University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Cole v. Warren County CJ-KY-0007
Docket / Court 1:11-cv-00189-JHM-HBB ( W.D. Ky. )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On December 12, 2011, two former inmates of the Warren County Jail (“Jail”) filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The plaintiffs sued Warren County (“County”) and the South Central Bank of Bowling Green (“Bank”) under 42 U.S.C § ... read more >
On December 12, 2011, two former inmates of the Warren County Jail (“Jail”) filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The plaintiffs sued Warren County (“County”) and the South Central Bank of Bowling Green (“Bank”) under 42 U.S.C §1983 and Section 10 of the Kentucky Constitution. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive and monetary relief, claiming violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs argue that the Warren County Jail had a policy of taking checks and cash from the inmates during their admission and, without their knowledge or consent, presenting the checks and cash to the Bank, which accepted them for deposit into Jail’s accounts at the Bank. The plaintiffs also alleged that the Jail retained proceeds of such checks and cash without plaintiff’s consent, and in excess of the amounts authorized by the state law (KRS 441.265) to cover the charges and fees the Jail was entitled to receive.

The plaintiffs proposed three classes:
(a) all persons incarcerated in the Jail who were not sentenced prisoners who have had checks in their possession when admitted to the Jail taken, endorsed and deposited by the County Defendants in the Jail’s account or accounts with the Bank or other financial institutions;
(b) all persons incarcerated in the Jail who were not sentenced prisoners who have had the cash and checks in their possession when admitted to the Jail retained by the County Defendants without their written consent, and/or in violation of and/or in excess of sums permitted under KRS § 441.265; and
(c) all persons incarcerated in the Jail who were not sentenced prisoners who have had the cash and checks in their possession when admitted to the Jail retained by the County Defendants without giving an accounting to such persons upon release from the Jail.

The Bank moved to dismiss the complaint on January 20, 2012. It alleged the plaintiffs had failed to state a claim under 42 U.S.C §1983, because (i) the Bank did not act under color of state law, and (ii) the plaintiffs' constitutional rights were not infringed. Moreover, it argued that the plaintiffs' complaint did not contain plausible violations of Kentucky Law. In the alternative, the Bank stated that the state law claims should not be examined by the court.

The County filed a motion for summary judgment on the same day. It argued that (i) part of the claims related to a 2003 incarceration of one of the plaintiffs and, thus, were barred by the statute of limitations; and (ii) the plaintiffs could not state a claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983 because the Jail policy did not violate plaintiffs’ constitutional rights and there was no state law violation. Additionally, the County stated that the state law claims failed, and that the plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies established by Kentucky before bringing the suit.

On April 16, 2012, the plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint, in order to (i) add a new plaintiff and class representative, (ii) specify that the Bank was a state actor and its conduct was taken under color of state law, and (iii) add a claim for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

On May 29, 2012, Judge Joseph H. McKinley, Jr. granted the Bank’s motion to dismiss and the County’s motion for summary judgment as to the 42 U.S.C. §1983 claim. The opinion stated (i) the jail policy was not an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment, provided the provision of KRS § 441.265 were followed; (ii) a 42 U.S.C. §1983 claim was not the appropriate remedy for the plaintiffs, thus their allegations concerning their Fourteenth Amendment rights should be dismissed; and (iii) the Bank was not acting under the color of state law for purposes of a §1983 claim. The opinion also denied plaintiffs’ motion for leave to file an amended class action complaint, stating that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was not applicable to the case and, therefore, the amendment was futile. Finally, Judge Joseph H. McKinley, Jr. declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims, dismissing them without prejudice. The case was then closed.

Daniele de Oliveira Nunes - 02/09/2019


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Commitment procedure
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) South Central Bank of Bowling Green, Inc.
Warren County, Kentucky
Plaintiff Description Two former inmates of the Warren County Regional Jail
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2011
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing CJ-KY-0006 : Cole v. Warren County (State Court)
Docket(s)
1:11-cv-00189 (W.D. Ky.)
CJ-KY-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/31/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-KY-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/12/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 30] (2012 WL 1950419) (W.D. Ky.)
CJ-KY-0007-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/29/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Brennenstuhl, H. Brent Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
CJ-KY-0007-9000
McKinley, Joseph H. Jr. (W.D. Ky.) show/hide docs
CJ-KY-0007-0003 | CJ-KY-0007-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bathurst, Camille (Kentucky) show/hide docs
CJ-KY-0007-0002 | CJ-KY-0007-9000
Belzley, Gregory A. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
CJ-KY-0007-0002 | CJ-KY-0007-9000
Logsdon, Gary S. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
CJ-KY-0007-0002 | CJ-KY-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Blankenship, Stacey A. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
CJ-KY-0007-9000
Lewis, Benjamin J. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
CJ-KY-0007-9000
Moore, Douglas R. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
CJ-KY-0007-9000
Riddle, Mark S. (Kentucky) show/hide docs
CJ-KY-0007-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -