United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
REBECCA GRADY JENNINGS, DISTRICT JUDGE
Austin Patton sues Defendants Louisville Jefferson County
Metro Government ("Louisville"); City of Louisville
Department of Metro Corrections ("LDMC")
(collectively, "Municipal Defendants"); Mark
Bolton, in his official and individual capacities; Dwayne A.
Clark, in his official and individual capacities
(collectively "Individual Defendants"); all unknown
correctional officers for City of Louisville Department of
Metro Corrections ("Unknown Officers"); and all
unknown ranked supervisors for City of Louisville Department
of Metro Corrections ("Unknown Supervisors")
(collectively, "Unknown Defendants"). [DE 1].
Patton alleges that Defendants violated his rights under the
Constitution and Kentucky law while he was a pretrial
detainee. [Id.]. The Municipal and Individual
Defendants have moved to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). [DE 4]. Briefing is complete, and this
matter is ripe. For the reasons below, the Motion to Dismiss
will be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Court takes the following factual allegations in the
complaint as true for its consideration of 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)).
is, and has been, in LDMC's custody, awaiting trial. [DE
1 at 5-6, ¶ 17]. Patton has received death threats from
inmates associated with Patton's alleged victim.
[Id. at 6, ¶18]. A judge ordered that Patton be
held in Christian County for his safety, however, LDMC has
periodically transported Patton to Jefferson County for court
appearances. [Id. at 6, ¶¶ 19-20]. While
held in Jefferson County, LDMC placed Patton on the fifth
floor in the general population with the individuals who had
threatened him. [Id. at 6, ¶ 22]. He was
supposed to be placed in protective custody and/or the fourth
floor for seclusion from his alleged victim's friends.
[Id. at 6, ¶ 21]. Patton's alleged
victim's friends assaulted him in the shower room on the
fifth floor, and Patton "suffered a fractured skull, a
fractured eye socket, a broken arm, and various other bodily
injuries." [Id. at 6, ¶ 23-24]. Despite
the known health and safety risk to Patton, the Unknown
Officers and Unknown Supervisors were not checking on Patton
that day during their rounds. [Id. at 7, ¶
26-27]. Patton lay "in the shower room seriously injured
and nearly dead for five hours before Unknown COs found him,
only after [Patton's] Mom visited [LDMC] and inquired
into his whereabouts." [Id. at 6, ¶ 25].
alleges Bolton is the "Director of the [LMDC] and a
[Louisville] employee . . . and is responsible, in part for
forming, administering, monitoring, and supervising the
policies and activities involved in those of the . . . known
and unknown [LMDC] employees." [Id. at 4-5,
¶¶ 10-12]. Patton alleges Clark is the "Chief
of Staff of [LMDC] and a [Louisville] employee ... and is
responsible, in part for administering, monitoring, and
supervising the policies and activities involved in those of
the . . . known and unknown [LMDC] employees."
[Id. at 5, ¶¶ 12-13]. Patton alleges the
Municipal Defendants are "responsible, in part, for
administering, monitoring, and supervising the policies and
activities ... of the . . . known and unknown [MCDC]
employees." [Id. at 4, ¶¶ 8-9].
Patton further alleges that Defendants knew, or should have
known, that there was a substantial risk of harm when he
transferred back to Jefferson County for trial purposes, that
they were on notice of the Christian County's Judge's
order, and that they disregarded that risk by placing him in
the general population. [Id. at 8, ¶ 36].
sued Defendants, alleging violations of his Fourteenth
Amendment right to due process (Federal Count I), Conspiracy
to violate the Constitution (Federal Count II), Failure to
train, supervise, audit, and discipline (Federal Count III),
and violations of his rights under Kentucky law, violation of
due process under the Kentucky Constitution (State Count I),
Conspiracy to Violate the Kentucky Constitution (State Count
II), Negligence (State Count III), Reckless/Negligent failure
to train and supervise (State Count IV). [Id.]. In
his prayer for relief, Patton requests compensatory damages,
punitive damages, and injunctive relief. [Id. at
12]. The Individual and Municipal Defendants moved to dismiss
the counts against them, [DE 4], and Patton responded, [DE
5]. No. replies were filed.
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 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 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." BellAtl. 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
1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely
provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere
conferred." Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386,
393-94 (1989) (internal quotation omitted). To state a claim
under Section 1983, "a plaintiff must set forth facts
that, when construed favorably, establish (1) the deprivation
of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States (2) caused by a person acting under the color of state
law." Burley v. Gagacki, 729 F.3d 610, 619 (6th
Cir. 2013). Defendants do not dispute that they were acting
under color of state law, and so the only issue disputed is
whether Patton has adequately alleged that Defendants
violated his constitutional rights.
assert a cognizable § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must
allege specific facts. Chapman v. City of Detroit,
808 F.2d 459, 465 (6th Cir. 1986). "The required facts
must provide adequate detail to support the claim, such as
specific incidents of deprivation of a plaintiffs rights, how
each defendant was involved, the names of other persons
involved, dates, and places." Allen v. Aramark
Corp., Civil Action No. 3:07CV-P260-M, 2009 WL 1126093,
at *3 (W.D. Ky. Apr. 27, 2009). The specific facts must
explain how each defendant is responsible for the alleged
injuries. Smith v. Rowe, 761 F.2d 360, 369 (7th Cir.
1985). Allegations premised on mere conclusions and opinions
fail to state an adequate claim, Morgan v. Church's
Fried Chicken, 829 F.2d 10, 12 (6th Cir. 1987), and bare
and conclusory allegations that a defendant personally
deprived the plaintiff of constitutional or statutory rights
are insufficient to state a cognizable claim, Hall v.
United States, 704 F.2d 246, 251 (6th Cir. 1983).
Although Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does
not constitute a "hyper-technical, code-pleading
regime," it "does not unlock the doors of discovery
for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than
conclusions." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79.
sues Mark Bolton, Director for LDMC, and Dwayne A. Clark,
Chief of Staff for LDMC, alleging that the Individual
Defendants violated Patton's Fourteenth Amendment rights
directly, conspired to violate his Fourteenth Amendment
rights, and violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights by
failing to train and supervise the Unknown Defendants. He
brings these claims against the Individual Defendants both in
their individual and official capacities.
Count I - Individual Capacity - Violation of the
Count I, Patton asserts that the Individual Defendants
"knew, or should have known" that there was "a
substantial risk of serious harm to [Patton] when transferred
back to The Department" and that the Individual
Defendants "disregarded the risk ... by placing him in
the general population of the Department and not ...