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Howell v. Father Maloney's Boys' Haven, Inc.

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

October 22, 2018

ADRIENNE HOWELL PLAINTIFF
v.
FATHER MALONEY'S BOYS' HAVEN, INC., d/b/a FATHER MALONEY'S BOYS & GIRLS HAVEN, et. al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          GREG N. STIVERS, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (DN 10) and Defendants' Motion for Leave to File Sur-Reply (DN 16). For the reasons discussed below, the motions are DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This action arises from a sexual assault that Plaintiff Adrienne Howell (“Howell”) allegedly experienced while working for Father Maloney's Boys & Girls Haven (“BGH”)-a residential institution that provides treatment to at-risk youth. (Compl. ¶¶ 1-2, 10, DN 1-2). Specifically, the Complaint alleges that one of BGH's residents-R.B.L.-choked Howell unconscious and sodomized her while she was working in a secluded barn. (Compl. ¶¶ 20-23).

         Howell filed a personal injury suit in Jefferson Circuit Court against several defendants, including: (i) BGH and its Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Hadley (collectively “BGH Defendants”), (ii) R.B.L., and (iii) the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (the “Cabinet”), Scott Brinkman (“Brinkman”), and Vickie Yates Brown Glisson (“Glisson”)[1] (collectively “CHFS Defendants”). (Compl. ¶¶ 2-7, 34-86). Though the Complaint is somewhat unclear, it appears that Howell is suing the CHFS Defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that they violated her due process rights and engaged in “arbitrary conduct” when they, inter alia, placed R.B.L. at BGH without properly vetting him and then subsequently failed to ensure that BGH had appropriate safety and security measures, thereby “creat[ing] the opportunity for and facilitat[ing] R.B.L.'s attack . . . .” (Compl. ¶¶ 36-42). Howell raises a similar claim against BGH Defendants on the theory that they are subject to the Fifth Amendment's due process clause because “the functions [they] perform[] are subsidized by public funds . . . .” (Compl. ¶¶ 43-54). Further, Howell seems to raise several common-law claims[2] based on BGH Defendants' alleged duty to protect her; within these claims, she cites KRS 342.610(4)-a workers' compensation statute that allows employees who suffer injuries due to their employer's deliberate acts to forego workers' compensation proceedings and bring a civil action instead. (Compl. ¶¶ 55-76). Finally, Howell asserts BGH Defendants are liable because R.B.L. assaulted her and subjected her to false imprisonment.[3](Compl. ¶¶ 77-83).

         CHFS Defendants subsequently removed the action to this Court. (See Notice Removal, DN 1). In support of removal, CHFS Defendants pointed out that the Complaint raised a federal question-thereby subjecting the case to this Court's removal jurisdiction-and noted that they had obtained consent for removal from all defendants “to have been served properly with process . . . .” (Notice Removal 1-2).

         Upon removing the case to this Court, CHFS Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint. (Mem. Supp. Joint Mot. Dismiss Compl., DN 4-1 [hereinafter CHFS Defs.' Mot. Dismiss]). In their motion, CHFS Defendants argue, inter alia, that Plaintiff's claims against them must be dismissed because-since CHFS Defendants are entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity-this Court lacks jurisdiction to review that claim. (CHFS Defs.' Mot. Dismiss 7-10).

         Thereafter Plaintiff moved to remand this matter to state court. (Pl.'s Mot. Remand, DN 10). Defendants also moved for leave to file a sur-reply. (Defs.' Mot. Leave File Sur-Reply, DN 16). The motions are ripe for adjudication.[4]

         II. JURISDICTION

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

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (DN 10)

         Howell raises several arguments in support of her motion, each of which can be sorted into one of three categories. First, Plaintiff raises two arguments regarding whether this Court has jurisdiction over the case. (Pl.'s Mot. Remand 3-6). Second, Plaintiff argues that remand is warranted due to four distinct defects in the procedure CHFS Defendants used to remove the case warrant remand. (Pl.'s Mot. Remand 6-7). Finally, Plaintiff claims that this Court has the discretion to decline to exercise jurisdiction over the case and that, pursuant to principles of judicial economy and comity, this Court should abstain from exercising jurisdiction. (Pl.'s Mot. Remand 7-9). Each argument is addressed below.

         1. Jurisdic ...


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