United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge.
matter is before the Court upon a motion by Defendants,
Ballard County, Carey Batts, and Bobby Hickman
(“Defendants”), for summary judgment. (DN 60).
Defendant Brandon Harrison is not a party to this motion.
Plaintiff has filed a response and an unauthorized sur-reply.
(DN 61; DN 68). Defendant has filed a reply and replied to
Plaintiff's sur-reply. (DN 62; DN 71). Fully briefed,
this matter is ripe for review and for the following reasons,
Defendants' motion for summary judgment (DN 60) is
complaint, Plaintiff states “On or in 2016, the exact
time and date being unknown to the plaintiff, Special Agent
Brandon Harrison . . . in conjunction with defendant . . .
Batts, and Hickman seized property owned jointly by plaintiff
and his friend Mel Althizer without a warrant or forfeiture
notice” at his home. (DN 1). Plaintiff alleges that the
search was conducted pursuant to a federal search warrant
issued at the request of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms, and Explosives (“BATFE”). Plaintiff
complains that “During the search of plaintiff's
home, numerous items were taken, and destroyed” and
“Family pictures, photo albums, furniture, dishes,
utensils, televisions, video game consoles, computers,
laptops, and even stuffed animals were all destroyed.”
Id. at 10. In his deposition, however, Plaintiff
clarified that the personal property consisted of
“knick-knacks, stuffed animals, dishes . . . that's
about it.” (DN 59 at 8).
deposition, Plaintiff concedes that the search of his house
was conducted pursuant to a search warrant. (DN 59 at 9).
After the execution of the search warrant, Plaintiff was
indicted for possession with the intent to distribute
methamphetamine. See United States v. Christopher
Ford, No. 5:15-CR-23-1-TBR at (DN 10). On January 10,
2017, Plaintiff entered into a voluntary plea agreement and
was subsequently sentenced by this Court. Id. at (DN
106). When entering his guilty plea, Plaintiff indicated to
the Court that he understood the plea agreement and that he
was represented by counsel. (DN 59 at 30, 37). Plaintiff did
not challenge the validity of the search warrant in his
criminal case. (Id. at 30, 40). In his plea
agreement, Plaintiff also agreed to waive all rights to
notice of the property subject to forfeiture. (Id.
response to Defendants' discovery requests, Plaintiff
indicated that he was aware of the search of his property on
August 27, 2015. (DN 41). And in his deposition, Plaintiff
testified that Mel Althizer, Bobby Ford, and/or Amy Pary
informed him of the search and seizure on August 27, 2015.
(DN 59 at 12, 20, 27). Plaintiff argues that he did not
witness the seizure of his vehicles and that he did not know
which law enforcement agency seized his property.
claims that the Defendants “violated his right to be
free from unreasonable seizures, when they seized his
property, without a warrant, and having no forfeiture notice
to do so” and that “[t]he search warrant was
issued based upon false statements made in the Affidavit for
search warrant.” (DN 1 at 12). Upon conducting a
screening of Plaintiff's pro se complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), this Court
found that the following claims remained: (1) Plaintiff's
claims against Defendant Batts, Hickman, and Harrison, in
their individual capacities for violating his Fourth and
Fifth Amendment rights and his right to due process under 42
U.S.C. § 1983/Bivens; (2) Plaintiff's
§ 1983 claim against Ballard County for a policy of
seizing private property without warrants or forfeiture
notices; (3) Plaintiff's Kentucky state-law claim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (4)
Plaintiff's state-law civil conspiracy claim.
judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party, reveals “that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgement as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute of material fact exists
where “there is sufficient evidence favoring the
nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). The
Court “may not make credibility determinations nor
weigh the evidence when determining whether an issue of fact
remains for trial.” Laster v. City of
Kalamazoo, 746 F.3d 714, 726 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing
Logan v. Denny's, Inc., 259 F.3d 558, 556 (6th
Cir. 2001); Ahlers v. Schebil, 188 F.3d 365, 369
(6th Cir. 1999)). “The ultimate question is
‘whether the evidence presents a sufficient
disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is
so onesided that one party must prevail as a matter of
law.'” Back v. Nestle USA, Inc., 694 F.3d
571, 575 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S.
party moving for summary judgment, Defendants must shoulder
the burden of showing the absence of a genuine dispute of
material fact, as to at least one essential element of each
of Plaintiff's claims. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see
Laster, 746 F.3d at 726 (citing Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d
265 (1986)). If Defendants satisfy their burden of
production, then Plaintiff “must-by deposition, answers
to interrogatories, affidavits, and admissions on file-show
specific facts that reveal a genuine issue for trial.”
Laster, 746 F.3d at 726 (citing Celotex
Corp., 477 U.S. at 324).
42 U.S.C. § 1983 Claims
§ 1983 claims are barred by the statute of limitations.
Although a § 1983 claim is a federal claim, the statute
of limitations for a § 1983 claim is governed by state
law. Collard v. Kentucky Bd. of Nursing, 896 F.2d
179, 180 (6th Cir. 1990) ("Since Congress has never
legislated a statute of limitations period for section 1983
actions, the courts, pursuant to the mandate of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1988, have had to look to analogous state
statutes"). Accordingly, "Kentucky's one-year
statute of limitations governs section 1983 actions."
Id. at 183; see also Baar v. Jefferson County
Bd. of Educ., 311 Fed.Appx. 817, 825 (6th Cir. 2009)
(unpublished) (holding a teacher's due process claims
were barred by Kentucky's one-year statute of
state law controls the length of the statute of limitations,
"federal law governs the question of when that
limitations period begins to run." McCune v. Grand
Rapids, 842 F.2d 903, 905 (6th Cir. 1988). "The
statute of limitations commences to run when the plaintiff
knows or has reason to know of the injury which is the basis
of his action." Sevier v. Turner, 742 F.2d 262,
272 (6th Cir. 1984). "A plaintiff has reason to know of
his injury when he should have discovered it through the
exercise of reasonable diligence." Id.
Furthermore, “[t]he statute of limitations is not
tolled while a plaintiff attempts to identify the correct