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Jones v. Tilley

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Frankfort

July 26, 2018

ALBERT JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN TILLEY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          GREGORY F. VAN TATENHOVE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is before the Court on Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment. [R. 6; R. 7.] Because these motions have come early in the litigation process, they will be DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE so that additional discovery can be conducted. Further, Defendants are denied a qualified immunity defense at this point in the litigation.

         I

         A

         Albert Jones brings this suit against various prison officials in their individual capacities. He alleges that these officials refused to credit sentencing as a judge ordered and held him in jail for seven (7) months longer than his sentence required. [See R. 1 at 2.]

         Jones was sentenced to ten (10) years incarceration by the Honorable Brian C. Edwards of Jefferson County Circuit Court, Division 11. [R. 1 at 4.] His sentence was to run concurrently to his federal sentences that he was already serving. [See R. 1 at 4; R. 7-2 at 2.] Jones alleges his time served began on January 28, 2008, "when the bench warrant for [his] arrest was issued." [R. 1 at 4.] Defendants allege Jones' sentence began on September 30, 2009, as calculated by the Bureau of Prisons. [See R. 7-1 at 2.]

         Jones alleges that, upon realizing his time served was not being correctly calculated, he "notified Defendants Tilley, Erwin, Potter-Blair, Hall, Bentley, and Belen by at least November 25, 2014." [R. 1 at 5.] Defendants were ordered by Judge Edwards to recalculate Jones' jail time credit on April 16, 2015. [See id.] Defendants claim that they did recalculate his sentence and determined that "Mr. Jones was not entitled to credit for any additional time." [R. 7-1 at 2; R. 7-4 at 2.] Jones alleges that he satisfied his sentence on July 26, 2016. [R. 1 at 6.] On February 21, 2017, Judge Edwards ordered Defendants to give Jones credit "for all time spent in custody beginning on January 28, 2008." [R. 1 at 6.] Jones was released from custody on February 27, 2017. [R. 1 at 6.]

         Jones brings claims against each Defendant under the Eighth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and a claim of False Imprisonment. Defendants assert they are shielded from liability by qualified immunity.

         B

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is appropriate "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 genuine dispute exists on a material fact, and thus summary judgment is improper, if the evidence shows 'that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'" Olinger v. Corporation of the President of the Church, 521 F.Supp.2d 577, 582 (E.D. Ky. 2007) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., Ml U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). Stated otherwise, "[t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the Plaintiffs position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the Plaintiff." Anderson, 411 U.S. at 252.

         When applying the summary judgment standard, the Court must review the facts and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Logan v. Denny's, Inc., 259 F.3d 558, 566 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing Liberty Lobby, 411 U.S. at 255). The moving party has the initial burden of demonstrating the basis for its motion and identifying those parts of the record that establish the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Chao v. Hall Holding Co., Inc., 285 F.3d 415, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). The movant may satisfy its burden by showing "that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 325. Once the movant has satisfied this burden, the non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and come forward with specific facts demonstrating the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Hall Holding, 285 F.3d at 424 (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324). Moreover, "the nonmoving party must do more than show there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material fact. It must present significant probative evidence in support of its opposition to the motion for summary judgment." Hall Holding, 285 F.3d at 424 (internal citations omitted).

         II

         Defendants bring two Motions for Summary Judgment. [R. 6; R. 7.] John Tilley moves for Summary Judgment based on the fact that he was not commissioned into his office until December 22, 2015. [See R. 6-1 at 1.] In addition to and in the alternative, each Defendant, including Tilly, moves for summary judgment because they are shielded by qualified immunity. [R 7.]

         When invoked, "the doctrine of qualified immunity protects government officials 'from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.'" Pearson v. Callahan,555 U.S. 223, 231 (2009). In evaluating claims of qualified immunity, courts generally apply a two-step analysis. First, "[t]aken in a light most favorable to the party asserting the injury, do the facts alleged show the officer's conduct violated a constitutional right." Saucier v. Katz,533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001). Second, the court asks whether the right at issue was "clearly established." Id. Finally, once a defendant has raised the defense, "the burden shifts to the plaintiff, who must demonstrate both that the official violated a constitutional or statutory right, and that the right was so clearly established at the time of the alleged violation 'that ...


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