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Young v. Overly

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

September 29, 2017

SANNIE OVERLY, et al., Defendants.


          Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, United States District Judge.

         Not all disputes are capable of resolution in Federal Court. Here, Plaintiff Geoffrey M. Young ran for Governor in the Democratic Primary. Young takes exception to a variety of actions taken by Democratic Party officials as part of that endeavor. As explained below, even if Young's claims are true, they are not capable of being resolved in this Court of limited jurisdiction. Consequently, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss [R. 15; R. 17; R. 18] will be GRANTED and Young's Motions for Sanctions [R. 28; R. 34; R. 35.] will be DENIED.



         Young alleges a number of violations of various statutes related to his bid for the Democratic nomination for Governor. Even construing his claims liberally, addressing Mr. Young's various concerns is difficult. There are multiple avenues this Court could take to dismiss all of his claims, though no arguments in the alternative will be fully fleshed out here. As one example, many, if not all of Mr. Young's complaints are likely barred by res judicata.

         Young filed his original complaint on August 19, 2016, and an amended complaint on October 28, 2016. The amended complaint is nearly identical to his original complaint, except for repeated references to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, in an apparent attempt to rectify the issues identified by Defendants in their original Motions to Dismiss. [R. 9; R. 10; R. 11.]

         Essentially, Young alleges that Defendants violated his Constitutional right to run for chairperson or vice-chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party and the Fayette Democratic Party [R. 19-1 at 36, 37.] He makes various arguments related to how meetings were conducted in secret and inappropriately. [Id. at 38.] Young also makes allegations that Defendants violated criminal statutes.

         For all of these violations, Young seeks general, compensatory, and special damages; punitive damages; emergency injunction; and any other relief the Court deems proper. [See R. 19-1.] Young also requests a settlement conference and for this Court to freeze all assets of the KDP and FCDP, among other requests. [See id.]


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a defendant to seek dismissal of a complaint which fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In making such a motion, “[t]he defendant has the burden of showing that Young has failed to state a claim for relief.” DirecTV, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Carver v. Bunch, 946 F.2d 451, 454-55 (6th Cir. 1991)). Federal Rule 8 requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). However, to survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint “must contain either direct or inferential allegations” establishing each material element required for recovery under some actionable legal theory. Bishop v. Lucent Technologies, Inc., 520 F.3d 516, 519 (6th Cir. 2008) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).

         When reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court “construe[s] the complaint in the light most favorable to Young, accept[s] its allegations as true, and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in favor of Young.” DirecTV, Inc., 487 F.3d at 476 (citation omitted). The Court, however, “need not accept as true legal conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences.” Id. (citation omitted). Moreover, “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) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In other words, the facts that are pled must rise to the level of plausibility, not just possibility - “facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability . . . stop[ ] short of the line between possibility and plausibility.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). According to the Sixth Circuit, “[a] claim has facial plausibility when Young pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” DirecTV, Inc., 487 F.3d at 476 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Thus, Young must at least “provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief, [which] requires more than labels and conclusions. . . .” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

         When ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a district court generally may not consider matters presented outside the pleadings unless it converts the motion into one for summary judgment under Rule 56. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d); Heinrich v. Waiting Angels Adoption Servs., Inc., 668 F.3d 393, 405 (6th Cir. 2012). The district court, however, also has the discretion to ignore such evidence and resolve the motion solely on the basis of the pleadings. Heinrich, 668 F.3d at 405; Max Arnold & Sons, LLC v. W.L. Hailey & Co., Inc., 452 F.3d 494, 502-03 (6th Cir. 2006) (collecting cases). Certain matters beyond the allegations in the complaint, such as “matters of public record, orders, items appearing in the record of the case, and exhibits attached to the complaint, also may be taken into account.” Amini v. Oberlin College, 259 F.3d 493, 502 (6th Cir. 2001) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Additionally, the Sixth Circuit has held that when a defendant attaches undisputed documents to a motion to dismiss, they “are considered part of the pleadings if they are referred to in Young's complaint and are central to [his] claim.” Id. (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

         Finally, pro se pleadings are held to “less stringent standards” and are “entitled to liberal construction, ” which “requires active interpretation in some cases to construe a pro se petition to encompass any allegation stating federal relief.” ...

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