United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
REINELLA S. KIRILOVA, as Administratrix of the Estate of William Allen Young, Jr., Plaintiff,
RUSSELL BRAUN, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. Hale, Judge United States District Court
Reinella Kirilova brings this action as Administratrix of the
Estate of her son, William Allen Young, Jr., against
Defendants Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government,
Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad, and
LMPD Officers Russell Braun, Randall Richardson, and Paige
Young. (Docket No. 12) Kirilova alleges that the officers
fatally shot William Young without justification in violation
of the United States Constitution and Kentucky law. (See
id.) Louisville Metro and Conrad have moved to dismiss
Kirilova's claims against them pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (D.N. 15; D.N. 19) For the
reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Defendants'
following facts are set out in the complaint and accepted as
true for purposes of the present motions. See Tackett v.
M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th
Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d
461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009)).
2017, William Young was a 31-year-old individual struggling
with drug addiction and mental illness. (D.N. 12, PageID #
75) Besides occasionally residing with his mother, Young was
homeless and would often sleep inside abandoned buildings.
(Id.) On the night of February 11, 2017, Young was
sleeping on the second floor of an abandoned building at 1234
Oleander Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky. (Id.)
Meanwhile, LMPD Officers Braun, Richardson, and Young
received a report of an alleged burglary at that premises.
(Id.) When they arrived at the scene, the officers
entered the building, despite seeing that it was abandoned
and partially boarded-up. (Id.) As they surveyed the
building, the officers had their handguns drawn and held
flashlights in each of their free hands. (Id.,
PageID # 75-76)
complaint alleges that in searching the building, “[the
officers] failed to utilize features of the house to search
and clear the premises without unnecessarily exposing
themselves to a perceived risk.” (Id., PageID
# 76) The officers shouted “police” on several
occasions, but there is no evidence that William Young heard
their warnings. (Id.) Upon seeing the officers,
Young jumped up and rushed toward them with an object in his
hand. (Id.) The officers proceeded to fire their
weapons at Young numerous times. (Id., PageID # 77)
Young sustained gunshot wounds during the altercation.
(Id.) The officers handcuffed Young; tragically,
Young died a few minutes later. (Id.)
brings this action against Louisville Metro, LMPD Chief of
Police Steve Conrad, and Officers Braun, Richardson, and
Young. (See D.N. 12) She asserts claims for relief
under § 1983 against all Defendants. (Id.,
PageID # 77-78) She also asserts state-law claims against
Conrad and the officers. (Id., PageID # 78)
Louisville Metro and Conrad now move to dismiss
Kirilova's claims against them. (D.N. 15; D.N. 19)
order to avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim,
“a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). If
“the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to
infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, ”
the plaintiff has not shown that she is entitled to relief.
Id. at 679. The complaint need not contain
“detailed factual allegations, ” but it must
provide “more than an unadorned,
Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555). “Although for the purposes of a motion to dismiss
[the Court] must take all of the factual allegations in the
complaint as true, [the Court is] not bound to accept as true
a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
Furthermore, “[w]hile a complaint will survive a motion
to dismiss if it contains either direct or inferential
allegations respecting all material elements necessary for
recovery under a viable legal theory . . . legal conclusions
masquerading as factual allegations will not suffice.”
Phila. Indem. Ins. Co. v. Youth Alive, Inc., 732
F.3d 645, 649 (6th Cir. 2013) (internal quotations omitted).
Louisville Metro's Motion to Dismiss
order to establish municipal liability under § 1983,
Kirilova must show that the alleged constitutional violation
occurred because of a municipal custom or policy. Monell
v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978).
Kirilova may make the requisite showing by demonstrating one
of the following: “(1) the existence of an illegal
official policy or legislative enactment; (2) that an
official with final decision making authority ratified
illegal actions; (3) the existence of a policy of inadequate
training or supervision; or (4) the existence of a custom of
tolerance or acquiescence of federal rights violations,
” such as ineffective screening during the hiring
process. Burgess v. Fischer, 735 F.3d 462, 478 (6th
complaint, Kirilova presents three theories upon which to
hold Louisville Metro liable under § 1983: (i)
ratification, (ii) failure to train, and (iii) ineffective
screening. (See D.N. 12) Even viewing Kirilova's
complaint in the light most favorable to her, see
Tackett, 561 F.3d at 488, the Court concludes that
Kirilova has failed to allege sufficient facts to support her
claims. Additionally, while the Court is not required to
grant Kirilova a second opportunity to amend her complaint,
see Burkeen v. A.R.E. Accessories, LLC, No.
5:16-CV-00017-GNS-LLK, 2017 WL 5076516, at *2 (W.D. Ky. Nov.
3, 2017) (“Contrary to Plaintiffs' contentions, the
Sixth Circuit has never held that district courts
must grant leave to amend sua sponte when
justice so requires.”), the Court has considered
whether it would be appropriate here.
to amend a complaint may be denied where there is . . .
repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments
previously allowed.” Beydoun v. Sessions, 871
F.3d 459, 469 (6th Cir. 2017) (internal quotations omitted).
The arguments raised in Louisville Metro's initial motion
to dismiss are substantially similar to those at issue in its
current motion to dismiss. (See D.N. 7-1; D.N. 15-1)
Although Kirilova filed an amended complaint in response to
the initial motion to dismiss (D.N. 9), for the reasons
explained below, her amended complaint fails to cure her
original complaint's deficiencies. The Court thus
concludes that granting Kirilova an additional attempt to
conform her complaint to federal pleading standards would be
futile given her repeated failure “to allege a nexus
between any [municipal] policy and the claimed events or
injuries.” Gerald Williams v. Kentucky Ass'n of
Ctys. Ins. Agency, Inc., No. 6:17-CV-222-REW-EBA, 2018
WL 3155818, at *5 (E.D. Ky. June 28, 2018); see also
Hogan v. Jacobson, 823 F.3d 872, 885 n.3 (6th Cir. 2016)
(finding that the district court did not err in declining to
grant leave to amend sua sponte where “[t]he
plaintiff never sought leave to amend before the district
court and provide[d] nothing from which [the appellate court]
could infer that she could amend her complaint [to conform to
federal pleading standards]”).
proceed with her ratification claim against Louisville Metro,
Kirilova “must adequately allege . . . that an official
with final decision making authority ratified illegal
actions.” D'Ambrosio v. Marino,
747 F.3d 378, 386 (6th Cir. 2014) (quoting Burgess,
735 F.3d at 478). “[R]atification of a
subordinate's action requires more than acquiescence-it
requires affirmative approval of a particular decision made
by a subordinate.” Feliciano ...