United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant Lynn Pryor's
Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. [DN 20].
Plaintiffs Benjamin and Kristen Walden responded, [DN 25],
and Defendant replied, [DN 26]. This matter is ripe for
adjudication. For the reasons stated herein: Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, [DN 20], is
GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
February 3, 2017, Ms. Pryor commenced a criminal action as a
Commonwealth Attorney in Christian County, Kentucky against
Mr. Walden for the following charges: 1st Degree Sodomy; 1st
Degree Rape; Assault 4th Degree, Minor Injury; Promoting
Prostitution; Official Misconduct, 1st Degree; Terroristic
Threatening, 3rd Degree; Intimidating a Participant in a
Legal Process; Retaliating Against a Participant in a Legal
Process; and Tampering with a Witness. [DN 1-1 at 2-3]. Mr.
Walden then filed the current action against Ms. Pryor in her
official and individual capacities alleging claims of
malicious prosecution, defamation and libel, outrage, false
imprisonment, and violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
[See DN 1-1]. Subsequently, Ms. Pryor filed a Motion
to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. [DN 4]. The Court
partially granted the motion but allowed Mr. Walden's
malicious prosecution and false imprisonment claims against
Ms. Pryor in her individual capacity to continue. [DN 14].
21, 2019, the Court granted Mr. Walden's motion to file
an amended complaint. [DN 16]. Mr. Walden's First Amended
Complaint added three parties to the case: his wife, Kristen
Walden, as a plaintiff, and the Kentucky State Police
(“KSP”) and Kentucky State Trooper Zachary Jones
as defendants. [DN 18]. Mr. Walden claims that KSP and Mr.
Jones violated his constitutional rights pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, and committed malicious prosecution,
defamation and libel, and outrage under state law.
Id. at 86-89. Additionally, the First Amended
Complaint states that Ms. Pryor breached her duty to disclose
exculpatory evidence. Id. at 89. Finally, Ms. Walden
asserts a claim for loss of consortium against each
defendant. Id. at 87. Ms. Pryor then filed the
Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint currently
before the Court. [DN 20].
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). In order to survive a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a party must
“plead enough ‘factual matter' to raise a
‘plausible' inference of wrongdoing.”
16630 Southfield Ltd. P'ship v. Flagstar Bank,
F.S.B., 727 F.3d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). A
claim becomes 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
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556
(2007)). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss,
the Court must presume all of the factual allegations in the
complaint are true and draw all reasonable inferences in
favor of the non-moving party. Total Benefits Planning
Agency, Inc., 552 F.3d at 434 (citing Great Lakes
Steel, 716 F.2d at 1105). “The court need not,
however, accept unwarranted factual inferences.”
Id. (citing Morgan v. Church's Fried
Chicken, 829 F.2d 10, 12 (6th Cir. 1987)). Should the
well-pleaded facts support no “more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, ” then dismissal is
warranted. Iqbal, 556 U.S at 679. The Court may
grant a motion to dismiss “only if, after drawing all
reasonable inferences from the allegations in the complaint
in favor of the plaintiff, the complaint still fails to
allege a plausible theory of relief.” Garceau v.
City of Flint, 572 Fed.Appx. 369, 371 (6th Cir. 2014)
(citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-79).
are four outstanding claims against Ms. Pryor: false
imprisonment, loss of consortium, malicious prosecution, and
breach of duty to disclose exculpatory evidence. The Court
will address each claim below.
Ms. Pryor argues that Plaintiffs' false imprisonment
claim should be dismissed because it was raised outside the
relevant statute of limitations. [DN 20-1 at 102]. Pursuant
to KRS 413.140(1)(c), malicious or false arrest claims have a
one-year statute of limitations. Id. In this case,
Mr. Walden was arrested on September 27, 2016 and released on
October 7, 2016. Id. at 102-03. He may have been
briefly detained after he was indicted on February 3, 2017.
Id. at 103. Thus, Ms. Pryor argues, the latest Mr.
Walden could bring his false imprisonment claim would be
February 3, 2018. Id. However, the current action
was not filed until October 22, 2018. Id. In their
response, Plaintiffs do not dispute that KRS 413.140(1)(c)
applies to their claim, but argue that the limitations period
begins to run when the plaintiff discovers, or in the
exercise of reasonable diligence should have discovered, his
injury was caused by the defendant's conduct. [DN 25 at
133-34]. Mr. Walden claims he did not become aware that Ms.
Pryor's conduct was actionable until the special
prosecutor recommended all charges against him be dismissed
in May 2018. Id. at 134. Thus, Plaintiffs believe
their October 2018 Complaint was filed within the one-year
statute of limitations. Id. Alternatively,
Plaintiffs argue that the statute of limitations should be
tolled because Ms. Pryor intentionally concealed her
wrongdoing in order to induce Plaintiffs' inaction.
Dunn v. Felty, the Kentucky Supreme Court addressed
the issue: “when does the statute of limitations begin
to run against an arrestee's claim for false imprisonment
or false arrest?” Dunn v. Felty, 226 S.W.3d
68, 69 (Ky. 2007). First, the court noted that KRS
413.140(1)(c)'s one-year statute of limitations applies
to claims for false imprisonment. Id. at 70-71. It
then discussed the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in
Wallace v. Kato in which a false imprisonment claim
was filed nine years after the plaintiff's allegedly
illegal arrest, but less than one year after prosecutors
dropped charges against him. See Id. at 71 (citing
Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 127 S.Ct. 1091, 166
L.Ed.2d 973 (2007)). In Wallace, the Supreme Court
found that “limitations begin to run against an action
for false imprisonment when the alleged false imprisonment
ends.” Id. at 72 (citing Wallace, 549
U.S. at 1095-96) (internal citations omitted). The Court
reasoned that because “false imprisonment consists of
detention without legal process, a false imprisonment ends
once the victim becomes held pursuant to such
process-when for example, he is bound over by a
magistrate or arraigned on charges.” Id.
(citing Wallace, 549 U.S. at 1095-96). The Kentucky
Supreme Court adopted the Court's reasoning and concluded
that “Dunn's false imprisonment ended when he
became held pursuant to legal process, ” i.e.,
“when he was arraigned on the charges.”
Id. Since Dunn filed his claim more than 17 months
after his arraignment, the action was time-barred by the
one-year statute of limitations. Id.; see also
Thieneman v. Smith, No. 3:17-CV-292-DJH, 2018 WL
1522357, at *10 (W.D. Ky. Mar. 28, 2018); Hyche v.
Molett, No. 2016-CA-000089-MR, 2018 WL 2187006, at *4
(Ky. Ct. App. May 11, 2018).
case, Mr. Walden's false imprisonment claim was untimely.
Mr. Walden was arrested on September 27, 2016 and released on
October 7, 2016. [DN 21-1 at 102-03]. According to the
Christian County District Court's docket, Mr. Walden was
arraigned on September 28, 2016. [DN 20-3]. Pursuant to
Kentucky case law, Mr. Walden's alleged false
imprisonment ended when he was arraigned on the charges.
Therefore, the statute of limitations for Mr. Walden's
false imprisonment claim began running on September 28, 2016.
See Dunn v. Felty, 226 S.W.3d 68, 74 (Ky. 2007).
Since Mr. Walden did not file his false imprisonment claim
until nearly two years later on October 22, 2018, his claim
is barred by the one-year statute of limitations. Moreover,
the Court is unpersuaded that Ms. Pryor intentionally
deceived Plaintiff in order to prevent him from filing his
cause of action in a timely manner. Thus, Plaintiff's
argument that the statute of limitations should be tolled is
without merit. Accordingly, Ms. Pryor's motion to dismiss
is GRANTED and Plaintiff's false imprisonment claim is
dismissed with prejudiced.