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Doll v. City of Central City Municipal Water and Sewer

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division

February 25, 2014

KARL DOLL Plaintiff,


JOSEPH H. McKINLEY, Jr., Chief District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant City of Central City Municipal Water and Sewer's ("the City") Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment [DN 50]. Fully briefed, this matter is ripe for decision.


This action arises out of the termination of Plaintiff Karl Doll from the Waste Water Treatment Plant for the City of Central City. Prior to his termination, Plaintiff served as the chief supervisor of the Waste Treatment Plant and also worked at the Water Plant in order to obtain a water license. As the supervisor of the Waste Treatment Plant, Doll reported directly to City Administrator David Rhoades, who worked directly under the Mayor of the City, Barry Shaver. Mayor Shaver made the final decision to terminate Doll pursuant to the City's Handbook.

While the City alleges multiple factors motivated its final decision to terminate Plaintiff, the City initially became concerned about Plaintiff following his arrest in Christian County on July 21, 2010 for three counts of wanton endangerment. On the morning of the Plaintiff's arrest, he called in to work in order to ask for a vacation because he had decided to get married that day to Tonya Adams, who he had been dating for about six or seven months. However, while driving with Adams somewhere to get married, the Plaintiff felt led to go to the Pennyrile State Park instead. Additionally, Adams' fourteen-year old son, Adams' seventeen-year old daughter ("JEI"), JEI's seventeen-month old daughter ("HL"), and Plaintiff's eleven-year old son were in the car with Doll and Adams on that day.

While at the park, Plaintiff, Adams, and all of the children except for JEI went out on a paddle boat on the lake. According to the Plaintiff, JEI had decided to stay inside of the car in order to sleep. At some point, JEI came down to the lake and demanded that Adams return HL to her. When everyone returned back to the dock with the paddle boat, Adams and JEI got into an argument about HL. Then, Adams, who still had HL, and Plaintiff retreated towards a bluff in the park. When a police officer finally arrived, he found the Plaintiff "laying [ sic ] in a patch of grass attempting to hide" and Adams "also laying [ sic ] in the thick grass with the 17 month old in her arm." Doll told the police officer that he "thought the world was coming to a [ sic ] end and seen GOD in the clouds." [Ex. 5, DN 50-6, at 3]. The Christian County police officer arrested Plaintiff for three counts of wanton endangerment.

Shortly following Doll's arrest, he met with Mayor Shaver, the City Administrator, the Chief of Police, and the then-Commissioner of the Water Board. During the meeting, Mayor Shaver informed Doll that he would be placed on paid administrative leave. However, due to financial constraints of paying Doll and also paying for a replacement, Mayor Shaver changed Plaintiff's status from paid to unpaid leave on September 11, 2010. Mayor Shaver then informed Plaintiff in writing on September 23, 2010 that he would be permanently dismissed for bringing "discredit upon the government" due to his arrest in Christian County for wanton endangerment. [Ex. 1 to Memo, DN 50-2, at 25]. In Mayor Shaver's deposition in this case, he considered "the testimony of the three counts of wanton endangerment, the safety issue, discrediting the city, the mental evaluation" in coming to the conclusion that the Plaintiff discredited the City. [Barry Shaver Dep., DN 50-8, at 15]. On October 11, 2010, Mayor Shaver also obtained approval for the termination for Plaintiff from the Water Board Commission.

Plaintiff notified the City by letter dated September 30, 2010 that he intended to appeal his termination and requested a hearing be set for October 20, 2010 with the City Council. The Water Board Commission then informed Doll on October 1, 2010 that the City Council meeting had been rescheduled for October 18, 2010. Plaintiff's attorney at the time, Dennis Ritchie, mailed a letter to the City requesting Doll's hearing set for October 18, 2010 be rescheduled for November 10, 2010. Plaintiff never appeared at any future City Council meetings to contest his dismissal.


Before the Court may grant a motion for summary judgment, it must find that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of specifying the basis for its motion and identifying that portion of the record that demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Once the moving party satisfies this burden, the non-moving party thereafter must produce specific facts demonstrating a genuine issue of fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).

Although the Court must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the non-moving party must do more than merely show that there is some "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Instead, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require the non-moving party to present specific facts showing that a genuine factual issue exists by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record" or by "showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence... of a genuine dispute[.]" Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-moving party's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-moving party]." Anderson , 477 U.S. at 252. It is against this standard the Court reviews the following facts.


Plaintiff claims Defendant discriminated against him based on his religion and retaliated against him in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1), and the Kentucky Civil Rights Act ("KCRA"), KRS § 344.010. Plaintiff's Complaint also indicated that he would pursue a claim based on the City's Handbook; however, he did not respond to any of Defendant's arguments regarding this claim. In response to Plaintiff's claims, Defendant maintains that Plaintiff ...

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