United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKinley, Jr., Chief Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss [DN 2]. Fully briefed, this matter is ripe for
decision. For the following reasons, the Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.
Isaiah Smith brings this action to recover for the injuries
he received while in custody of the Louisville Metro
Department of Corrections (LMDC). On June 25, 2016, Smith was
charged with first degree assault and tampering with physical
evidence (Id. ¶ 11.) He was taken into custody
three days later. (Id. ¶ 12.) While in custody,
Smith began to suffer a panic attack. (Id. ¶
16.) Unknown Officers of LMDC slammed Smith to the ground and
put him in a chokehold. (Id. ¶ 17-18.)
Plaintiff claims that he was subdued by the officers and
attempted to comply with as much as his body and their
restrictions would allow. (Id. ¶ 20.)
Nonetheless, Unknown Officers of the LMDC pinned him to the
ground and punched him in the face resulting in Smith's
eye being cut. (Id. ¶ 21-23.) Smith was
transferred to the emergency room to treat his injuries.
(Id. ¶ 24-25.) While in the waiting room at the
hospital, Plaintiff alleges that Unknown Officers of the LMDC
shackled him a pole and intentionally delayed his medical
treatment. (Id. ¶ 27 & 29.)
28, 2017, Smith filed this action in Jefferson County Circuit
Court against LMDC Director Mark Bolton, his deputy Steve
Durham, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, and the Unknown
Officers of LMDC. On August 2, 2017, Defendants jointly
removed the action to this Court on the basis of federal
question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
(Notice of Removal [DN 1] ¶ 2.) Defendants Bolton,
Durham, and Fischer now bring this Motion to Dismiss,
claiming that Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a court “must construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, ”
League of United Latin Am. Citizens v. Bredesen, 500
F.3d 523, 527 (6th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted),
“accept all well-pled factual allegations as true,
” id., and determine whether the
“complaint . . . states a plausible claim for relief,
” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
Under this standard, the plaintiff must provide the grounds
for its entitlement to relief, which “requires more
than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action.” Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A plaintiff
satisfies this standard only when it “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. A complaint
falls short if it pleads facts “merely consistent with
a defendant's liability” or if the alleged facts do
not “permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 679.
Instead, “a complaint must contain a ‘short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.'” Id. at 663 (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). “But where the well-pleaded
facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it
has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is
entitled to relief.'” Id. at 679 (quoting
“matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not
excluded by the court” when ruling upon a motion under
Rule 12(b)(6), the Federal Rules require that “the
motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule
56.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). This Rule does not require the
Court to convert a motion to dismiss into a motion for
summary judgment every time the Court reviews documents that
are not attached to the complaint. Greenberg v. Life Ins.
Co. of Va., 177 F.3d 507, 514 (6th Cir. 1999).
“[W]hen a document is referred to in the complaint and
is central to the plaintiff's claim . . . [, ] the
defendant may submit an authentic copy [of the document] to
the court to be considered on a motion to dismiss, and the
court's consideration of the document does not require
conversion of the motion to one for summary judgment.”
Id. (quotation omitted).
brings four claims against Director Bolton, Assistant
Director Durham, and Mayor Fischer. In Count I, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendments
rights. In Count IV, Plaintiff claims Defendants should be
held liable for the negligence of the Unknown LMDC Officers
through the principles of agency. Count V alleges Defendants
were negligent under KRS 71.020. Lastly, in Count VI,
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants should be held liable for
negligent supervision, hiring and training. The Court will
discuss each in turn.
1983 Claim (Count 1)
first brings a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for
violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. (Compl. ¶ 38.)
The Eighth Amendment imposes a duty on prison officials to
provide humane conditions of confinement and take reasonable
measure to guarantee the safety of prisoners. Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 833 (1994). Yet, this does not
mean that every injury suffered by an inmate amounts to a
constitutional violation by prison officials. Id. at
834. Rather, an inmates' claim of violation of the Eighth
Amendment requires proof that the prison official was
deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious
harm. Id. at 828. For a claim alleging Eighth
Amendment violations based on failure to prevent harm, the
inmate must show that he was incarcerated under conditions
posing a substantial risk of serious harm. Id. at
the Complaint merely states that Defendants were deliberately
indifferent by “placing the Plaintiff in a
situation” where he was exposed to an unreasonable risk
of serious harm. (Compl. ¶ 34.) Yet, Plaintiff alleges
no factual support for these conclusory allegations. In the
facts section of his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he was
seriously injured at the hands of Unknown Officers of LMDC.
But as for the Defendants Fischer, Bolton, and Durham, there
are no assertions that they had any direct knowledge or
involvement in Plaintiff's arrest, detention, alleged
excessive force or alleged failure to treat Plaintiff's
medical needs. There are no allegations which allow the Court
to draw a reasonable inference that these Defendants acted
with deliberate indifference toward the Plaintiff.
argument suggesting that these Defendants are liable by
virtue of the constitutional violations of their subordinates
is equally unavailing. “The Supreme Court has stated
that § 1983 liability cannot be premised on a theory of
respondeat superior.” Leary v. Daeschner, 349
F.3d 888, 903 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Monell v. New York
City Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691
(1978)). Instead, the Sixth Circuit has held that a
supervisor may be liable for the unconstitutional act of a
subordinate under § 1983 only if a plaintiff can prove
that “the supervisor either encouraged the specific
incident of misconduct or in some other way directly
participated in it.” Id. (citing Bellamy
v. Bradley, 729 F.2d 416, 421 (6th Cir. 1984)).
“At a minimum a plaintiff must show ...