February 1, 2022

Federal Judge Rejects Louisville Police Department’s Attempt to Toss Kenneth Walker III’s Lawsuit Alleging Violations of Federal Civil Rights

On February 1, 2022, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky rejected an attempt by the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (“LMPD”) and its officers to dismiss the civil rights lawsuit filed by Kenneth Walker III, the longtime boyfriend of the late Breonna Taylor, in connection with the tragic events that led to her death in March 2020.

Mr. Walker’s lawsuit alleged that LMPD officers fabricated evidence to obtain a warrant to search Ms. Taylor’s residence; executed the warrant in defiance of the Fourth Amendment “knock and announce” requirement; and responded with overwhelming and excessive force when plaintiff Kenneth Walker, a licensed gun owner, sought to defend himself and Ms. Taylor against what he reasonably thought were threatening intruders. The raid turned up no evidence of criminal activity and resulted in the killing of Ms. Taylor.

The LMPD and its officers sought to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing – among other theories – that the officers had qualified immunity. The judge rejected this argument, finding:

“Mattingly and Cosgrove have cited no Sixth Circuit case where the court granted a … motion to dismiss on an excessive-force claim based on qualified immunity when the defendants were accused of discharging a firearm at the plaintiff.”

In its thirty-two page ruling, the court ultimately held:

The Court finds that Walker has plausibly alleged that Jaynes, Mattingly, Goodlett, and Nobles obtained a warrant to search Taylor’s apartment that was invalid … Walker has also plausibly alleged that Mattingly, Cosgrove, Hoover, James, Nobles, Campbell, and Hankison failed to announce before entering Taylor’s apartment and that Mattingly and Cosgrove. . . . used unreasonable and excessive force against him.

The Court determined that the LMPD and its officers could be liable for the conduct, policies, and practices that contributed directly to Ms. Taylor’s killing and Mr. Walker’s trauma. The case against the LMPD and its officers will proceed.

Mr. Walker is represented by Munger, Tolles & Olson, Georgetown University Law Center professor Cliff Sloan, Romines Weis & Young PSC, and Grossman Green PLLC. The MTO team includes Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Ruby J. Garrett, Brendan B. Gants, Jacob S. Kreilkamp, and Robyn K. Bacon.

Read the order here.

Read here for coverage regarding Mr. Walker’s trauma following the Ms. Taylor’s killing.

Federal judge won’t dismiss Kenneth Walker’s lawsuit against officers in Breonna Taylor raid

Federal judge rules Kenneth Walker’s lawsuit against ex-LMPD officers can move forward

My whole life changed’: Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend still haunted by night she died

About Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
Contributing to the community through pro bono work and other forms of volunteerism is a core tenet of the culture at Munger, Tolles & Olson. The firm was one of the charter signatories to the American Bar Association’s pro bono challenge and consistently devotes tens of thousands of hours of attorney time to delivering needed pro bono legal assistance across the United States.