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Maqablh v. Heinz

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

September 14, 2018




         This matter is before the Court on Defendants James Phelps and Lindsey Alley's Motion to Dismiss [DN 79]. Fully briefed, this matter is ripe for decision. For the following reasons, the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is DENIED IN PART and GRANTED IN PART.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Ali Al Maqablh filed his Original Complaint in this Court alleging multiple claims against Jefferson County, Trimble County, and various Kentucky state employees regarding the criminal proceedings commenced against him and related to the contact that he had with the mother of his child, Defendant Lindsay Jo Alley. On December 12, 2016, upon initial screening, this Court dismissed most of Plaintiff s claims, with three exceptions: (1) Plaintiffs § 1983 individual-capacity federal claim against Defendant Trooper James Phelps for malicious prosecution; (2) the § 1983 claims related to statutes being void for vagueness against Defendant Crystal Heinz in her official capacity, and (3) Plaintiffs state-law claims of malicious prosecution against Defendant Lindsey Alley and Defendant Trooper Phelps in his individual capacity. (Mem. Op. and Order [DN 10] at 16.) On May 4, 2017, this Court granted Defendant Heinz's Motion to Dismiss, finding that the statutes questioned in Plaintiffs Original Complaint were not unconstitutionally void for vagueness (Mem. Op. and Order [DN 45] at 10.) From his Original Complaint, only Plaintiffs federal and state claims for malicious prosecution survive.

         Then, on October 16, 2017, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint reiterating the claims he previously brought in his Original Complaint and adding more counts against the remaining defendants, James Phelps and Lindsey Alley ("Defendants"). In addition to malicious prosecution, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have committed conspiracy in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985, racial discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and 41 U.S.C. § 1981, racial profiling in violation of KRS 15A.195 and 502 KAR 5:020, and neglected to prevent conspiracy in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1986.

         Defendants filed this Motion to Dismiss, asking that all claims against them be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff did not offer a response to the Motion to Dismiss but instead filed a Motion to Strike, stating that the "Motion to Dismiss is untimely and without merit and should be stricken from the record in its entirety." (Mot. to Strike Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss [DN 81] at 2.) This Court denied Plaintiffs Motion to Strike and directed Plaintiff to file a response to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss within fifteen days. (Order [DN 87].) Plaintiff, again, did not file a response. This time, he filed another Amended Complaint [DN 92]. Because Plaintiff did not have leave to amend his complaint, the Court struck his Second Amended Complaint from the record and instructed Plaintiff to seek leave of the Court if he wished to amend his complaint. (Order [DN 96], amended by Order of Correction [DN 98].) Accordingly, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend/Correct Complaint [DN 99]. Magistrate Judge Lindsay denied Plaintiffs Motion to Amend, finding that "Maqablh has not shown 'good cause' for his failure to comply with the Court's scheduling order as required." (Mem. Op. and Order [DN 105] at 6.) As such, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is now ripe for decision.

         II. Standard of Review

         Upon a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a court "must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiffs," League of United Latin Am. Citizens v. Bredesen, 500 F.3d 523, 527 (6th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted), "accept all well-pled factual allegations as true," ixi, and determine whether the "complaint . . . states a plausible claim for relief," Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). Under this standard, the plaintiff must provide the grounds for its entitlement to relief, which "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A plaintiff satisfies this standard only when it "pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A complaint falls short if it pleads facts "merely consistent with a defendant's liability" or if the alleged facts do not "permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct." Id. at 679. Instead, "a complaint must contain a 'short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" Id. at 663 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). "But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not 'show[n]'-'that the pleader is entitled to relief" Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

         If "matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court" when ruling upon a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the Federal Rules require that "the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). This Rule does not require the Court to convert a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment every time the Court reviews documents that are not attached to the complaint. Greenberg v. Life Ins. Co. of Va., Ill. F.3d 507, 514 (6th Cir. 1999). "[W]hen a document is referred to in the complaint and is central to the plaintiffs claim ...[, ] the defendant may submit an authentic copy [of the document] to the court to be considered on a motion to dismiss, and the court's consideration of the document does not require conversion of the motion to one for summary judgment." Id. (quotation omitted).

         III. Discussion

         Malicious Prosecution

         First, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants engaged in malicious prosecution against him. Both the federal and state claims of malicious prosecution are based on three occasions where charges were filed against Plaintiff in Trimble County. In regards to first of these occasions, this Court has already decided that there can be no cause of action because the claim is barred by the statute of limitations. (Mem. Op. and Order [DN 10] at 11.) The other two occasions of alleged malicious prosecution occurred on April 7, 2015 when Defendants purportedly reached an agreement to file a harassing-communications charge against Plaintiff and on May 9, 2016 when Plaintiff was served with a Complaint that included one count of falsely reporting an incident and two counts of harassment.

         Defendants argue that the two remaining instances of alleged malicious prosecution do not present valid claims for relief because each lacks a crucial element of a malicious prosecution claim: that the charge for which Plaintiff was prosecuted was terminated in his favor. Defendants are correct that termination of proceedings in the plaintiffs favor is an element of both Kentucky state and federal claims of malicious prosecution. Fox v. DeSoto, 489 F.3d 227, 237 (6th Cir. 2007) ("to establish the tort claim of malicious prosecution under Kentucky law, a plaintiff must demonstrate .... the termination of such proceedings in the plaintiffs favor."); Sykes v. Anderson, 625 F.3d 294, 308-09 (6th Cir. 2010) ("To succeed on a malicious-prosecution claim under § 1983, when the claim is premised on a violation of the Fourth Amendment.... the criminal proceeding must have been resolved in the plaintiffs favor."). "In order for a termination of proceedings to be favorable to the accused, the dismissal must be onesided and not the result of any settlement compromise." Ohnemus v. Thompson, 594 Fed.Appx. 864, 867 (6th Cir. 2014).

         In regards to the May 9, 2016 instance of alleged malicious prosecution, Defendants are correct that Plaintiff failed to plead that these proceedings terminated in his favor. Nowhere in the Original Complaint or the Amended Complaint does Plaintiff allege anything about the outcome of the May 9 charges that were filed against him. For this reason, the ...

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