Brent Ackerson Debates Mike O’Connell

Watch this debate and make an informed decision May 22, 2018.

The Louisville Forum hosted a debate between Brent Ackerson and Mike O’Connell. The debate for Jefferson County Attorney touches on several key issues such as drug policy, jail over-crowding, the sexual abuse lawsuit brought by minors in the Explorer program and restorative justice. Each candidate provides their vision for the office of County Attorney in Louisville as well as other topics.

*for extra sourced points throughout the video turn on subtitles. Sources of the statements made in the subtitles are available among other articles at and are listed below.

A transcript is posted below as well. This was machine generated and may contain technical errors.

Transcript Unavailable

Lawsuit: Prosecutors Must Donate To Boss’s Campaign

A veteran attorney in a Kentucky county prosecutor’s office claims she was fired for reporting that her boss, an elected official, illegally pressured lawyers in the department to donate money to his political campaign and party.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell used the “fear [of] his wrath” to pressure assistant prosecutors to donate to his political campaign and Democrats, according to a lawsuit filed this week by the fired prosecutor (Glenda Bradshaw). A former Jefferson County director of criminal prosecutions, Bradshaw says her boss “kept track of who did or did not contribute to his campaign” and “was known to summon the campaign contribution list if he was going to take employment action within his office.”

She also claims in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed this week that O’Connell created a hostile work environment, discriminated against her because of her gender and retaliated against her for the actions she took. Before getting fired Bradshaw was a prosecutor for nearly 25 years, 16 of them at the county attorney’s office.

A former district and circuit court judge, O’Connell was appointed Jefferson County Attorney last summer as a replacement for the prosecutor who received a judicial appointment. He has been preparing his campaign to run for a full term in the May Democratic primary and has raised a chunk of cash from employees in the county attorney’s office he runs, according to state election finance records.

It’s perfectly legal for employees to contribute to a public official’s election campaign as long as the donations are voluntary and not in any way coerced. O’Connell says he fired Bradshaw for failing to enforce a policy designed to track Louisville Metro Police officers who failed to appear in court and therefore neglecting to report the absences to the department.

O’Connell implemented the system after a local newspaper published a series revealing that more than 600 felony defendants were freed in one year alone because officers failed to appear for district court hearings. Initially prosecutors kept a close watch on the absent cops, but eventually they “weren’t keeping score,” O’Connell said, adding that is what ultimately resulted in Bradshaw’s termination.

Regardless of what version the public believes, this sort of turmoil and legal drama among top prosecutors is certain to have a negative impact in Kentucky’s most populous county. After all, the public pays their salary to put away the bad guys not fight each other.

source: January 2010

An uncivil action – LEO Weekly

On Jan. 5, attorney Glenda Bradshaw, head of criminal prosecutions for the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, didn’t expect that before the day ended she would be escorted out of the Hall of Justice by security. The longtime prosecutor, who had served in the county attorney’s office for 16 years, had been fired and was immediately … Continued

Source: An uncivil action – LEO Weekly

Louisville Corruption Review focuses on O’Connell 

“…O’Connell kept track of who did or did not contribute to his campaign,”

 Bradshaw also charges in her suit, filed in Jefferson Circuit Court, that County Attorney Mike O’Connell pressured some of his assistants to donate to his election campaign “or fear his wrath.”

Mike O’Connell, Jefferson County Attorney, and the Price of “Loyalty”.

by Michael Stevens
“It is money, money, money! Not ideas, not principles, but
money that reigns supreme in American politics.”
Robert C. Byrd
A recent op-ed from the Courier-Journal discussed how elected government
officials in Jefferson County have expected their employees to contribute
financially to their re-election coffers. For example, the Jefferson County
Attorney’s office seems to have a long history of expected contributions from
the attorneys working in that office going back as far as Bruce Miller.
Basically, money has been contributed over the years by attorneys employed
at the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office to assist their boss’s election efforts.
A practice that is not new, not novel, not regulated, and worse yet apparently
not acknowledged beyond a simple denial by the current occupant of that
political office – Mike O’Connell.
The Courier-Journal calls attention to this practice and asks its readers if this is what we want or
expect from a County Attorney. Whether called campaign contributions or tokens of employee
“loyalty”, should it continue?
As an Army Judge Advocate and Army Officer occupying a position of trust and public service, we
were held to a standard even higher than the criminal and ethical codes. Accepting money from
those who work for you was and is absolutely prohibited. We were expected to even avoid even
the “appearance of impropriety”.
The Jefferson County Attorney’s Office has a large staff. A very large staff with over 400 attorneys.
All of us have read the stories on how difficult it has been for government lawyers to pay their
4/6/2018 Mike O’Connell, Jefferson County Attorney, and the Price of “Loyalty”. | Kentucky Court Report 2/13
school loans and raise a family on their government salaries with some even delivering pizza on
their own time in the evenings.
Well, the Courier-Journal has issued the challenge and concluded its opionion-editorial piece with
the following:
Sometimes the Courier-Journal irritates me with the reactionary tone of their editorials and even
their stories. However, the position that the news media occupies as the “Fourth Estate” aka the
“press” can never be understated. And although everyone seems to fawn over the new digital age,
there is just some power and authority found in the written word on a piece of paper that is not
found in audio or video.
You may not always like or appreciate the stories, but most of us will acknowledge the value they
provide in accountability with the gathering of facts, interviews of those involved, and a
marshaling of all that has been accumulated with a conclusion and opinion which you can either
agree or disagree. Those of us who blog part time owe a debt to the hard work that it takes to
uncover these stories which allow bloggers like myself to throw in out two cents worth of opinion.
Thank you.
Here is the op-ed piece. Hopefully, the Courier will keep it available on-line for some time.
Mike O’Connell’s Loyal Employees
Mr. O’Connell can deny he seeks money from employees. But he can’t deny the appearance
that employees feel pressured to give.
His current fundraising may not violate the law. It may skirt the Metro ethics ordinance.
But like so many things in politics, it doesn’t pass the smell test.
So why not limit contributions from employees? Or just stop taking them?
That way his employees could devote their full loyalty to the public and keep all of their hardearned
paychecks for doing so.

Ah, for the good old days of Jefferson County politics where the “2 percent” club flourished in
local offices and employees didn’t have to wonder how much to donate to the election fund of
the boss.
Former Jefferson County Attorney J. Bruce Miller called his request for 2 percent of
employees’ pay the “Assistant County Attorney Voluntary Fund.”

4/6/2018 Mike O’Connell, Jefferson County Attorney, and the Price of “Loyalty”. | Kentucky Court Report 3/13
Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014
News: “Judicial Branch implements… COAM 2014:06 – Court of Appeals M…
Click on the above heading for the rest of the CJ Post.
Categories: Ethics, Government, Opinions and Editorials
Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are inappropriate, offensive or off-topic.
And former Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Greene made it easy by tucking envelopes into the
paycheck of each employee that bore their names and a calculation of 2 percent of their pay.
But times have changed.
Today, it seems heavy-handed, if not outright wrong, for elected bosses to suggest employees
must donate a fixed amount for the privilege of keeping their jobs.
So Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell has come up with a new euphemism for
employee support, calling it “loyalty.”
“I tell people that I hire that I seek competency, diligence and loyalty,” he told The CourierJournal’s
Andrew Wolfson. “And loyalty means they support me and this office in all things we
do, including my election.”
His staff of nearly 400, including 120 prosecutors, has been amazingly loyal, according to
campaign finance records of Mr. O’Connell, a Democrat who is running for re-election to his
second full term.
Nearly half of the $201,000 Mr. O’Connell has amassed since his last election in 2010 came
from assistant county attorneys and other employees in his office.
And this was for a race in which he didn’t even have an opponent until lawyer Karen
Faulkner stepped forward one day before last week’s filing deadline

Kentucky Judge Says Attorney’s Traffic School Can’t Dismiss 2,300 Cases

October 2, 2015


A Kentucky district court judge is challenging a county attorney’s revenue-generating traffic school in the state.

Kentucky news outlets report Judge Sean Delahanty is opposed to the operation of Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell’s traffic school which allows Louisville traffic violators to get their cases dismissed without having to pay court costs. The school, called Drive Safe Louisville, generates revenue to operate the county attorney’s office.

Delahanty has declined to dismiss charges against roughly 2,300 defendants who have graduated from the program, arguing the county attorney’s office has no right to dismiss charges without court costs also being applied.

According to reports, when the traffic program started, then-District Judge Ann Bailey Smith also declined to dismiss citations against motorists who completed the program, saying they must also pay court costs of $134. A state Supreme Court ruling filed in June, however, said Smith’s objections were rendered moot and allowed drivers to get their citations dismissed if they pay a fee and take O’Connell’s online program. The court dismissed an appeal by Smith last week.

Despite the court’s ruling, Delahanty set a Thursday hearing for five representative defendants, news outlets report. Delahanty said any order he issues will apply to all 2,300 cases that ended up in his court.

O’Connell said in court papers that the charges against all 2,300 should be dismissed based on the state Supreme Court’s ruling and added that Delahanty has no legal grounds for “cherry picking” five representatives.

According to reports, in the first 18 months of operation, 17,557 drivers completed O’Connell’s program, which generated about $2.6 million. About $1.3 million went to the county attorney’s office. The rest goes to a contractor that runs the program and to nine recipients including the state and local governments to fund local jails and other programs.

Drug court judge seeks emergency fund for participants in treatment program

District Court Judge Stephanie Pearce Burke

District Court Judge Stephanie Pearce Burke says her speciality drug court in Jefferson County designed to steer criminal defendants toward addiction treatment instead of jail is producing good results, but it’s only at half-capacity and in need of discretionary funds to help participants in crisis pay for housing, medication and food to increase their odds of completing the program.

Earlier this week, Burke participated in the inaugural criminal justice roundtable of city leaders created by Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together (CLOUT), a faith-based social justice group. In the meeting — which included representatives of Louisville Metro Police, Metro Council, Mayor Greg Fischer’s office, Metro Corrections and the Jefferson County Attorney — CLOUT advocated for several policy changes to steer those with mental illness and drug addiction away from the criminal justice system and toward treatment and services.

Asked what the roundtable participants can do to help the drug court system, Burke said the court is in need of a discretionary fund to help participants who immediately require financial assistance — such as $75-100 to pay for a first week’s rent, $50 to fill a prescription to treat a co-occurring mental illness, or even food and clothing in an emergency.

“Even $5,000 or $10,000 would be a huge amount of money and go a long way in meeting the needs of our participants,” said Burke, who added that stable housing is often the largest burden and obstacle toward their successful completion of the program.

While her court can’t itself fundraise, she suggested that a steering committee be formed that could take on this task, as has taken place in other cities around the country in implementing similar drug courts.

Though Burke said her drug court is growing with an influx of participants in the past month, it is “currently only at about half capacity,” which aligned with CLOUT’s handout at the meeting stating that the drug court has enough staff to serve 160 participants, but only 80-90 are currently in the program. But while CLOUT called for “more training of judges and prosecutors” on the benefits of the program so they will refer more defendants to it, after the meeting Burke countered that the lack of participation is more due to hesitancy among defense attorneys who she says often believe they can get their client a better deal outside the rigorous treatment model of the drug court.

“I’ve had attorneys tell me ‘well, drug court is for criminals and my client is not a criminal,’” said Burke. “Well, that’s actually backwards. Drug court is for addicts, and it’s addicts who end up in the criminal system due to their addiction. And we treat them like people who have an illness, which they do.”

In the meeting, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell took issue with the suggestion that his prosecutors need more training on the drug court program so they’ll refer more defendants to it, saying that while they can discuss and encourage such a decision, they cannot force a defendant to do so and “this is not a process where we just refer people into a drug court.”

“It’s not like we have empty seats in the Yum! Center and we just start shoveling people in there,” said O’Connell, whose own son died of a heroin overdose three years ago.

Burke said both defense attorneys and prosecutors alike need to examine and share a defendant’s history, even in cases as simple as theft, as “I see people who have 10 or 15 theft charges and they’re all drug related. That person is an addict and the only reason they’re stealing is to get their next fix. So why don’t we do something smart for the community and stop that perpetrating on the community and get them into treatment.”

Adding that most participants in her drug court program have co-occurring disorders of substance abuse and mental illness, Burke said such people are able to receive both mental health services and addiction treatment.

“They have a counselor, they have a clinical therapist, they have all of this through our program,” said Burke. “All of these people that are coming in front of the criminal courts do not have access to those resources. So I try to explain to (defense attorneys) that they’re not doing their client any favors by talking them out of it, when those people want treatment, they want help… People who have a support network like we have fare so much better in their sobriety and their recovery than people who are out there just kind of fending for themselves trying to do it on their own.”

Burke said the best part about drug court is that “our people are not reoffending,” adding that “on that alone, the community should be demanding that people be in our program, because it reduces recidivism, particularly of theft crimes and breaking into houses and stealing from their families and breaking into cars.”

According to Burke, only 30-35 percent of drug court participants fully complete the program and graduate, but she added this is higher than the national average that is in the 20s. Burke also said she would consider roughly 80 percent of those going through her drug court as being successful in their recovery, adding that many who don’t wind up graduating “may have been disqualified from the program or exited the program for some reason that was not reoffending or not getting in trouble or failure. And those people are still being successful – much more successful in their recovery than they were before the program.”

Louisville — like many cities throughout the country — is in the midst of a growing opioid epidemic, as both fatal and non-fatal overdoses have risen by alarming rates over the past two years, driven mostly by the use of heroin and fentanyl.

CLOUT’s inaugural “Safe City Roundtable” was held on Monday at the Metro United Way | Photo by Joe Sonka

Despite a growing national movement of addiction treatment professionals and peer-reviewed research touting medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as a best practice in combating dependence on opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers, the large majority of addiction treatment practiced around the country is abstinence-based. As of last spring, less than 2 percent of the 2,420 participants in Kentucky’s specialty courts were in a program utilizing MAT, including only seven in Jefferson County.

Of MAT, Burke said, “We’re not opposed to it and we use it when necessary.”

“We do use medication-assisted treatment when we believe it’s appropriate, but we weigh each person on a case-by-case basis and what that person’s specific needs are,” said Burke. “A lot of our people determine that they don’t want that crutch, and we have people come into the program who are on medication-assisted treatment who ultimately graduated without it by the time they came off it. So it’s a good thing to see.”

Burke said she is “a big fan of Vivitrol,” the non-narcotic monthly injection that blocks the euphoric effects of opioids. Though Suboxone — the brand name of a sublingual film containing the partial agonist opioid buprenorphine — is increasingly hailed by addiction professionals and research as a vital tool in the fight against illicit opioids, Burke said she had “a few” use that drug in treatment. She is opposed to MAT utilizing methadone, saying “we don’t see methadone as being successful” based on the participants who entered the program while using it.

Asked if appropriations from the city budget or individual council members’ discretionary funds should go toward the creation of an emergency fund for drug court participants, Burke said she is “talking with some council members at this time to do that,” adding that ” a judge should not be lobbying for funds, but we’re in the desperate situation of trying to educate them about the fact that we are without these resources.” She said the creation of a steering committee would be ideal in the short term, as “most big successful programs across the country do have those,” which could help in the writing of grant proposals for additional funds.

CLOUT also advocated at the meeting for additional financial support for Centerstone Kentucky’s new Living Room Project, in which police officers can take low-level offenders with mental health or substance abuse issues to their facility, instead of jail, where they can be connected to resources. This pilot project recently received $325,000 in the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget passed by Metro Council, but Centerstone says they will need additional funds to expand the program to its full potential for multiple years. CLOUT also is backing a similar Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) model for LMPD officers to divert low-level drug offenders to treatment, which already is supported by Chief Steve Conrad, whose department has sought a grant to implement such a model for offenders addicted to opioids.


Attorneys on Louisville Metro Council Have Taken Double Oaths

Three Metro Council members have taken sworn oaths nearly identical to the one Democrat David James is being scrutinized about as a University of Louisville police officer.

James has sworn to the Kentucky Constitution as a council member and as a major with the campus police department, which both include saying he has not “fought a duel with deadly weapons” among similar pieces of language.

The Jefferson County attorney’s office is arguing that James is holding incompatible public offices, and must relinquish one of the two.

It’s a controversial legal question that has been sent to the Commonwealth Attorney for further review, but some worry that could apply to other elected officials.

“There’s a lot of strange grey area there,” says Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26, a practicing attorney, adding he doesn’t see much difference in the oath UofL police officers and members of the state bar association take.

Before joining the council Ackerson, along with David Tandy, D-4, and David Yates, D-25, took the following oath:

Here is the oath James took as a UofL police officer:


“We’ve got judges who’ve taken the oath as lawyers and as also the oath as judge. Our county attorney is a lawyer and at the same time took an oath of office to be the county attorney,” says Ackerson. “We’ve got part-time prosecutors who work for the city in the morning in traffic court and their own law practice in the afternoon. We’ve got state legislators who are out there.”

Asked if council members who are practicing attorneys should be concerned about the same jobs conflict as James, a spokesman declined to make Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell available for an interview.

But O’Connell’s offices does argues those oaths do not apply to their legal opinion.

“Both Section 165 of the Kentucky Constitution and (state law) provide that no person shall, at the same time, be a state officer and an officer of any county, city or other municipality or an employee thereof. Merely being licensed as a practicing attorney in the Commonwealth does not establish one as a state or local officer,” said county attorney spokesman Bill Patteson.

O’Connell’s office cites several legal opinions rendered by the attorney general’s office in years past on what constitutes a “public office.”

In 2000, it was asked if Kentucky Retirement System trustees are state officers. The attorney general’s office outlined a five-part test in response.

It said the office must be created by the Constitution, state legislature, or a municipality with conferred legislative authority; must possess a portion sovereign power of the government to be exercised by the office holder for the benefit of the public; and the powers and duties of the office must be defined by the authority creating it.

The legal opinion went on to say that the duties of the office must be performed independently and without control of any “superior” public power and the office itself is one of permanency and continuity until the law creating it is repealed.

James’ defense will center more on which offices are compatible rather than the oaths taken, but his legal counsel adds the county attorney’s opinion is still incorrect.

“There is an old doctrine in Kentucky—the notion of what offices are compatible and not compatible—so it is an analysis of the offices more so than just whether someone took an oath or not,” says attorney Todd Lewis, who is representing James. “But I will tell you that our position is that the county attorney was absolutely, one-hundred percent dead wrong about his legal analysis and he was dead wrong about his motives too.”


Attorneys on Louisville Metro Council Have Taken Double Oaths



Civil Action No. 3:13-CV-802-H.


United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky at Louisville.

October 21, 2014.

Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Connie Marshall, Plaintiff, Pro Se.

Mike O’Connell, Defendant, represented by Stephen P. Durham , Jefferson County Attorney.

Louisville Metro Police Department, Defendant, represented by Stephen P. Durham , Jefferson County Attorney.

Chief Steve Conrad, Defendant, represented by Stephen P. Durham , Jefferson County Attorney.

Brandon Hogan, Louisville Metro Police Officer, Defendant, represented by Stephen P. Durham , Jefferson County Attorney.

Edward Wagner, Defendant, represented by Stephen P. Durham , Jefferson County Attorney.

Police Officer Unknown, Defendant, represented by Stephen P. Durham , Jefferson County AttorneyStephen P. Durham , Jefferson County Attorney.


JOHN G. HEYBURN, II, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff, Connie Marshall, has filed no less than twenty-nine (29) pro se lawsuits in the Western District of Kentucky between February 4, 2003 and December 18, 2010. The majority of the lawsuits make the same allegations as those raised in this suit — that the Plaintiff is the target of a vast conspiracy involving false imprisonment, violations of her civil rights, and set ups. So far none has reached even the trial stage. Defendants, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Louisville Metro Police Department (“LMPD”), LMPD Chief Steve Conrad, and LMPD Officers Brandon Hogan and Edward Wagner, have moved on all claims against them. Though Plaintiff has not responded, the Court has reviewed the motion to determine its merit. The Court agrees with the arguments set forth in Defendants’ brief. For the reasons that follow and others, Plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed.


On June 25, 2013, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit in Jefferson Circuit Court. Following some discovery, Defendants removed the matter to federal court. Thereafter, this Court granted the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s motion to dismiss on the grounds of immunity. Plaintiff’s claims against O’Connell, the LMPD, Conrad, Hogan, and Wagner remained.

In her complaint, Plaintiff first alleges that excessive force was used against her when she was arrested on June 26, 2012, and just generally alleges that the Louisville Metro Police caused her serious injury. She then goes on to allege that Louisville Metro Police are sending her threatening emails and phone calls and is attempting to set her up. Plaintiff does not cite to any specific officers as engaging in this behavior. Instead, she alleges it against LMPD as a whole. She alleges that alleged violations of state laws and unconstitutional practices have occurred because of the failure of the “Defendants” to properly train, supervise, and discipline individual police officers.

Plaintiff engaged only in limited written discovery and has admitted that she was suing the remaining Defendants only in their official capacities. As part of those same discovery requests, Plaintiff sets forth an arm’s length list of allegations against various police officers, dating back to 2007. She does not list Conrad or O’Connell on her list of officers who have allegedly violated her rights. She later moved to file additional “evidence,” and submitted unverified emails and letters not linked to any of the named Defendants in this case.


Summary judgment is appropriate where no genuine issue of material fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986). The issue is whether the evidence submitted presents a sufficient disagreement about the material facts so that submission to a jury is necessary, or whether the evidence is so one-sided that a party must prevail as a matter of law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52. For a fact to be material it must affect the outcome of the suit; “[f]actual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.” Id. at 248.

The moving party has the initial burden of showing that there is an absence of a genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The non-moving party — Plaintiff here — must proffer evidence that points to disputes of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). Plaintiff “may not rest upon mere allegations or denial of his pleadings, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit pro se. Although courts are to hold pro se pleadings “to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), this duty to be less stringent “does not require [courts] to conjure up unpled allegations,” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a claim for a plaintiff. Clark v. Nat’l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975). To command otherwise would require courts “to explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the district court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role of an advocate seeking out the strongest arguments and most successful strategies for a party.” Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).


Plaintiff names the Louisville Metro Police Department as a defendant. However, that entity is not one capable of being sued. The proper party is the Louisville Jefferson County Metro Government (“Louisville Metro”). See Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994) (“Since the Police Department is not an entity which may be sued, Jefferson County is the proper party to address the allegations of Matthews’s complaint.”) and Smallwood v. Jefferson County Government, 743 F.Supp. 502, 503 (W.D.Ky.1990).

Sovereign immunity precludes an action “against the state unless the state has given its consent or otherwise waived its immunity.” Yanero v. Davis, 65 S.W.3d 510, 518 (Ky. 2001). As political subdivisions of the state, county governments are likewise entitled to sovereign immunity. Id. at 526. Louisville Metro is a consolidated local government established pursuant to K.R.S. Chapter 67C. The General Assembly expressly addressed the applicable immunity of such governments in K.R.S. 67C.101(2)(e), which provides that consolidated local governments “shall be accorded the same sovereign immunity granted counties, their agencies, officers, and employees.” See also Jewish Hosp. Healthcare Services, Inc. v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, 270 S.W.3d 905, 906 (Ky. App. 2008); Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government v. Smolcic, 142 S.W.3d 128, 132 (Ky. 2004).

Under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, Louisville Metro is immune from suit for all state law claims. It appears that Plaintiff attempts to set forth state law claims against Louisville Metro for assault and battery, negligence, and violation of Kentucky statutory and common law, including KRS 446.070. To the extent Plaintiff’s complaint alleges state law claims against Louisville Metro, they must be dismissed.

Plaintiff’s attempt to impose supervisory liability for alleged state tort claims also fails. In Schwindel v. Meade County, 113 S.W.3d 159, 163 (Ky.2003), the Supreme Court stated, “[i]f damages could be recovered against a county on the basis of respondeat superior, the concept of sovereign immunity would be largely nullified because state and county governments perform their ministerial functions by and through their agents, servants, and employees.” (internal citation omitted). Respondeat superior does not and cannot waive the sovereign immunity. Phillips v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, 331 S.W.3d 629, 632 (Ky. App. 2010).

Because Louisville Metro has not waived sovereign immunity for the state law claims set forth in Plaintiff’s complaint, it is entitled to dismissal of all state claims against it set forth in Plaintiff’s complaint.


Plaintiff’s only federal claim is for violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff’s first allegation under § 1983 alleges that the assault and battery amounts to excessive force and is actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. While unclear, it appears that Plaintiff attempts to state this claim against the “City” as well as the Defendant Unknown Officers. Aa municipality can be held liable under § 1983 only when the municipality itself is responsible for the constitutional violation. City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378 (1989). There is no respondeat superior or vicarious liability under §1983. Bd. of the City Commr. of Bryan County, Okla. v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397 (1997). Accordingly, a municipality is not liable under §1983 unless it can be established that a police officer’s actions were the result of an official municipal policy. Monell v. N.Y.C. Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 694-95 (1978). Because Plaintiff does not make any allegations that Metro had an official policy of assault and battery, the allegations of a violation of § 1983 on that basis must be dismissed.

Mere recitations of inadequate training are insufficient to state a claim. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009). Under Iqbal, a court must first “begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth” as required when evaluating a motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Plaintiff’s allegation in her complaint against Metro related to inadequate training is “[d]efendants have tolerated this [misconduct] through their failure to supervise, train, investigate, and discipline police officers adequately which has allowed the officers to violate the Plaintiff, Connie Marshall, for the past eight (8) years and before and continues to date.” [Complaint Document 1-2; Page 19 of 32; PageID #: 25]; and “[t]he violations of state laws and unconstitutional practices in the Complaint have been caused by the failure of the Defendants to properly train supervise and discipline individual police officers in the Louisville Metro Police Department.” [Complaint Document 1-2; Page 22 of 32; PageID #: 28]. These statements are no more than mere conclusions; therefore, are not entitled to an assumption of truth.

Because Plaintiff does not provide anything more in her complaint to support her § 1983 claims against Louisville Metro, those claims must be dismissed. See Weathers v. Anderson, 2012 WL 1593136 at *3 (W.D. Ky. May 4, 2012).


“Official-capacity suits . . . `generally represent [] another way of pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is an agent.'” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159,166 (1985) (quoting Monell v. New York City Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 n.55 (1978). Plaintiffs’ official-capacity claims against Defendants O’Connell, Conrad, Hogan and Wagner, therefore, are actually against Louisville Metro. See Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 440 (6th Cir. 2008) (stating that civil rights suit against county clerk of courts in his official capacity was equivalent of suing clerk’s employer, the county).

When a § 1983 claim is made against a municipality, this Court must analyze two distinct issues: (1) whether Plaintiffs harm was caused by a constitutional violation; and (2) if so, whether the municipality is responsible for that violation. Collins v. City of Harker Heights, Tex., 503 U.S. 115, 120 (1992). In essence, this involves a similar analysis to that just discussed.

To demonstrate municipal liability, a plaintiff “must (1) identify the municipal policy or custom, (2) connect the policy to the municipality, and (3) show that his particular injury was incurred due to execution of that policy.” Alkire v. Irving; 330 F.3d 802, 815 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Garner v. Memphis Police Dep’t, 8 F.3d 358, 364 (6th Cir. 1993). However, none of the allegations in the complaint demonstrates that any alleged wrongdoing or injury occurred as a result of a policy or custom implemented or endorsed by Louisville Metro. Accordingly, the complaint fails to establish a basis of liability against the municipality and fails to state a cognizable § 1983 claim. Therefore, the official capacity claims against Defendants O’Connell, Conrad, Hogan and Wagner should be dismissed.


The complaint contains no factual allegations directly against O’Connell or Conrad. To the extent Plaintiff seeks to hold O’Connell and Conrad liable based on their supervisory position as the chief legal advisor of Jefferson County or Conrad as the chief of the local police department, the doctrine of respondeat superior, or the right to control employees, does not apply in § 1983 actions to impute liability onto supervisors. Monell v. New York City Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. at 691; Taylor v. Mich. Dept. of Corr., 69 F.3d 76, 80-81 (6th Cir. 1995); Bellamy v. Bradley, 729 F.2d 416, 421 (6th Cir. 1984). “[S]imple awareness of employees’ misconduct does not lead to supervisor liability.” Leary v. Daeschner, 349 F.3d 888, 903 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Lillard v. Shelby Cnty. Bd. of Educ., 76 F.3d 716, 728 (6th Cir. 1996). Plaintiff fails to allege that O’Connell and Conrad were directly involved in any of the alleged wrongdoing.

For these reasons, Plaintiff fails to state an individual-capacity claim against either O’Connell or Conrad.


The complaint contains no indication that Plaintiff intends to impose individual liability on Hogan and Wagner. And the discovery answers in DN 1-3 affirmatively state that the officials are sued in their official capacity. Therefore, should not construe this action as asserting an individual-capacity claim against him. An official-capacity claim against Hogan and Wagner should be dismissed for his failure to allege a municipal policy or custom that resulted in his alleged harm. Alkire v. Irving, 330 F.3d at 815.

To the degree that an individual capacity claim is asserted Hogan and Wagner are entitled to qualified immunity. “Qualified immunity `is an immunity from suit rather than a mere defense to liability.'” Elliott v. Lator, 497 F.3d 644, 650 (6th Cir. 2007) citing Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 816 (1982). In evaluating claims of qualified immunity, the Court must first “determine whether a constitutional violation occurred; second . . . determine whether the right that was violated was a clearly established right of which a reasonable person would have known; finally . . . determine whether the plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts, and supported the allegations by sufficient evidence, to indicate that what the official allegedly did was objectively unreasonable in light of the clearly established constitutional rights.” Williams v. Mehra, 186 F.3d 685, 691 (6th Cir. 1999) citing to Dickerson v. McClellan, 101 F.3d 1151, 1157-58 (6th Cir.1996).

Plaintiff has failed to carry her burden of establishing that these Defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity by failing to prove that the officers “violated a clearly established right of which a reasonable person would have known.” Pray v. City of Sandusky, 49 F.3d 1154, 1158 (6th Cir. 1995) citing to Adams v. Metiva, 31 F.3d 375, 386 (6th Cir. 1994).

Being otherwise sufficiently advised,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is SUSTAINED and Plaintiff’s claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

This is a final order.