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Jones-Bey v. Conrad

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

February 20, 2017

CHIEF STEVE CONRAD et al ., Defendants.


          David J. Hale, Judge

         This pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action was opened on November 18, 2016. This matter is before the Court for initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the reasons that follow, the action will be dismissed in part and allowed to continue in part.


         Plaintiff brings this action against four Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officials in both their official and individual capacities. These individuals are LMPD Chief Steve Conrad and LMPD Officers Thomas Franklin, D. Slovak, and N. Benge.

         Plaintiff first alleges that on or about June 18, 2016, he was stopped for speeding. He states that he was then arrested on outstanding warrants and that a “warrantless impound order” was issued for his vehicle by Defendant Benge even though Plaintiff was not intoxicated, and he offered to have a family member retrieve his vehicle. Plaintiff states that he ultimately secured the release of his vehicle on or about June 21, 2016, at a cost of $177.00.

         Plaintiff next alleges that on or about July 7, 2016, Plaintiff was again subjected to a traffic stop for “allegedly failing to use a turn signal and having a defective headlight.” Plaintiff continues: “This racially profiled stop search and seizure/arrest of Plaintiff and his vehicle was ordered/executed by . . . Defendants Franklin, Slovak, and Benge.” Plaintiff states that his vehicle was “legally parked at a mutual acquaintance's house” and that a family member was willing to retrieve his vehicle. Plaintiff further states that he was not intoxicated and that “there was no evidence of additional crimes inside of the vehicle that may have been removed by family.” Plaintiff then writes that all charges related to these two arrests and impoundments were dismissed on July 26, 2016, except “Escape 2nd.” Plaintiff seems to claim that his second stop and arrest and both impoundments violated his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.[1]

         Plaintiff then states that “Chief Conrad is responsible for the promulgation and enforcement of the rules, by-laws, regulations, orders, policies, and procedures governing the LMPD acting under ‘color of state law.'”

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.


         Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, but is no longer incarcerated, the Court must review this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). This statute requires a district court to dismiss a case at any time if it determines that the action 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. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         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)). “[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). However, while liberal, this standard of review does require more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions. See 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).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Section 1983 creates no substantive rights but merely provides remedies for deprivations of rights established elsewhere. Flint ex rel. Flint v. Ky. Dep't of Corr., 270 F.3d 340, 351 (6th Cir. 2001). Two elements are required to state a claim under § 1983. Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). “A plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). “Absent either element, a § 1983 claim will not lie.Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991)

         A. ...

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