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Mulaosmanovic v. Warren County

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division

March 12, 2018



          Greg N. Stivers, Judge United States District Court.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (DN 7). For the reasons set forth below, the motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Nadir Mulaosmanovic (“Plaintiff”) brought this action against Warren County, Jackie Strode (“Strode”), and Stephen Harmon (“Harmon”) (collectively “Defendants”), asserting that Defendants violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Kentucky law. (Compl. ¶¶ 13-23, DN 1). At all times relevant to this litigation, Plaintiff was an inmate at the Warren County Regional Jail (“WCRJ”), and Strode and Harmon worked as jailers at that facility. (Compl. ¶ 2, 5, 7-8).

         Though not altogether clear, the foundation of the Complaint appears to be that Defendants failed to hire and train qualified persons to work at the WCRJ, as evidenced by the fact that the facility's medical personnel provided Plaintiff with subpar treatment on October 12, 2016. (Compl. ¶ 6). Plaintiff claims that another inmate assaulted him on that date, and that the jailers at the WCRJ “failed to stop the assault, ” causing him to suffer serious injuries to the “left side of his face.” (Compl. ¶¶ 9-10). Plaintiff avers that the WCRJ's unqualified medical staff then failed to treat his injuries and refused to permit him to undergo an x-ray at an outside facility. (Compl. ¶ 12). As evidence of the medical staff's deficient treatment, Plaintiff notes that the Warren District Court permitted him to visit an emergency room on October 14, 2016. (Compl. ¶¶ 13-14). X-rays taken during that visit confirmed that Plaintiff had “fractures on [the] left side of his face, ” for which he underwent surgery. (Compl. ¶¶ 13-14, 16). PLAINTIFF filed this action on October 13, 2017, asserting four claims against Defendants and one claim against an unnamed defendant. (See Compl. ¶¶ 13-23). Strode and Harmon are sued in both their official and individual capacities. (Compl. ¶ 6). Plaintiff claims that Defendants failed to hire qualified employees and train their employees, which constitute: (1) a violation of Section 1983 because the alleged misconduct infringes the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment; (2) negligence and gross negligence;[1] and (3) the tort of outrage. (Compl. ¶¶ 13-21). Plaintiff also charges that Defendants are liable for negligence per se, as aspects of the WCRJ's medical department do not comply with 501 KAR 3:090. (Compl. ¶¶ 22-23). Finally, Plaintiff asserts a medical malpractice claim against an unnamed nurse at WRCJ.[2] (Compl. ¶ 17).

         Defendants have moved to dismiss all claims. (Defs.' Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss 1-12, DN 7-1 [hereinafter Defs.' Mot. Dismiss]). Defendants assert that the statute of limitations bars all of Plaintiff's claims except his claim of outrage. (Defs.' Mot. Dismiss 2-5). They also state as grounds for dismissal that: (1) Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted, and (2) sovereign immunity bars Plaintiff's state law claims against Warren County, as well as the official-capacity state law claims against Strode and Harmon. (Defs.' Mot Dismiss 6-12). The parties have briefed the issues attendant to Defendants' motion, and it is ripe for adjudication.


         This action arises under the laws of the United States, and this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367.


         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” and is subject to dismissal if it “fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the plaintiff must allege “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 omitted) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible “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) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). A claim is implausible if an affirmative defense bars it. Southfield Educ. Ass'n v. Southfield Bd. of Educ., 570 Fed.Appx. 485, 487 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 561-64); Conner v. U.S. Dep't of the Army, 6 F.Supp.3d 717, 722 (W.D. Ky. 2014) (“[A] complaint that shows on its face that relief is barred by the affirmative defense of the statute of limitations is properly subject to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss . . . .” (citation omitted)).


         Defendants argue that the statute of limitations and the doctrine of sovereign immunity bar all of Plaintiff's claims. (Defs.' Mot. Dismiss 2-8). The Court will address each argument.

         A. Statute of Limitations

         The limitations period for Section 1983 actions-as well as for negligence, negligence per se, and medical malpractice claims-is one-year based on Kentucky's personal injury statute of limitations. Collard v. Ky. Bd. of Nursing,896 F.2d 179, 182 (6th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted); Vannoy v. Milum,171 S.W.3d 745, 748 (Ky. 2005) (noting that medical malpractice actions are subject to a one-year limitations period); see also KRS 413.140(1)(a). Federal law “determines when [a Section 1983] cause of action” accrues, state law determines when a state law cause of action accrues, and state tolling laws apply to both inquiries. See Perreault v. Hostetler,884 F.2d 267, 270 (6th Cir. 1989). Under both Kentucky and federal law, “the limitations period begins to run when a plaintiff knew or should have known of the injury that forms the basis of the claim.” See Fox v. DeSoto, 489 F.3d 227, 233 (6th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted); see also McCarty v. Gilchrist,646 F.3d 1281, 1289 (10th Cir. 2011) ...

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