on her left wrist. At times during the occurrence, the Plaintiff asserts that she was called disrespectful, vulgar names, such as "bitch, " by the Defendant.
When she was lifted from the ground, the Defendant led the Plaintiff to his police vehicle and proceeded to conduct a search of her person. The Plaintiff felt uncomfortable with having a male take it upon himself to place his hands anywhere on the body of a female. The Plaintiff's instincts were correct: he moved his hands about in her breast area to search, and when he searched her back pants pockets, he pinched at them (thus pinching her butt also) instead of patting or smoothing his hand over the pockets to detect whether or not anything was in them.
After the Plaintiff's arrival to the Daviess County Detention Center, she made a brief report of the incident to a guard, Sergeant Jack Jones, who informed her that he unfortunately had no jurisdiction to investigate the complaint. The plaintiff notified the medical staff of her injuries, and they completed a medical report for her. (See attachment: Medical Progress Note, one page). She now has a scar on her wrist, and she was severely bruised. The Plaintiff received a visit from a friend... while at the Daviess County Detention Center, and he took pictures of the injuries. She has been unable to retain copies of these pictures, but she will request that [her friend] be subpoenaed to provide them when proceedings begin.


When a prisoner initiates a civil action seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of it, if it determines that the complaint is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A; McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d at 604. A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 90 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The trial court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Id. at 327. In order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).

"[A] district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true." Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)). "But the district court need not accept a bare assertion of legal conclusions.'" Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995)). The court's duty "does not require [it] to conjure up unpled allegations, " McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a claim for a plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975). To command otherwise would require the Court "to explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the district court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role of an advocate seeking out the strongest arguments and most successful strategies for a party." Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).


A. Federal Constitutional Claims

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