United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
REBECCA GRADY JENNINGS, DISTRICT JUDGE
Cynthia Fletcher-Hope brings this action against Defendants
Louisville-Jefferson County Metropolitan Government (the
“Metro Government”), Captain Darrell Goodlett,
Lieutenant Timothy Huber, Officer Kenneth Bennett, and
unknown defendants alleging sexual harassment under KRS
§ 344.010, et seq. (Count One), retaliation under KRS
§ 344.010, et seq. (Count Two), racial discrimination
under KRS § 344.010, et seq. (Count Three), violation of
Fletcher-Hope's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution and Section 10
of the Kentucky Constitution (Count Four), assault and
battery (Count Five), age discrimination under KRS §
344.010, et seq. (Count Six), gender discrimination under KRS
§ 344.010, et seq. (Count Seven), negligent supervision
(Count Eight), and defamation (Count Nine). [DE 1-2, Compl.
at ¶¶ 21-83]. The Metro Government now moves to
dismiss Fletcher-Hope's claims against it under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). [DE 5]. The matter is ripe
for judgment. Having considered the parties' filings and
the applicable law, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN
PART the Metro Government's Motion to Dismiss.
following facts are set out in the Complaint and accepted as
true for purposes of the Metro Government's Motion. Davis
v. Prison Health Servs., 679 F.3d 433, 440 (6th Cir. 2012).
is an African American woman employed by the Metro
Government, d/b/a Louisville Metro Department of Corrections
(the “LMDC”) as a corrections officer at the
Community Corrections Center (the “CCC”). [DE 1-2
at ¶¶ 1, 10]. On June 28, 2017, Fletcher-Hope's
assigned government truck and trailer were parked on the
street in front of the CCC. Id. at ¶ 10.
Fletcher-Hope observed Captain Goodlett outside with a K-9
dog, which was sniffing Fletcher-Hope's truck and
trailer. Id. at ¶ 11. Captain Goodlett directed
Fletcher-Hope to unlock the trailer to allow the dog to sniff
inside. Id. The dog did not find any drugs or
contraband in the trailer or on nearby inmates who were
cutting grass outside of the CCC. Id. at ¶ 12.
Goodlett then ordered the K-9 dog to sniff Fletcher-Hope.
Id. at ¶ 13. The dog sniffed Fletcher-Hope as
she stood on the sidewalk on Chestnut Street in front of
other officers, the inmates, and the public. Id.
Fletcher-Hope has been “terrified” of dogs since
she was seven years old, when she was attacked by a dog that
left her with scars. Id. at ¶ 14. Captain
Goodlett yelled at Fletcher-Hope as the dog searched her, and
in total the search lasted more than one hour. Id.
at ¶¶ 15-16. No. drugs or contraband were found.
Id. at ¶ 16.
claims that she was traumatized by the search and continues
to suffer emotional injury that requires counseling and
necessitates time away from her employment. Id. at
¶ 17. Fletcher-Hope filed a union grievance, which the
LMDC denied. Id. at ¶ 18. Fletcher-Hope then
filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Kentucky Commission
on Human Rights alleging discrimination because of her race,
gender, and age, in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment
Act of 1967. Id. at ¶ 19. On May 9, 2018,
Fletcher-Hope received an Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) Notice of Right to Sue, which
indicated that the EEOC had terminated its processing of
Fletcher-Hope's charge and that she had the right to sue
in federal or state court. Id. at ¶ 20.
timely filed suit in Jefferson County Circuit Court alleging
sexual harassment under KRS § 344.010, et seq. (Count
One), retaliation under KRS § 344.010, et seq. (Count
Two), racial discrimination under KRS § 344.010, et seq.
(Count Three), violation of Fletcher-Hope's rights under
the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
and Section 10 of the Kentucky Constitution (Count Four),
assault and battery (Count Five), age discrimination under
KRS § 344.010, et seq. (Count Six), gender
discrimination under KRS § 344.010, et seq. (Count
Seven), negligent supervision (Count Eight), and defamation
(Count Nine). Id. at ¶¶ 21-83. The Metro
Government moves to dismiss Fletcher-Hope's claims
against it under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
[DE 5]. Fletcher-Hope did not file a response and the time
for doing so has expired.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) requires a court to dismiss
a complaint if the complaint “fail[s] to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). To properly state a claim, a complaint must contain
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). When considering a motion to dismiss, courts must
presume all factual allegations in the complaint to be true
and make all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving
party. Total Benefits Planning Agency, Inc. v. Anthem
Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 552 F.3d 430, 434 (6th
Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). “But the district court
need not accept a bare assertion of legal conclusions.”
Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d
478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). “A
pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.
Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s]
devoid of further factual enhancement.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal citation and
quotation marks omitted).
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
plaintiff must allege “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Traverse Bay
Area Intermediate Sch. Dist. v. Mich. Dep't of
Educ., 615 F.3d 622, 627 (6th Cir. 2010) (internal
quotation marks omitted) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim becomes
plausible “when the plaintiff 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 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). “A complaint will be dismissed pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6) if no law supports the claim[s] made, if the facts
alleged are insufficient to state a claim, or if the face of
the complaint presents an insurmountable bar to
relief.” Southfield Educ. Ass'n v. Southfield
Bd. of Educ., 570 Fed.Appx. 485, 487 (6th Cir. 2014)
(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 561-64).
brings one federal claim against the Metro Government. In
Count Four, Fletcher-Hope alleges that the Metro Government
violated her rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution when the Metro
Government's employees “wrongfully, and without
probable cause, illegally detained and searched” her,
“effectively arrest[ing] her.” [DE 1-2 at ¶
45]. Fletcher-Hope seeks damages for this alleged violation
under 28 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. at ¶ 84. The
Metro Government responds that Fletcher-Hope cannot base a
Section 1983 claim on the conduct of its employees because
respondeat superior is not an available theory of recovery
under Section 1983. [DE 5-1 at 47-47]. Connick v.
Thompson,563 U.S. 51, 60 (2011) (“[U]nder §
1983, local governments are responsible only for their own
illegal acts. They are not vicariously liable under §
1983 for their employees' actions.”). Instead, a
municipality is liable under Section 1983 only if the
challenged conduct occurs pursuant to a municipality's