United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
U.B. THOMAS, III Plaintiff
LOUISVILLE-JEFFERSON COUNTY METRO GOVERNMENT, ET AL. Defendants
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Rebecca Grady Jennings, United States District Court
U.B. Thomas, III brings this suit against Defendants
Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government
(“Louisville Metro”) and Louisville Fire
Department (“LFD”) officials Gregory Frederick,
William Bowman, Brian Meurer, Henry Ott, John Griffith, Todd
Leonard, Shawn Abma, and Jason Sanders asserting claims under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Kentucky common law. [DE 1,
Compl.]. Defendants now move to dismiss all claims under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). [DE 4]. Briefing is
complete, and the Motion is ripe. [See DE 7,
Response; DE 8, Reply]. For the reasons below, the Court
GRANTS Defendants' Motion.
Court accepts the facts in the Complaint as true for the
present Motion. 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) (citations omitted)).
2009, Thomas and his girlfriend, Colleen Compton, rented a
house owned by Shane McCain in Louisville, Kentucky. [DE 1 at
¶¶ 13-14]. Fires occurred at Thomas's residence
and three other houses owned by McCain. Id. at
¶ 16. The LFD investigated the fires and assigned
investigators Abma, Griffith, Leonard, Ott, and Sanders to
the matter. Id. at ¶ 17.
on a tip, the investigators believed that Thomas was
partially responsible for setting the fires. Id. at
¶ 18. The investigators located Compton and induced her
to participate in questioning by buying her alcohol.
Id. at ¶ 23. The investigators interviewed
Compton despite knowing that she was under the influence of
alcohol and drugs. Id. at ¶ 24. Compton did not
implicate Thomas in the fires. Id.
investigators brought Thomas to an LFD station for
questioning. Id. at ¶ 25. To induce Thomas to
participate in questioning, the investigators bought Thomas
alcohol and showed him a recording of Compton's
interview, in which Compton appeared intoxicated and upset.
Id. at ¶ 30. Each time the investigators left
the interview room, Thomas ingested narcotics pills that he
had brought with him. Id. at ¶ 27. During
questioning, Thomas implicated himself in the fires.
Id. at ¶ 32. The investigators asked Thomas to
sign a Miranda waiver and began video recording the
interview. Id. at ¶ 33. Thomas alleges that the
investigators “coerced [him] to repeat his false
inculpatory statements.” Id.
jury indicted Thomas for his alleged involvement in the
fires. Id. at ¶ 36. Two months later, Thomas
wrote to the trial court and local news media about the
investigators' conduct during his interrogation.
Id. at ¶ 37. The Louisville Metro Police
Department's Public Integrity Unit (“PIU”)
began an inquiry and interviewed the investigators as part of
the PIU inquiry. Id. at ¶¶ 38, 40.
August 2010, Thomas's trial began. Id. at ¶
41. A jury convicted Thomas of several charges. Id.
While Thomas was serving his sentence, a state-court judge
granted Thomas's motion asserting ineffective assistance
of counsel under Kentucky Rule of Criminal Procedure 11.42
and vacated Thomas's convictions. Id. at ¶
44. The Commonwealth has appealed that ruling. [DE 4-1, Mem.
Supp. Mot. Dismiss at 46].
then brought this action against investigators Abma,
Griffith, Leonard, Ott, and Sanders. [DE 1]. Thomas also sued
Louisville Metro, LFD Fire Chief Gregory Frederick, and LFD
Fire Marshals William Bowman and Brian Meurer. Id.
In his Complaint, Thomas asserts claims for relief under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and Kentucky common law. Id. at
¶¶ 49-105. Defendants now move to dismiss
Thomas's complaint. [DE 4].
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) instructs that a court must
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 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, 561 F.3d at 488 (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 quotation marks and citation omitted).
survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must allege
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is 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 . . . if no law supports the
claims 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).
Fourth Amendment ...