United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKinleyJr., District Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment [DN 112] and Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment [DN 113]. Fully briefed, these matters are
ripe for decision. For the following reasons, the Court holds
that Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED
and Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
Ali Al Maqablh filed his Original Complaint in this Court
alleging multiple claims against various Defendants regarding
criminal proceedings commenced against him related to contact
that he had with the mother of his child, Defendant Lindsay
Jo Alley. Following initial screening and a series of motions
to dismiss, only two Defendants remain-Lindsay Jo Alley and
State Trooper James Phelps. Both Plaintiff and Defendants now
ask the Court for summary judgment in their favor.
alleges that both Defendants are liable for malicious
prosecution in relation to charges that were filed against
him on April 7, 2015. In 2015, Plaintiff and Defendant Alley
were engaged in litigation over Plaintiff's visitation
rights for their son. During that time, Plaintiff called the
police on three separate instances to request welfare checks
on his child. It is Defendants' contention that Plaintiff
utilized these welfare checks as a means to harass Alley. For
this reason, Trooper Phelps assisted Alley in filing a
criminal complaint against Plaintiff charging him with one
count of harassment under KRS 525.070 and one count of
falsely reporting an incident under KRS 519.040. On September
29, 2015, the relevant charges against Plaintiff were
dismissed and later expunged.
Standard of Review
the Court may grant a motion for summary judgment, it must
find that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the
initial burden of specifying the basis for its motion and
identifying that portion of the record that demonstrates the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Once the
moving party satisfies this burden, the non-moving party
thereafter must produce specific facts demonstrating a
genuine issue of fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).
the Court must review the evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party, the non-moving party must
do more than merely show that there is some
“metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Instead, the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure require the non-moving party to
present specific facts showing that a genuine factual issue
exists by “citing to particular parts of materials in
the record” or by “showing that the materials
cited do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine
dispute[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). “The mere
existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
[non-moving party's] position will be insufficient; there
must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for
the [non-moving party].” Anderson, 477 U.S. at
both Alley and Phelps are accused of malicious prosecution,
the claims against them are slightly varied. Phelps faces
malicious prosecution liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
as an official acting under color of law. Alley, as a private
citizen, is not subject to 1983 liability but might be liable
for state violations of malicious prosecution. However, some
elements of each defendant's malicious prosecution claims
are the same. For example, both state and federal claims of
malicious prosecution require the plaintiff to prove that the
criminal proceedings were resolved in his or her favor.
Sykes v. Anderson, 625 F.3d 294, 308-09 (6th Cir.
2010) (articulating the elements of a federal malicious
prosecution claim under § 1983); Ohnemus v.
Thompson, 594 Fed. App'x 864, 866 (6th Cir. 2014)
(listing the six elements of malicious prosecution under
parties strongly disagree about whether the proceedings
against Plaintiff were resolved in his favor. In Kentucky,
“the determination of whether a termination is
sufficiently favorable ultimately rests with the trial court
as a matter of law, absent a factual dispute relative to the
circumstances of the dismissal.” Davidson v.
Castner-Knott Dry Goods Co., 202 S.W.3d 597, 606 (Ky.
Ct. App. 2006). In this case, there is no factual dispute.
Both parties acknowledge that the charges against Plaintiff
were dropped pursuant to an informal agreement between
Plaintiff and prosecutor, Crystal Heinz. Plaintiff described
the agreement in his deposition as such:
It was an informal agreement where my attorney, Robert Riley,
told-explained it to me that you do not assault Lindsey Alley
for three months and we'll pass this to September 25, I
believe or some-a day around-some-some day in-I think
September 29. We'll pass this over to that date and if
you have not assaulted Lindsey Alley within these three
months, the charges will be dismissed. And I told him that I
never, ever laid a finger of Lindsey Alley, so
I'm-I'll be happy to do that.
(Pl. Dep. [DN 113-2] at 58).
argues that under the Supreme Court precedent of Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), his expungement alone is
indicative that the proceedings were terminated in his favor.
Plaintiff states, “Under Heck, expungement defines
favorable termination.” (Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J.
[DN 112] at 28). Defendants disagree, pointing out that Heck
concerns “challenges to criminal convictions and the
availability of habeas corpus relief.” (Defs.'
Resp. [DN 118] at 18). Since Plaintiff was not actually
convicted of either of the crimes filed against him in 2015,
Defendants argue that Heck is not applicable. The Court
agrees. In Heck, the Supreme Court set standards for what
constitutes favorable termination in the case of prisoners
who have the opportunity to seek redress for violations of
their rights through both § 1983 and habeas corpus. In
seeking to protect against inconsistent judgments, the
Supreme Court created a specific standard applicable ...