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Askew v. Wentworth

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah

August 1, 2019




         Plaintiff Marquita Askew filed the instant pro se action proceeding in forma pauperis. This matter is now before the Court on initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). Upon initial screening of the complaint, the Court will dismiss one Defendant and allow Plaintiff's claim against another Defendant to proceed.


         Plaintiff filed the complaint on the Court-approved complaint form for filing a civil case.[1]She sues Matthew Wentworth, a detective with Paducah Police Department; and James Arndt, the Paducah City Manager. She indicates that she is suing Defendant Wentworth in his individual and official capacity and suing Defendant Arndt in his official capacity only. On the form, Plaintiff states that the Fourth Amendment is the basis for federal question jurisdiction.

         Plaintiff states that on April 17, 2018, at her residence, Defendant Wentworth “knowingly and willing lead a task force consisting of a Federal ATF Agent, Kentucky State Trooper and Paducah Police Officers on to my property with a six (6) day old search warrant that was not even in my name.” She reports that non-Defendant Detective Beau Green read her a search warrant for her property that did not have her name on it. She asserts that law enforcement officers “removed my two-year old son from his residence when they had no right to do so.” Plaintiff states that non-Defendant police officers “knowingly and willing told a fellow Police Officer not to let me in my residence yet while he put a mirror back together on my wall[]” and “knowingly and willingly cut the digital cable wire on the back of my residence.” She also reports that police officers refused to let her eight year-old daughter into her residence “causing her to urinate on herself.” She also states an officer “recorded me calling one of my clients to give them a heads up that when they come to my residence, they will see lots of law enforcement officers.” Plaintiff maintains that due to “the Paducah Police Department and other law enforcement officers on my property. I have had a loss in revenue and clients to my home business.”

         Plaintiff states that on April 11, 2018, Defendant Wentworth contacted the power company which told him that Plaintiff “has had power at this residence since October 2013.” She reports that on April 26, 2018, Defendant Wentworth testified in a McCracken Circuit Court case that he did not know who owned Plaintiff's residence. She further states that on December 14, 2018, Defendant Wentworth testified in court that “he spoke with the Commonwealth Attorney about executing a six-day old stale search warrant.” Plaintiff states that on April 11, 2018, a McCracken County judge issued a search warrant for her residence which stated that “you are commanded to make immediate search of the premises.”

         With regard to Defendant Arndt, Plaintiff quotes from “Sec.2-93-City Manager” as stating as follows:

(a) Duties of the office, and shall also include but not limited to:
2. The removal of subordinate employees and officers of the city.
7. Supervising all departments of city government and conduct of all city officers and employees under the city manager's jurisdiction and requiring each department to make reports to the manager as required by ordinance or as the manager deems desirable.

         Plaintiff further asserts that Defendant Wentworth “and his task force had no right nor probable cause to be on the premises . . . The City of Paducah Kentucky is liable for its employee's and their actions and must be held accountable as well as the law enforcement officers.”[2]

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.


         Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, this Court must review the instant action. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e); McGore, 114 F.3d at 608-09. Upon review, the Court must dismiss a case at any time if it determines that an action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). This Court recognizes that pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 ...

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