United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. STIVERS, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss/for Summary Judgment (DN 25), Defendants'
Combined Motion for Summary Judgment (DN 27), Plaintiff's
Motion to Supplement (DN 30), Plaintiff's Motion for
Deposition by Phone (DN 32), Plaintiff's Motion for
Deposition by Phone & Subpoena Duces Tecum (DN 35),
Plaintiff's Supplement to Motion for Deposition by
Telephone (DN 36), Plaintiff's Motions for Extension of
Time (DN 44, 45), Plaintiff's Motions to Reconsider (DN
46, 49), and Defendant's Motion to Join (DN 52). For the
reasons set forth below, Defendants' motions (DN 25, 27)
are DENIED, and Plaintiff's motions and
Defendant's Motion to Join are DENIED AS
Eric Todd Lyvers (“Plaintiff”) brought this
action against Defendants James Newkirk's
(“Newkirk”), Wally Ritter (“Ritter”),
and Jordan Jones (“Jones”) (collectively
“Defendants”), asserting claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (Compl. 4-5). Plaintiff is an inmate at
the Blackburn Correctional Complex; Newkirk is a Kentucky
State Police Officer; and Ritter and Jones are Edmonson
County Sheriff's Deputies. (Notice Address, DN 28). The
facts set forth below are derived from the pleadings and
public documents of which the Court may take judicial
notice. See Fed. R. Evid. 201(b)(2).
Complaint states that Defendants stopped Plaintiff at a
checkpoint, and then Newkirk “used past history”
to extend the stop and to justify a search of Plaintiff's
pockets, wherein he discovered a spoon and pill capsule.
(Compl. 4). Ritter “personally assisted”
Newkirk's search and subjected the spoon and contents of
the capsule to a chemical test to determine whether those
objects contained trace amounts of narcotics. (Compl. 4-5).
Defendants then informed Plaintiff that the objects tested
positive for methamphetamine and arrested him for: (1)
possession of controlled substance, (2) possession of drug
paraphernalia, (3) operating a motor vehicle under the
influence of alcohol or drugs, and (4) obstructing the
windshield of his vehicle. (Compl. 4-5). After the arrest,
Jones “search[ed] [Plaintiff's] vehicle . . .
.” (Compl. 4- 5).
the Commonwealth of Kentucky initiated criminal proceedings
against Plaintiff. On December 23, 2015, the Edmonson
District Court held a preliminary hearing and found probable
cause to bind Plaintiff over for trial on various charges,
including the charge of driving while under the influence,
189A.010. (Defs. Ritter & Jones' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 3,
DN 27-4). In addition, the Edmonson Circuit Court grand jury
indicted Plaintiff on charges which the judge conducting the
preliminary hearing had found to be supported by probable
cause. (Defs. Ritter & Jones' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 4, DN
27-5). Later, Plaintiff pleaded guilty to operating a motor
vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (Def.
Newkirk's Mot. Dismiss Ex. B, DN 25-3). The Edmonson
Circuit Court sentenced Plaintiff to 30 days'
imprisonment, and the Commonwealth dismissed all other
charges. (Def. Newkirk's Mot. Dismiss Ex. B, DN
25-3; Pl.'s Resp. Newkirk's Mot. Dismiss Mot. Summ.
J. Ex. A, DN 29-1).
serving his sentence, Plaintiff filed this action. Though not
entirely clear, he seems to allege that Defendants violated
federal law when they falsely arrested and imprisoned him
without probable cause. (Compl. 4-5). Further, he appears to
contend that Defendants are liable to him under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 on the grounds that Defendants violated his
Fourth Amendment rights during the course of the traffic
stop. (Compl. 5).
response, Defendants filed motions asking the Court to dismiss
Plaintiff's claims. (Newkirk's Mem. 1-16; Ritter
& Jones' Mem. 1-17). Defendants assert that the
Complaint fails to state a claim pursuant to principles of
collateral estoppel and the Heck doctrine.
(Newkirk's Mem. 5-10; Defs. Ritter & Jones' Mem.
10-14). Further, Newkirk avers that the Complaint should be
dismissed because Plaintiff's guilty plea to the charge
of driving under the influence bars him from challenging his
arrest and any pre-arrest conduct. (Newkirk's Mem.
Defendants filed their dispositive motions, Plaintiff
submitted responses and a number of discovery requests and
motions. Specifically, Plaintiff served Defendants with
requests for production of documents and interrogatories.
(See, e.g., Joint Mot. Stay Disc. Ex. 1, DN 33-1).
Moreover, he moved the Court to permit him to supplement his
response to Newkirk's motion and to allow him to depose
two individuals-Blake Chambers (“Chambers”), a
Commonwealth's Attorney, and
Vent-telephonically. (Pl.'s Mot. Suppl. Resp. Newkirk's
Motion, DN 30; Pl.'s Mot. Dep. Phone, DN 32, 35;
Pl.'s Suppl. Mot. Dep. Phone, DN 36).
receiving service of Plaintiff's discovery requests,
Defendants moved to stay discovery pending the resolution of
their dispositive motions, asserting that many of the
arguments raised in those motions speak to the sufficiency of
the Complaint rather than the facts of the case and that a
finding from the Court that the Complaint fails to state a
claim would render discovery unnecessary. (Joint Mot. Stay
Disc. 1-2, DN 33). On November 7, 2017, this Court granted
Defendants' motion and stayed discovery. (Order, DN 43).
two dispositive motions are pending before this court: (1)
Newkirk's Motion to Dismiss or Motion for Summary
Judgment, and (2) Ritter and Jones' Motion for Summary
Judgment. The subject motions have been fully briefed and are
ripe for adjudication.
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
Section 1983 claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because a
federal question is presented.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Defendants raise arguments in their dispositive motions
claiming entitlement to summary judgment, the Court will only
address Defendants' arguments insofar as they challenge
the sufficiency of the Complaint. Ruling on Defendants'
summary judgment arguments is improper at this time because
Defendants have not yet responded to Plaintiff's
discovery requests and, therefore, Plaintiff has not had an
opportunity to discover facts that might oppose those
arguments. See Cunningham v. Osram Sylvania,
Inc., 221 F. App'x 420, 423 (6th Cir. 2007) (stating
that courts should permit “a period of discovery prior
to ruling on a motion for summary judgment . . . .”
(citation omitted)); see also Vega v. First Fed. Sav.
& Loan Ass'n of Detroit, 622 F.2d 918, 926 (6th
Cir. 1980) (concluding that the trial court erred in granting
summary judgment when non-moving party had not received
responses to discovery requests).
order to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim, a complaint must contain “enough facts to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Traverse Bay Area Intermediate Sch. Dist. v.
Mich. Dep't of Educ., 615 F.3d 622, 627 (6th Cir.
2010) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). When
considering a motion to dismiss, courts must presume all
factual allegations in the complaint to be true and make all
reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
Total Benefits Planning Agency, Inc. v. Anthem Blue Cross
& Blue Shield, 552 F.3d 430, 434 (6th Cir. 2008)
course, a complaint does not state a plausible claim if all
claims asserted are barred as a matter of law. The Sixth
Circuit and sister courts have recognized that a complaint
should be dismissed for failure to state a claim if the
claims in it are barred by preclusion doctrines and other
similar rules. See Scherer v. JP Morgan Chase &
Co., 508 F. App'x 429, 434 (6th Cir. 2012)
(recognizing that a complaint fails to state a claim if
collateral estoppel precludes the claims in it); A.M. v.
City of Detroit, No. CIV.A. 04CV73442, 2006 WL 381646,
at *2 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 16, 2006) (dismissing claim as
Heck-barred during pleading phase); Insight Ky.
Partners II, L.P. v. Louisville/Jefferson Cty. Metro
Gov't, No. ...