United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Judge United States District Court
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss (DN 15) and Plaintiff Herran Properties, LLC's
Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (DN 19). As
discussed below, Plaintiff's motion is
GRANTED, and Defendant's motion is
DENIED AS MOOT.
civil rights claims presented in this case arise from the
procedures that Defendantsimplemented to thwart the efforts of
Plaintiff Herran Properties, LLC (“Plaintiff”) to
develop real property it owns in Lyon County, Kentucky.
According to Plaintiff's initial Complaint, some
Defendants-including the Lyon County Fiscal Court, the Lyon
County Attorney, the Lyon County PVA, and the Lyon County
Coroner (collectively, the “County
Defendants”)-believed that an abandoned cemetery exists
on part of Plaintiff's property. (Compl. ¶¶ 14-22,
DN 1). As such, some of the County Defendants, along with
Trooper Eric Fields (“Trooper Fields”) of the
KSP, intruded upon Plaintiff's property without a warrant
to search for gravesites. (Compl. ¶¶ 19-20).
Trooper Fields and the Lyon County Coroner allegedly then
signed affidavits declaring their belief that an abandoned
cemetery existed on Plaintiff's property, and the Lyon
County Attorney used those affidavits to obtain an ex
parte order from the Lyon Circuit Court temporarily
enjoining Plaintiff from developing its property. (Compl.
¶¶ 21-22; Aff. Ronnie Patton, DN 1-3; Aff. Eric
Fields, DN 1-3). Presently, the County Defendants are seeking
an order from the Lyon Circuit Court permanently enjoining
Plaintiff from developing its property. (Compl. ¶ 24).
on this conduct, Plaintiff filed the instant action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the County Defendants,
Trooper Fields, and the KSP violated either the Fourth or
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution. In particular, Plaintiff claimed that the
County Defendants violated the Fourteenth Amendment when they
deprived Plaintiff of the use of its property without due
process, and that the Lyon County PVA and Coroner, along with
the KSP and Trooper Fields, violated the Fourth Amendment
when they searched Plaintiff's property without a
warrant. (Compl. ¶¶ 24-35). Plaintiff listed money
damages as the proper remedy for its claims, and also asked
that this Court enjoin the state court proceedings. (Compl.
response, the KSP moved to dismiss the claim against it.
(Def.'s Mot. Dismiss, DN 15). Specifically, the KSP
argued that principles of sovereign immunity prevent it from
being held liable on Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claim.
(Def.'s Mot. Dismiss 3-4).
Plaintiff moved the Court for leave to file an amended
complaint, attaching the proposed Amended Complaint to its
motion. (Pl.'s Mot. Leave File Am. Compl. & Mem. Law
Supp., DN 19; Am. Compl., DN 19-1). In its Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff proffers additional facts (presumably uncovered
through discovery during the state-court proceedings) related
to the existence of an abandoned cemetery on its property.
(See, e.g., Am. Compl. ¶ 24). Plaintiff also
adds two new claims, both of which seek monetary relief: a
Fifth Amendment “takings” claim against the Lyon
County PVA and a claim against the KSP for failing to train
Trooper Fields properly. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 50-65).
then filed a joint response to Plaintiff's motion to
amend. (Defs.' Resp. Pl.'s Mot. Leave Am. Compl., DN
20 [hereinafter Defs.' Resp.]). Defendants argue that
this Court should not grant Plaintiff leave to amend because,
if it does, the County Defendants will be unduly prejudiced.
(Defs.' Resp. ¶¶ 2-5). Defendants also claim
that the Eleventh Amendment bars the claims Plaintiff asserts
against the KSP in its proposed Amended Complaint, and, as
such, granting leave so as to include such claims would be
futile. (Defs.' Resp. ¶ 6).
action arises under the laws of the United States and the
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1331 and 1367.
Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend the
seeks this Court's permission to amend its initial
complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2) provides that “a party
may amend its pleading only with the . . . the court's
leave.” Although Rule 15(a)(2) states that “[t]he
court should freely give leave when justice so requires,
” the Court may deny leave to amend on the basis of
undue delay, bad faith by the moving party, undue prejudice
to the non-moving party, or futility of the proposed new
claim. Duggins v. Steak 'N Shake, Inc., 195 F.3d
828, 834 (6th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted).
Defendants-and more specifically, the KSP-argue that
Plaintiff should not be granted leave insofar as Plaintiff
seeks leave to assert the claims against KSP listed as Counts
II and VI of its proposed amended complaint. (Defs.' Resp.
¶ 6). In particular, Defendants assert the Eleventh
Amendment bars those claims because each seeks monetary
damages which would ultimately be paid from public ...