Caldwell v. Kentucky State Police et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER: 1. Plaintiff Calvin C. Caldwell, Jr.s Complaint [Record No. 1] is DISMISSED, with prejudice. 2. A corresponding Judgment will be entered this date. 3. This is a FINAL and APPEALABLE Order and there is no just cause for delay. 4. This matter is DISMISSED and STRICKEN from the Courts docket.. Signed by Judge Danny C. Reeves on 7/16/2015.(JMB)cc: COR, Calvin Caldwell, Jr. via US Mail
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
CALVIN C. CALDWELL, JR.,
KENTUCKY STATE POLICE, et al.,
Civil Action No. 6: 15-43-DCR
*** *** *** ***
Plaintiff Calvin C. Caldwell, Jr., is an inmate presently confined at the Mansfield
Correctional Institute in Mansfield, Ohio. Proceeding without an attorney, Caldwell has filed
a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [Record No. 1] The Court conducts a
preliminary review of Caldwell’s Complaint because he has been granted permission to pay
the filing fee in installments and asserts claims against government officials. 28 U.S.C. §§
A district court must dismiss any claim that is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir. 1997).
Caldwell’s Complaint is reviewed under a more lenient standard because he is not represented
by an attorney. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Burton v. Jones, 321 F.3d 569,
573 (6th Cir. 2003). At this stage of the proceedings, the Court accepts the plaintiff’s factual
allegations as true and construes all legal claims in his favor. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555–56 (2007).
On February 11, 2013, Caldwell was driving north through Laurel County, Kentucky,
with Burke Webb. While traveling on Interstate 75, Kentucky State Police (“KSP”) Officer
Owens stopped the vehicle. Caldwell alleges that Officer Owens never advised him of the
reason for the stop but, instead, directed Webb to exit the vehicle. Owens then proceeded to
question Webb for nearly ninety minutes. [Record No. 1, p. 4] Thereafter, Officer Owens
radioed for assistance and an unknown KSP Officer (“John Doe #1”) arrived. Caldwell asserts
that Officer Owens then directed him to exit the vehicle, took $2,200.00 from him, and
questioned him for approximately thirty minutes. Id.
Officer Owens next requested that a police dog be brought to the scene. Two hours
later, the police dog and its handler arrived. According to Caldwell, the dog “worked” the
vehicle three times. After the vehicle was searched, Webb and Caldwell were arrested and
transported to the KSP barracks in London, Kentucky on unspecified charges. [Id.] The next
day, Caldwell posted a $10,000.00 cash bond and was released. Caldwell indicates that Officer
Owens did not appear for his arraignment on February 13, 2013. As a result, the charges
against him were dismissed. On July 29, 2013, Caldwell filed a motion to recover the
$2,200.00 seized on the date of the arrest and the $10,000.00 cash bond, but only the latter was
returned. [Id., p. 5] Caldwell states that in December 2013 he hired attorney Kenneth
Sizemore to recover the additional cash that had been seized.
Caldwell states that a prior lawsuit was filed on November 25, 2014, regarding these
events. [Id., pp. 2–3] In Caldwell v. United States of America, No. 6:14-CV-225-DLB (E.D.
Ky. 2014), Caldwell seeks a writ of mandamus and/or procedendo to compel a final resolution
of the criminal case in Laurel County, Commonwealth v. Caldwell, No. 13-CR.00111-002, as
well as the return of the same $2,200.00 that is the basis for this action. In the complaint filed
in that case, Caldwell asserts that he received a certified copy of an order showing that the
Laurel Circuit Court had dismissed the case on May 17, 2013. [Caldwell, No. 6:14-CV-225DLB (E.D. Ky. 2014), Record No. 1, pp. 1, 3] On September 18, 2014, the Laurel Circuit
Court entered an Order indicating that “this case shall remain dismissed as fugitive status1
pursuant to the Court’s Order of 10/29/13, with leave for the Commonwealth to redocket.”
[Caldwell, No. 6:14-CV-225-DLB (E.D. Ky. 2014), Record No. 1-1, p. 1] In October 2014,
Caldwell sent a letter and motions to the Laurel Circuit Court seeking to compel a formal
resolution of charges under Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2941.401 because a detainer filed in June
2013 by Kentucky authorities remained lodged with Ohio authorities even after the dismissal
of the Kentucky charges. [Id., pp. 3–5] This federal action remains pending for initial
In the present action, Caldwell asserts that, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the KSP and the
two arresting officers violated his constitutional rights by seizing the $2,200.00. He alleges
that the seizure and retention of the money violates his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and
Fourteenth Amendments, id., and seeks $2,200.00 in damages, attorney’s fees in the amount
of $2,000.00, and interest. [Id., p. 6] These claims will be dismissed for several reasons.
First, the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution specifically prohibits
federal courts from exercising subject matter jurisdiction over a suit for money damages
brought directly against the state, its agencies, and state officials sued in their official
On March 12, 2014, Caldwell was placed in the Mansfield Correctional Institution to serve a 30
month term of incarceration for drug trafficking in Richland County, Ohio. This prison term is set to expire
on June 28, 2016. See http://goo.gl/efzLZF (last visited July 14, 2015).
capacities. See Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Auth. v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., 506 U.S. 139,
143–45 (1993); Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 169 (1985); Cady v. Arenac Cnty., 574
F.3d 334, 342 (6th Cir. 2009). It is well-established that the Kentucky State Police constitutes
an “arm of the state” for Eleventh Amendment purposes. See Kenney v. Paris Police Dept.,
No. 5:07-CV-358-JMH, 2011 WL 1582125, at *4–5 (E.D. Ky. Apr. 26, 2011) (“The Sixth
Circuit has previously recognized the Kentucky State Police is entitled to governmental
immunity under the Eleventh Amendment.”) (citing Barnes v. Hamilton, No. 91-5360, 1991
U.S. App. LEXIS 24593, at *4 (6th Cir. Oct. 10, 1991)); McCrystal v. Kentucky State Police,
No. 6:07-434-DCR, 2008 WL 4975109, at *3 (E.D. Ky. Nov. 20, 2008) (KRS § 16.060
establishes KSP as state agency for Eleventh Amendment purposes). Additionally, states, state
agencies, and state officials sued in their official capacities for monetary damages are not
considered “persons” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d
1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994). As a result, the claims against the Kentucky State Police must be
Next, Caldwell’s claims against KSP Officers Owens and “John Doe #1” are barred by
the applicable statute of limitations. Because 42 U.S.C. § 1983 does not supply its own
statutory limitations period, federal courts borrow the most analogous statute of limitations
from the state where the events giving rise to the cause of action occurred. Wilson v. Garcia,
471 U.S. 261, 268–71 (1985).
The events at issue occurred in Kentucky.
Kentucky’s one-year statute of limitations for asserting claims for personal injuries applies.
KRS § 413.140(1)(a); Mitchell v. Chapman, 343 F.3d 811, 825 (6th Cir. 2003). A claim
accrues and the statute of limitations begins to run when a plaintiff knows, or has reason to
know through the exercise of reasonable diligence, of the injury providing the basis for the
claim. Kelly v. Burks, 415 F.3d 558, 561 (6th Cir. 2005).
Caldwell claims that his funds were taken on February 11, 2013. Notwithstanding his
July 29, 2013 motion, the Laurel Circuit Court did not order the funds returned and the charges
against him were dismissed. At this time, and certainly no later than December 2013 when
Caldwell retained counsel to seek the return of the funds, Caldwell was actually aware of the
basis for his claim. But he did not file this action until March 16, 2015. [Record No. 1] Using
December 2013 as the latest viable time for accrual of his claims, Caldwell has failed to file
this action within the one-year limitations period. Therefore, his claims against arresting KSP
Officers Owens and “John Doe #1” for confiscation of his funds are time-barred. Dellis v.
Corr. Corp. of Am., 257 F.3d 508, 511 (6th Cir. 2001).
Additionally, Caldwell’s nonspecific reference to the Fifth Amendment suggests a
claim under the Takings Clause. However, the seizure of private property during the course
of a criminal investigation does not implicate the Fifth Amendment. Smith v. LexingtonFayette Urban Cnty. Gov’t, 2011 WL 1792130, at *6 (E.D. Ky. May 9, 2011) (citing Laguna
Gatuna, Inc., v. United States, 50 Fed. Cl. 336, 341 (Fed. Cl. 2001) (“[S]eizure of private
property implicated in the commission of crimes is not viewed through the prism of the takings
clause.”). Further, Caldwell’s allegations are insufficient to state a claim for a violation of his
due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment because he does not contend that
Kentucky’s post-deprivation procedures are unavailable or inadequate as a mechanism to seek
the return of his money. Rothhaupt v. Maiden, 144 F. App’x 465, 471–72 (6th Cir. 2005)
(citing Mitchell v. Fankhauser, 375 F.3d 477, 481–84 (6th Cir. 2004)). Accordingly, it is
ORDERED as follows:
Plaintiff Calvin C. Caldwell, Jr.’s Complaint [Record No. 1] is DISMISSED,
A corresponding Judgment will be entered this date.
This is a FINAL and APPEALABLE Order and there is no just cause for delay.
This matter is DISMISSED and STRICKEN from the Court’s docket.
This 16th day of July, 2015.
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