Harris v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: (1) Pla's 10 Motion to Amend her Complaint is DENIED. (2) Dfts' 8 Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Signed by Judge Joseph M. Hood on September 30, 2016. (AWD) cc: COR
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DIVISION OF KENTUCKY
CENTRAL DIVISION at LEXINGTON
COUNTY GOVERNMENT, et al.,
This matter is before the Court on Defendants’ Motion to
Dismiss [DE 8], to which Plaintiff has filed a Response [DE 9]
stating her objections and in further support of which Defendants
have filed a Reply [DE 11].
Plaintiff has also filed a Motion to
Amend her Complaint [DE 10], to which Defendants have filed a
Response [DE 12], stating their objections, and in further support
of which Plaintiff has filed a Reply [DE 13].
As set forth below,
Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to state a claim, and Plaintiff’s
Motion to Amend shall be denied as
amendment would not prevent
dismissal on the same grounds.1
Defendants have also filed a Motion to Take Judicial Notice of Certain Public
Documents in Support of Motion to Dismiss [DE 6], to which Plaintiff makes no
objection, but which addresses materials not necessary to the resolution of the
Motions to Dismiss or Amend the Complaint. This Motion shall be denied as moot.
Defendants Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (“LFUCG”) and
Rodney Ballard, Director of Community of Corrections, in his
incarcerated or detained at the LFUCG jail have been wronged by
the policy, custom, or practice of charging persons admitted to
the jail for the costs of their incarceration without due process
Plaintiff’s Complaint claims that she was injured when
the LFUCG jail retained funds held for her by the jail while she
was detained to cover the cost of her confinement under KRS
441.265, which does not require entry of a court order before
assessing such charges.
KRS 441.265 provides that a “prisoner in
reimburse the county for expenses incurred by reason of the
prisoner’s confinement as set out in this section, except for good
Specifically, she avers in Count I of her Complaint
that the collection of these fees in the absence of a court order
is a deprivation of property without due process of law and
violates the due process guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment
and the Fourth Amendment’s provision against unreasonable searches
and seizures, all in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.3
Her claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 fails as a matter of law in
light of Sickles v. Campbell Cty., 439 F. Supp. 2d 751, 755 (E.D.
Ky. 2006) aff'd, 501 F.3d 726 (6th Cir. 2007) ("May a municipal
jail, consistent with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment, withhold a portion of an inmate’s canteen-account in
order to cover the costs of booking, room and board without
providing the inmate with a hearing before it withholds the money.
Yes, we hold, and accordingly we affirm the district court’s
rejection of this claim and two others.”); see also Jones v. Clark
Cty., Kentucky, Action No. 5:15-cv-350-JMH, 2016 WL 1050743 (Mar.
11, 2016) (addressing nearly identical issue as presented in the
In Sickles, the money that pretrial detainees had
on their person was confiscated upon detention and placed in
canteen accounts, in addition to any money provided by relatives
or friends, and the canteen accounts were debited a fee for booking
and a per diem fee for housing.
Sickles, 439 F. Supp. 2d at 755.
deduction of fees from a prisoner’s account) and the definition of
“prisoner” in KRS 441.005(3)(c)4 (which includes not just convicted
individuals, but any person confined and charged with an offense),
the Court held that “the correct reading of [KRS 441.265] is that
the fees may be imposed as soon as the prisoner is booked into the
jail and may be periodically deducted from the prisoner’s account
“Prisoner” is defined as “any person confined in jail pursuant to any code,
ordinance, law, or statute of any unit of government and who is: (a) Charged
with or convicted of an offense; or (b) Held for extradition or as a material
witness; or (c) Confined for any other reason.” KRS § 441.005(3).
as provided by local regulation.”
Sickles, 439 F. Supp. 2d at
755. The Sickles Court further concluded that “[s]ince the statute
is valid, the inmate owes fees that begin to accrue immediately
upon his or her being booked into the jail.”
to “sentencing court” in KRS 411.265(1), according to Sickles, is
to allow the court to impose a judgment for any deficiency at
sentencing which was not defrayed by automatic deduction.
While Harris believes that the district court’s opinion in
Sickles is “just plainly, demonstrably wrong,” [DE 9 at 93], “this
[C]ourt cannot ignore binding precedent” from the Sixth Circuit
Court of Appeals.
Willoughby v. Simpson, No. 08-179-DLB, 2014 WL
4269115, at *32 (E.D. Ky. Aug. 29, 2014).
As this Court has noted,
“[a]bsent a clear directive from the Supreme Court or a decision
of the Court of Appeals sitting en banc , . . . a district court,
is not at liberty to reverse the circuit's precedent.”
(quoting Hall v. Eichenlaub, 559 F.Supp.2d 777, 781–82 (E.D. Mich.
Further, to the extent that Harris believed it would
change the legal calculus in this matter, the Kentucky Supreme
Court has declined to grant discretionary review in Cole v. Warren
Cty., Kentucky, No. 2014-CA-000778, No. 2014-CA-000812-MR (stating
in dicta that Kentucky Court of Appeals would conclude, if asked,
that KRS 441.265 does not violate constitutional guarantee of due
application of the law to the facts, even if the Court accepts the
facts averred as true.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) (providing
plaintiff’s complaint; Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555-56, 570 (2007), (only a claim which is “plausible on its
face” will survive dismissal and factual allegations in a complaint
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint
are true (even if doubtful in fact).”); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (explaining that a court must accept as true
all of the well-pleaded factual allegations contained in the
complaint and that “[a] claim is plausible when it contains facts
that allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct.”); Weisbarth v.
Geauga Park Dist., 499 F.3d 538, 542 (6th Cir. 2007). Accordingly,
her claims in Count I will be dismissed with prejudice.
Since Plaintiff has not adequately pleaded her substantive
claim in Count I as set forth above, the Court has no basis upon
which to issue declaratory relief, and therefore, Plaintiff’s
claim seeking a declaratory judgment is dismissed.
Int'l Ass'n of
Machinists & Aerospace Workers v. Tennessee Valley Auth., 108 F.3d
658, 668 (6th Cir. 1997).
Similarly, because Plaintiff cannot
establish that in the absence of an injunction, she or anyone else
will suffer irreparable harm with no remedy at law, an injunction
is not appropriate either.
Plaintiff’s claims under federal law
in Counts VII and IX also fail and must be dismissed under Fed. R.
Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
jurisdiction over her remaining state law claims in Counts II
These claims shall be dismissed without prejudice.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3) (“The district courts may decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim under subsection
(a) if . . . the district court has dismissed all claims over which
it has original jurisdiction. . . .”).
Accordingly, for all of the reasons stated above, IT IS HEREBY
Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend her Complaint [DE 10] is
Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [DE 8] is GRANTED IN PART
and DENIED IN PART.
This the 30th day of September, 2016.
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