United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
ADRIENNE L. HOWELL, et al. PLAINTIFF
FATHER MALONEY'S BOYS' HAVEN, INC., d/b/a FATHER MALONEY'S BOYS & GIRLS HAVEN, et al. DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Chief Judge United States District Court
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss (DN 34), Plaintiff's Motion to Certify and for a
Stay (DN 27), Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a
Sur-Reply or to Strike (DN 48), and Plaintiff's Motion to
Amend the Case Caption (DN 44). The motions are ripe for
review. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion
is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, Plaintiff's motion
to amend is GRANTED, and the remaining motions are DENIED.
action arises from the assault Plaintiff Adrienne Howell
(“Howell”) suffered while working for Father
Maloney's Boys & Girls Haven (“BGH”), a
residential institution that provides treatment to at-risk
youth. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1-2, 8, DN 24-3).
Specifically, one of BGH's residents, R.B.L., choked
Howell unconscious and sodomized her while she was working in
a secluded barn on the BGH campus. (Am. Compl. ¶¶
originally brought this action on March 5, 2018, in Jefferson
Circuit Court. (Compl. 1, DN 1-2). She asserted Fourteenth
Amendment claims against BGH and Jeff Hadley
(“Hadley”) (collectively “BGH
Defendants”) and against the Kentucky Cabinet for
Health and Family Services (“CHFS”), former
Secretary of CHFS Vickie Yates Brown Glisson
(“Glisson”), and acting Secretary of CHFS Scott
Brinkman (“Brinkman”) (collectively the
“CHFS Defendants”). (Compl. ¶¶ 4, 6,
34-55). Howell also asserted a premises liability claim and
what appears to be a fraudulent inducement claim, both under
Kentucky state law, against the BGH Defendants. (Compl.
¶¶ 55-76). Finally, Howell asserted Kentucky state
law intentional tort claims of assault and false imprisonment
against R.B.L. (Compl. ¶¶ 77-83).
CHFS Defendants removed the case to federal court on the
basis of federal question jurisdiction over the Fourteenth
Amendment claims and supplemental jurisdiction over the
remaining claims. (Notice Removal 1-2, DN 1). Howell
eventually restyled her “Fourteenth Amendment”
claims against the CHFS Defendants and the BGH Defendants as
42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims. (Am. Compl. ¶¶
32-33). The CHFS Defendants have since been dismissed from
this case as a result of Howell's voluntary dismissal of
her claims against CHFS and Brinkman and the Court's
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) dismissal of Howell's Section 1983
claim against Glisson. (Order 3-8, DN 30). The remaining
claims are Howell's Section 1983 claims against the BGH
Defendants and Howell's state law claims against the BGH
Defendants and R.B.L.
Defendants now seek to have all claims against them
dismissed. (Defs.' Mot. Dismiss, DN 34). Howell asks this
Court to amend the case caption, to certify a question of law
to the Kentucky Supreme Court and stay all pending matters,
and to file a sur-reply to the BGH Defendants' reply or
to strike the BGH Defendants' reply. (Pl.'s Mot.
Amend Case Caption, DN 44; Pl.'s Mot. File Sur-Reply or
Strike, DN 48; Pl.'s Mot. Certify Question, DN 27).
Court possesses federal question and supplemental
jurisdiction over this case. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331; 28
U.S.C. § 1367(a).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,
” and is subject to dismissal if it “fail[s] to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). 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 omitted) (citation omitted).
survive dismissal for failure to state a claim under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation
marks omitted) (citation omitted). A claim is facially
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.”
Id. “A complaint will be dismissed pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6) 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 561-64).
Motion to Amend the Case Caption
preliminary matter, Howell requests to amend this case's
caption by modifying “R.B.L.” to reflect
R.B.L.'s full name, Robert Brown Lester
(“Lester”), and to remove in the case caption
“as a minor by and through his parens patriae [the
Cabinet for Health and Family Services]” and “by
and through his natural parent, Sherri Carter.”
(Pl.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Amend Case Caption 1, DN 44-1).
Lester is the individual alleged to have sexually assaulted
Howell and was a minor at the time of the alleged sexual
assault and at the time of the filing of Howell's suit.
(Pl.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Amend Case Caption 1-2). Lester
has subsequently reached the age of majority. (Pl.'s Mem.
Supp. Mot. Amend Case Caption 2). Howell requests the case
caption change to facilitate service because service upon the
Cabinet and Carter was returned unexecuted and because
service may be made upon Lester personally now that he is an
adult. (Unexecuted Service, DNs 45, 46); see Fed.R.Civ.P.
no reason to deny Howell's motion, the Court will grant
her request as Lester has now reached the age of majority and
is the alleged perpetrator, not the victim, of the sexual
assault, and because doing so will facilitate service.
Compare M.P.T.C. v. Nelson Cty. Sch. Dist., 192
F.Supp.3d 798, 811 (W.D. Ky. 2016) (“To the extent that
Plaintiff seeks to amend the case caption to substitute his
initials with his full name because he has reached the age of
majority, the Court grants the relief.”), with Doe
v. Unified Sch. Dist. No. 259, No. 05-1151-JTM, 2007 WL
1796202, at *3 (D. Kan. Jun 19, 2007) (refusing to change
case caption to identify minor sexual assault victim who
subsequently reached the age of majority to preserve privacy
of victim and because the victim reaching the age of majority
was the only reason for the requested name change).
Motion to Dismiss
Defendants seek to dismiss the three claims that Howell has
asserted against them: (1) a Section 1983 claim; (2) what
appears to be a premises liability claim; and (3) what
appears to be a fraudulent inducement claim. (Am. Compl.
¶¶ 32-33, 43-76). As explained in the next section,
the BGH Defendants' motion is granted to the extent the