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Jones v. Perry

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Frankfort

September 29, 2017

BRADLEY JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
SUE CAROLE PERRY, individually and in her official capacity as Shelby County Clerk, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          GREGORY F. VAN TATENHOVE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the court on Bradley Jones's Motion for Judgment. [R. 14.] Though Jones makes a specific request for damages, both parties agree that a jury trial is appropriate as to damages only. For the reasons stated below, Jones's Motion for Judgment is DENIED so that a jury can determine appropriate damages.

         I

         Jones filed suit against Defendant Sue Perry on July 28, 2016 for violation of his Fourteenth Amendment right to marry pursuant to 42 U.S.C §1983. [R. 1.] A greater detailing of the facts can be found in the Court's Opinion granting a permanent injunction, but the basic facts follow. [See R. 12.]

         Jones brought this suit because he wanted to marry Kathryn Sauer, who was incarcerated at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women (“KCIW”). No clerk in Kentucky would grant him a marriage license because Sauer, obviously, could not appear in person to obtain the license. [R. 1 at 1.] Defendant Sue Carole Perry, the clerk of Shelby County, Kentucky, where KCIW is located, told Jones that “her office interprets Kentucky law as saying both parties must be present to issue a marriage license.” [Id. at 3.] Jones informed her that his fiancée could not appear at the clerk's office because she was in prison, “but [Perry] still refused to issue a license.” [Id.] Prison officials at KCIW also offered no help. In a letter sent to Jones that same month, Warden Janet Conover informed him that she had “no objection to the marriage, ” but that “both parties must be present [at the clerk's office] to obtain a license and [the prison does] not transport inmates for this reason.” [R. 4-5 at 1.]

         In his complaint, Jones made the following prayer for relief:

1) Declaratory judgment [finding] that KRS § 402.110's in-person requirement, as applied to Mr. Jones, is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution;
2) A preliminary and permanent injunction, without bond, barring Defendant, in her official capacity, from enforcing KRS § 402.110's in-person requirement against Mr. Jones in the future so long as Ms. Sauer's inability to satisfy the in-person requirement is due solely to her incarceration;
3) Judgment in Mr. Jones' favor for his individual capacity claim against Defendant for unlawfully refusing to issue Mr. Jones a marriage license in violating of his fundamental right to marry secured by the Fourteenth Amendment, and an award of monetary damages for Defendant's violation;
4) An award of attorney fees, costs, and expenses incurred in prosecuting this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1998; and 5) All other relief to which Mr. Jones may be entitled.

[R. 1 at 6.]

         On October 18, 2016, this court granted Jones's motion for injunctive relief and permanently enjoined Perry from requiring Sauer to appear at the Shelby County Clerk's Office prior to issuing Jones a marriage license. [R. 12.] This Court gave Perry up to and including Friday, November 4, 2016, to adopt and perform a procedure that will permit Jones and Sauer to obtain a marriage license without physically appearing at the Shelby County Clerk's Office. [Id.]

         The Court's order resolved the First and Second prayers for relief and left open the Third, Fourth, and Fifth prayers, which are now before the Court. Though this Court entered language that this case should be stricken from the docket, it was inadvertent and is now modified.

         Jones alleges in his current motion that he has suffered “significant emotional distress, including anxiety, sleeplessness, feelings of helplessness, and even anger, ” as a result of his rights being deprived. [R. 14 at 2.] Citing no authority, Jones states that he “is entitled to monetary damages” in the amount of “$100 per day that he was prohibited from exercising his constitutional right to marry, from July 14, 2016 to ...


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