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Anderson v. Kentucky One Health, Inc.

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

October 17, 2017

ARTIS ANDERSON PLAINTIFF
v.
KENTUCKY ONE HEALTH, INC., et. al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          THOMAS B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         This matter comes before the Court upon five motions. First, Defendant Kentucky Court of Justice (“Court of Justice”) has filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). [DN 9.] Plaintiff Artis Anderson (“Plaintiff”) has responded, [DN 13], and the time has passed for the Court of Justice to file a reply. Second, Defendant Kentucky One Health, Inc. (“KOH”) has filed a Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). [DN 7.] The time has passed for Plaintiff to file a response. Third, Plaintiff has filed a “RICO Motion.” [DN 15.] Defendants KOH and the Court of Justice have responded, [DN 19, 20], and the time has passed for a reply. Fourth, Plaintiff has filed a Motion to Amend this RICO Motion. [DN 17.] Fifth, Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment against KOH. [DN 12.] KOH has responded, [DN 14], and the time has passed for a reply. For the following reasons the two motions of Defendants [DN 7, 9] are GRANTED, and Plaintiff's three motions [DN 12, 15, 17] are DISMISSED AS MOOT.

         I. The Court of Justice's Motion to Dismiss

         A. Legal Standard

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), pleadings, including complaints, must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” As such, a complaint may be attacked for failure “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted” under Rule 12(b)(6). When examining a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must presume that all the factual allegations in the complaint are true and will draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Total Benefits Planning Agency v. Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 552 F.3d 430, 434 (6th Cir. 2008). “The court need not, however, accepted unwarranted factual inferences, ” id., nor must it “accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Also, “[w]hen a court is presented with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, it may consider the Complaint and any exhibits attached thereto…and exhibits attached to the defendant's motion to dismiss so long as they are referred to in the Complaint and are central to the claims contained therein.” Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008).

         Further, although a “complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted). Rather, the plaintiff's “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Id. (internal citations omitted). The complaint should contain sufficient facts “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. Plausibility attaches “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Thus, if the court cannot infer from the well-pleaded facts “more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but has not show[n]-that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 679. “Only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.” Id.

         B. Discussion

         Plaintiff's prayer for relief against the Court of Justice in his first Complaint seeks entry of a declaratory judgment finding the Court of Justice to be an unconstitutionally functioning agency of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. [DN 1, at 18.] Plaintiff has since amended his Complaint, but incorporated the original one. [See DN 6.] The impetus of Plaintiff's claim against the Court of Justice is that specific judges in the state of Kentucky have rendered unfavorable rulings against him in an illegal and/or unconstitutional fashion.

         He alleges in the section of his Complaint entitled “Statement of the Case” that “[s]everal state court actions have been filed by the Plaintiff seeking relief and all or most have been denied and the state judges making the decisions to deny relief have ignored controlling state statutes, state appellant [sic] court opinions, the Constitution of the United States, International treaties, and United States Supreme Court opinions….[1] [DN 1, at 5.] And when Plaintiff arrives at the section aimed specifically at the Court of Justice, he goes on to describe in detail prior proceedings before Woodford County, Kentucky Circuit Judge Paul Isaacs and Woodford County District Court Judge Vanessa Dickson. [Id. at 7-8.] He alleges, among other things, that they rendered their judgments against him without properly considering relevant statutes and case law, and without sufficient evidence to rule the way that they did. He concludes by stating that “[f]ailing to follow the Constitution and Supreme Court's opinion[s] is a violation of a judge's oath of office, ” and that “state courts cannot rely upon state law or local rules of court to avoid protecting constitutional rights.” [Id. at 8-9.]

         Plaintiff's Amended Complaint largely mirrors the general thrust of the allegations in his original Complaint. Here, he alleges further that Judges Dickson and Jeff Moss, a Family Court judge, relied upon “false allegations of neglect and abuse” of Ms. Mary Ellen Reynolds (“Ms. Reynolds”), [2] thereby “depriv[ing] the Plaintiff of his Constitutional rights….” [DN 6, at 3.] He claims that “Judge Dickson violated at least five (5) Kentucky state statutes” in rendering her judgment that CHFS should be appointed as Ms. Reynolds' guardian, thus “violat[ing] the law, ” “los[ing] jurisdiction, ” and rendering “her judgments….VOID.” [Id. at 4.] Plaintiff alleges that the appointment of CHFS as guardian amounts to Judge Dickson having stolen Ms. Reynolds' assets and given them to the state of Kentucky. [Id.] Further, Plaintiff alleges that Judge Moss “knowingly, intentionally, or neglectedly [sic] ignored controlling law” when he admitted certain testimony in court before annulling Plaintiff's marriage to Ms. Reynolds. [Id. at 9.] This, Plaintiff alleges, denied him his Constitutional right to be married. [Id.] Finally, Plaintiff argues that the disregard shown to both himself and to Ms. Reynolds and their marriage amounts to a lack of enforcement of the laws and “[t]he Kentucky Court of Justice is [therefore] an unconstitutionally functioning agency of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.” [Id. at 9-10.]

         “Sovereign immunity is the privilege of the sovereign not to be sued without its consent.” Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy v. Stewart, 563 U.S. 247, 253 (2011). Thus, “[a] State may waive its sovereign immunity at its pleasure…and in some circumstances Congress may abrogate it by appropriate legislation. But absent waiver or valid abrogation, federal courts may not entertain a private person's suit against a State. Id. at 253-254 (internal citations omitted). Indeed, it is an established principle that “an unconsenting State is immune from suits brought in federal courts by her own citizens as well as by citizens of another state.” And while “[t]here may be a question…whether a particular suit in fact is a suit against a State, ” “[i]t is clear, of course, that in the absence of consent a suit in which the State or one of its agencies or departments is named as the defendant is proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment.” Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984) (emphasis added). Indeed, “[t]his jurisdictional bar applies regardless of the nature of the relief sought.” Id. at 100-01 (citing Missouri v. Fiske, 290 U.S. 18, 27 (1933) (explaining that this bar applies with equal force to “suits in equity as well as at law.”).

         In Kentucky, “‘[t]he doctrine of sovereign immunity sweeps broadly' to shield the Commonwealth and its agencies from suit, unless it is expressly waived by the Kentucky General Assembly.” Ludwig v. Kentucky Dep't of Military Affairs, No. 13-174-GFVT, 2015 WL 351863, at *4 (E.D. Ky. Jan. 23, 2015) (quoting Withers v. Univ. of Kentucky, 939 S.W.2d 340 (Ky. 1997)). Moreover, waiver will only be found “where stated by the most express language or by such overwhelming implications from the text as [will] leave no room for any other reasonable construction.” Withers, 939 S.W.2d at 346 (quoting Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 673 (1974)). Here, the Court of Justice “constitutes an arm of the state for Eleventh Amendment purposes.” Lowe v. Kentucky Court of Justice, No. 2:14-168-KKC, 2015 WL 1526106, at *3 (E.D. Ky. Apr. 2, 2015) (internal quotation marks omitted). As such, it is “immune from suit [for] damages claims in federal court.” Id. And even though Plaintiff has sought a declaratory judgment, “his allegations are based solely upon alleged past misconduct, and therefore fall outside the exception found in Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908).” Id. (citing Bailey v. Montgomery, 433 F.Supp.2d 806, 810-11 (E.D. Ky. 2006)). Thus, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's claim against the Court of Justice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         C. Conclusion

         Due to the fact that the Court has determined it does not have subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claim against the Court of Justice, this claim must be dismissed.

         II. KOH's ...


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