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Green v. Woodhaven County Club, Inc.

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

December 20, 2013

BETHENY GREEN and RICHARD MICHAELS, Plaintiffs,
v.
WOODHAVEN COUNTY CLUB, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS B. RUSSELL, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon Defendant Woodhaven County Club, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss. (Docket No. 5.) Plaintiffs Betheny Green and Richard Michaels have responded. (Docket No. 8.) Defendant has replied. (Docket No. 9.) This matter is now fully briefed and ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons and consistent with the below opinion, the Court will GRANT in part and DENY in part Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.

STANDARD

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that pleadings, including complaints, contain a "short plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A defendant may move to dismiss a claim or case because the complaint fails to "state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court must presume all of the factual allegations in the complaint are true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Total Benefits Planning Agency, Inc. v. Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 552 F.3d 430, 434 (6th Cir. 2008) (citing Great Lakes Steel v. Deggendorf, 716 F.2d 1101, 1105 (6th Cir. 1983)). "The court need not, however, accept unwarranted factual inferences." Id. (citing Morgan v. Church's Fried Chicken, 829 F.2d 10, 12 (6th Cir. 1987)).

Even though a "complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). Instead, the plaintiff's "[f]actual allegations 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)." Id. (citations omitted). A complaint should contain enough facts "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. A claim becomes plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). If, from the well-pleaded facts, the court cannot "infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but has not show[n]' - that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id. at 1950 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). "Only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss." Id.

DISCUSSION

Plaintiffs' Complaint, (Docket No. 1), has two counts. Count One alleges discrimination and retaliation in response to Plaintiffs exercising their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Count Two alleges disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12112, and the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA), Ky. Rev. Stat. (KRS) § 344.040. Defendant has not moved to dismiss Count One of Plaintiffs' Complaint; instead Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, (Docket No. 5), focuses exclusively on Count Two. Therefore, Plaintiffs' claims under Count One of the Complaint will remain.

Defendant raises three arguments for why the Court should dismiss Plaintiffs' claims under Count Two for disability discrimination. First, Defendant argues that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiffs have failed to exhaust their administrative remedies. Second, Defendant argues that Plaintiffs' claims under Count Two are time-barred. Third, Defendant argues that Plaintiffs' physical impairments, as alleged, do not constitute a disability as a matter of law as defined by KRS § 344.

ADA Claims

Plaintiff concedes that claimants asserting violation of the ADA must file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge in order to establish relief under that federal statute. In their response, Plaintiffs state, "Insofar as Plaintiffs' Complaint prays for relief for violations of the ADA, Plaintiff hereby voluntarily remands these requests." (Docket No. 8, Page 4.) Accordingly, the Court will GRANT Defendant's Motion to Dismiss as to claims asserted for violation of the ADA.

KCRA Claims

The Court finds Plaintiffs have properly alleged facts making their claims of disability discrimination plausible. "In order to establish a prima facie case of discrimination based on a disability, the plaintiff must show: (1) that he had a disability as that term is used under the statute; (2) that he was otherwise qualified' to perform the requirements of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation; and (3) that he suffered an adverse employment decision because of the disability." Hallahan v. The Courier-Journal, 138 S.W.3d 699, 706-07 (Ky. Ct. App. 2004) (citations omitted). In interpreting the KCRA, Kentucky courts look to federal precedent interpreting federal civil rights statues such as the ADA. Howard Baer, Inc. v. Schave, 127 S.W.3d 589, 591-92 (Ky. 2003) (noting that "[t]he Kentucky Civil Rights Act was modeled after federal law, and our courts have interpreted the Kentucky Act consistently therewith" to conclude "we deem it appropriate to follow federal precedent"); Hallahan, 138 S.W.3d at 705 ("Given similar language and the stated purpose of KRS Chapter 344 to embody the federal civil rights statutes, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this court may look to federal case law in interpreting the Kentucky Civil Rights Act with respect to Hallahan's claim of disability discrimination under KRS 344.040.").

1. Disability as That Term is Used Under the Statute

Kentucky Revised Statute § 344.010(4) defines "disability" as:

(a) A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one (1) or more of the major life ...

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