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Shadburne v. Bullitt County

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

March 28, 2018

TABATHA LYNN SHADBURNE, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
BULLITT COUNTY, KENTUCKY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          David J. Hale, Judge United States District Court

         In this putative class action, Plaintiff Tabatha Lynn Shadburne seeks to represent a class of individuals whom Bullitt County Jailer Martha Knox allegedly strip-searched upon admission to the Bullitt County Jail without reasonable suspicion that they were carrying weapons or contraband, in violation of the United States Constitution. (Docket No. 1, PageID # 1) Defendants move for summary judgment, correctly arguing that recent Supreme Court precedent forecloses that federal claim. (See D.N. 7) In her response to Defendants' motion, as well as various supplemental filings with the Court, Shadburne maintains that Defendants have misconstrued her complaint and that her claim is not barred. (See, e.g., D.N. 10) Defendants have not misconstrued Shadburne's claim, however. Rather, Shadburne recharacterizes her claim in an attempt to amend her complaint through a response to a motion for summary judgment. Because the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not allow this practice, Shadburne's federal claim-as it is pleaded in her complaint-fails as a matter of law. The Court will therefore grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismiss Shadburne's federal claim. Having disposed of the only basis for subject-matter jurisdiction, the Court will decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Shadburne's state-law claims and dismiss those claims without prejudice.

         I. Background

         The following facts are undisputed. (See D.N. 10; D.N. 12) Shadburne was arrested on December 8, 2016, on a bench warrant issued by the Bullitt County Family Court. (D.N. 1, PageID # 5) Prior to her arrest, the Family Court set her bond at $350. (Id.) Shadburne alleges that upon arriving at the Bullitt County Jail, she told the processing officers that she had enough money on her person to post bond. (Id.) Nevertheless, the officers took her to a private room to conduct a strip search as part of the Jail's intake policy. (Id.) After the search, Shadburne was placed in a holding cell with another female detainee. (Id.) Once the officers had finished processing the other detainees in the intake queue, they processed Shadburne's bond payment and released her. (D.N. 12-2)

         In this action, Shadburne seeks to represent all persons “arrested for minor offenses, or no offenses at all, who were required by the Defendants . . . to remove their clothing for a visual inspection on admission to the Jail despite the absence of any reasonable suspicion that they were carrying or concealing weapons or contraband.” (D.N. 1, PageID # 1) Shadburne pursues damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for Defendants' alleged unconstitutional actions. (Id., PageID # 8) She also asserts two claims under Kentucky common law and seeks declaratory judgment and permanent injunctive relief. (Id., PageID # 8-9)

         Defendants move for summary judgment, arguing that Shadburne's federal claim is foreclosed by Supreme Court precedent. (D.N. 7-1) Defendants also move to stay discovery (D.N. 35) and to supplement their motion for summary judgment (D.N. 21). Meanwhile, Shadburne moves to stay resolution of Defendants' motion for summary judgment pending discovery. (D.N. 11) She also moves to supplement her response to Defendants' motion for summary judgment (D.N. 18; D.N. 20; D.N. 39), to lift or stay the protective order established in this case (D.N. 36; D.N. 46), and to compel discovery (D.N. 38).

         II. Standard

         Summary judgment is proper “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). To survive a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must establish a genuine issue of material fact with respect to each element of each of its claims. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323 (1986). Entry of summary judgment is appropriate “against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Id. at 322. For purposes of summary judgment, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Loyd v. Saint Joseph Mercy Oakland, 766 F.3d 580, 588 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)).

         III. Discussion

         A. Section 1983 Claim

         Defendants argue that Shadburne's § 1983 claim is foreclosed by a recent Supreme Court decision. (See D.N. 7-1) In Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington, the Supreme Court held that officials may conduct suspicionless strip searches on detainees committed to the facility's general population without violating the Constitution.[1] 566 U.S. 318, 330-39 (2012). In light of Florence, Shadburne's federal claim fails as a matter of law. First, given her complaint's repeated references to “suspicion” and “reasonable grounds, ” the class allegation that Shadburne asserts in her complaint is the exact claim rejected in Florence. (See D.N. 1, PageID # 1 (“Shadburne files this action . . . on behalf of all persons . . . who were required by the Defendants . . . to remove their clothing . . . despite the absence of any reasonable suspicion that they were carrying or concealing weapons or contraband.” (emphasis added)); id., PageID # 2 (“The class consists of all individuals arrested for minor offenses who were required to remove their clothing for a visual inspection on admission to the jail, despite the absence of any reasonable suspicion that they were carrying or concealing weapons or contraband.” (emphasis added)); id., PageID # 3 (“Plaintiff alleges . . . that Defendants regularly require all persons arrested for non-violent minor offenses . . . to remove their clothing . . . even though there exist[] no reasonable grounds for believing that weapons or contraband have been concealed upon their persons.” (emphasis added))) Second, Shadburne's individual allegation also fails, as it too is the exact claim rejected in Florence. (See D.N. 1, PageID # 5 (“At the time of her arrest and booking . . . [Shadburne] was a . . . woman . . . who had never been charged with a crime in her life . . . and for whom there could be no suspicion, reasonable or otherwise, she carried contraband in her body.” (emphasis added)); id., PageID # 6 (“Neither her behavior, nor her background, gave Defendants any reasonable grounds for believing that she might be carrying or concealing weapons or other contraband.” (emphasis added))

         Recognizing that Florence forecloses her federal claim as it is pleaded in her complaint, Shadburne recharacterizes her claim in her response to Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (See D.N. 10, PageID # 36 (“The Plaintiff's claim is broader than [what was rejected in Florence]: She claims she was strip searched . . . by a jail which lacked authority to detain her at all, because the conditions of her bail, payment of $350.00, w[ere] met the second she walked through the door.”)) She also alleges that she falls outside Florence's scope, as she was not bound for the jail's “general population.” (Id., PageID # 44) But Shadburne may not amend her complaint through arguments in her response to a motion for summary judgment. Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. WM Music Corp., 508 F.3d 394, 400 (6th Cir. 2007); see also Tucker v. Union of Needletrades, Indus. & Textile Emps., 407 F.3d 784, 788 (6th Cir. 2005).[2] In her complaint, Shadburne seeks to represent all persons whom Defendants allegedly strip-searched without reasonable suspicion. (See D.N. 1, PageID # 1) Now, in her response to Defendants' motion for summary judgment, Shadburne presumably seeks to represent all persons who had the ability to post bond upon arrival at the jail but were detained and strip-searched anyway-or individuals who were strip-searched despite not being committed to the jail's general population.[3] These are fundamentally different classes, however, that would rely on different legal grounds for relief. Shadburne may not change the class definition in a response to a motion for summary judgment. See Bridgeport Music, Inc., 508 F.3d at 400; Tucker, 407 F.3d at 788.

         The analysis is the same for Shadburne's individual allegation. While her complaint alleges one claim (i.e., Defendants violated her constitutional rights by strip-searching her without reasonable suspicion), her response brief changes her claim substantially (i.e., because she had enough money to post bond, she was not bound for the jail's general population and thus Florence's holding is inapplicable). Indeed, at moments in her response brief, Shadburne insinuates that her claim is actually one of illegal detention. (See D.N. 10, PageID # 40) But illegal detention is a different constitutional claim than the illegal-search claim asserted in her complaint. Cf. Dean v. Earle, 866 F.Supp. 336, 339 (W.D. Ky. Oct. 28, 1994) (“[A] plaintiff alleging false imprisonment under § 1983 must establish that his imprisonment was without legal authority.”); Kick v. Christian Cty., Ky., No. 5:16-CV-00074-TBR, 2017 WL 2312698, at *3 (W.D. Ky. May 26, 2017) (“Determining the reasonableness of a strip search under the Fourth Amendment requires a balancing of the need for the particular search against the invasion of personal rights that the search entails.” (internal quotations omitted)). In fact, the complaint makes only a passing reference in its facts section to Shadburne's ability to make bond and never mentions anything concerning an illegal detention. (See D.N. 1, PageID # 5) Shadburne may not amend her complaint at this stage of the proceedings. See Bridgeport Music, Inc., 508 F.3d at 400; Tucker, 407 F.3d at 788.

         In sum, there is simply no ambiguity regarding the nature of Shadburne's claims. In the complaint, in support of her allegations, Shadburne cites three cases, all of which pre-date Florence and two of which were expressly or implicitly abrogated by Florence's holding. See Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979), examined by Florence, 566 U.S. 318; Masters v. Crouch, 872 F.2d 1248 (6th Cir. 1989), abrogation recognized by T.S. v. Doe, 742 F.3d 632 (6th Cir. 2014); Kimberly Miracle v. Bullitt County, Kentucky, No. 05-130-C, 2009 WL 2240390, at *1 (W.D. Ky. July 24, 2009), relevant part implicitly ...


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