United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter comes before the Court upon Motion by Defendant Jason
Newby (“Defendant”) to dismiss all claims against
him for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
The time has passed for Plaintiff Leslie Duncan
(“Plaintiff”) to respond. This matter is ripe for
adjudication. For the following reasons, Defendant's
Motion [DN 6] is GRANTED in part and DENIED in
following Background section is taken from Plaintiff's
Complaint, the veracity of which is assumed for purposes of a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion, as explained below. This case arises
out of a criminal investigation and, later, a criminal
prosecution in Christian County, Kentucky, which spanned from
the 1990s into the 2010s. Plaintiff was formerly a police
officer in the town of Oak Grove, which is located in
Christian County. [DN 1, at 3.] In the 1990s, an
establishment known as the New Life Massage Parlor was open
and operating there. [Id.] According to Plaintiff,
the massage parlor was actually a prostitution business.
the early morning hours of September 20, 1994, Ed Carter,
co-defendant in the [ensuing] criminal prosecution and part
time janitor at the New Life Massage Parlor, left the
parlor.” [Id. at 4.] At around 3:00 a.m.,
“three of the five massage parlor employees left the
parlor, leaving the two remaining employees alone in the
building.” [Id.] At 3:45 a.m., those three
employees returned to the building, where “they found
the two remaining employees shot and stabbed in one of the
massage rooms.” [Id.] This double murder was
initially tasked to the Oak Grove Police Department, where
Plaintiff was the lead investigating detective.
[Id.] Plaintiff was present at the crime scene in
the wake of the murders. [Id.] “Shortly
thereafter, the Christian County Sheriffs Department took
over the investigation.” [Id.] In 2006, the
case, still unsolved, was transferred to the Kentucky State
Police. [Id. at 5.] The case was assigned to
November 2013, Defendant secured an indictment in Christian
County against Plaintiff and two other individuals after
testifying before a grand jury there. [Id.] These
two other individuals were former Oak Grove police officer Ed
Carter and a man named Frank Black. [Id.] Plaintiffs
Complaint alleges that Defendant made “materially false
statements and/or omissions…with reckless disregard
for the truth” while testifying before the grand jury.
[Id.] These statements, according to Plaintiff,
include but are not limited to the following:
. Newby testified that he interviewed Tammy
Papler [an owner of the massage parlor] who said it was
common knowledge that Ed Carter was wanting to take over the
massage parlor business. That statement is false. In
addition, there was no written statement from Newby regarding
an interview of Tammy Papler.
. Newby testified, ‘My opinion is he
went there, too. He saw the girls leave, contacted Mr. Black,
said there's two left in there.' This statement is
false and/or made with a reckless disregard for the truth.
There was no evidence of Carter seeing girls leave the
massage parlor, no evidence that Carter contacted Mr. Black,
and no evidence as to what statement Carter made to Mr. Black
on the fabricated phone call.
. Newby testified that Carter's then
wife, Carol, made statements that when Carter got home that
night he was washing clothes which she thought was very odd.
Carol's interview with the [FBI] makes no mention of
Carter washing clothes that night or that Carol thought that
washing clothes was odd. Newby never interviewed Carol.
. Newby testified that Carter and his
co-defendant Duncan had been roommates less than a year
before the murders. This statement was false. Carter and
Duncan had not lived together, at the latest, … over
two years prior to the homicides….
. Newby testified about a completely
unrelated disappearance that had occurred in Oak Grove in
1992, and testified that Carter was the canine officer
assigned to that case. That statement is false because Carter
did not even become a canine officer until…over two
years later. . Newby testified that evidence
had been lost [and/or] destroyed intentionally by Plaintiff
Duncan during the investigation. Detective Newby had no
evidence to indicate [that] evidence had been lost during the
term under which Oak Grove Police Department manned the
[Id. at 5-7.] “Plaintiff was incarcerated from
November 24, 2013, through September 13, 2016, when he
received a directed verdict of acquittal as to the
charges” against him. [Id. at 7.] Plaintiff
has brought claims against Defendant (1) for malicious
prosecution under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and under Kentucky
common law, and (2) for violations of procedural and
substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution. [Id. at 7-8.] Defendant
has filed the instant Motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) to
dismiss all of Plaintiff s claims against him.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that the plaintiffs
complaint include “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
“Rule 12(b)(6) provides that a complaint may be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted.” Bloch v. Ribar, 156 F.3d 673, 677
(6th Cir. 1998). Crucially, “[w]hen considering a
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, the district court must accept all
of the allegations in the complaint as true, and construe the
complaint liberally in favor of the plaintiff.”
Lawrence v. Chancery Court of Tennessee, 188 F.3d
687, 691 (6th Cir. 1999). This means that, “unless it
can be established beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would
entitle him to relief, ” the motion should be denied.
Achterhof v. Selvaggio, 886 F.2d 826, 831 (6th Cir.
1989). “However, the Court need not accept as true
legal conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences.”
Blakely v. United States, 276 F.3d 853, 863 (6th
Cir. 2002). A “complaint must contain either direct or
inferential allegations respecting all the material elements
to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory.”
Andrews v. Ohio, 104 F.3d 803, 806 (6th Cir. 1997).
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). Thus, 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. The concept
of “plausibility” demands that a complaint
contain sufficient facts “to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.
The element of plausibility is met “when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). However, where the court is unable to
“infer 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
(internal quotation marks omitted).
examining whether Plaintiff has stated a claim upon which
relief can be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), this Court
keeps in mind the following maxim: complaints filed pro
se are “to be liberally construed, ” which
means that “a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976)). Notably though, this Court
is not “willing to abrogate basic pleading essentials
in pro se suits.” Wells v. Brown, 891
F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989) (citing Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972)). This means that, even
where a layperson proceeds pro se, their
“complaint must contain sufficient ...