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Winchester v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

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

June 25, 2015

WILLIAM T. WINCHESTER, Plaintiff,
v.
WAL-MART STORES INC., SAM'S EAST, INC. d/b/a SAM'S CLUB Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS B. RUSSELL, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Docket #5, 10). Plaintiff has responded. (Docket #11). Defendant has replied. (Docket #10, 14). Plaintiff has filed a motion for default judgment. (Docket #9). Defendant has responded. (Docket #12). Plaintiff has replied. (Docket #15). Accordingly, these matters now are ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion to dismiss (Docket #5) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part and Plaintiff's motion for default judgment (Docket #9) is DENIED.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Currently pending before the Court are two interrelated motions surrounding an amended complaint. Winchester filed this lawsuit on February 2, 2015. (Docket #1). Sam's Club filed a motion for partial dismissal on March 19. (Docket #5). Winchester did not initially respond to this motion, but instead filed an amended complaint on April 7. (Docket #7). Winchester then filed a motion for default judgment on April 28, arguing that Sam's Club did not respond to the amended complaint and that Sam's Club's motion for partial dismissal did not address all of Winchester's claims. (Docket #9). Sam's Club replied to its own motion for partial dismissal and included a request to partially dismiss the amended complaint. (Docket #10). Winchester responded to Sam's Club's motion for partial dismissal. (Docket #11). Sam's Club responded to Winchester's motion for default judgment. (Docket #12). The parties timely replied to each other's respective motions. (Docket #14, 15).

BACKGROUND

This matter arises out of the employment of Plaintiff William T. Winchester at Defendant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sam's East, Inc. (collectively, "Sam's Club"). Winchester claims Sam's Club violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), discriminated against him on the basis of religion, and retaliated against and wrongfully discharged Winchester. (Docket #7).

Winchester was hired as a full-time Rotisserie Associate at Sam's Club in July, 2012. In October, 2012, Winchester applied for a Team Lead position in the rotisserie/deli department. Winchester was not selected for this position. In July, 2013, Winchester applied for a Member Champion position. Winchester was also not selected for this position.

Winchester filed his first EEOC Charge against Sam's Club in August, 2013. Winchester alleged the company discriminated against him in violation of the ADEA. (Docket #5-2). Winchester filed his second EEOC Charge against Sam's Club in October, 2013, alleging that Sam's Club retaliated against him for reporting his age discrimination claim and discriminated against him for not selecting him for the Member Champion position on the basis of his religion. (Docket #5-3). Winchester left the employment of Sam's Club on July 7, 2014. Among other claims, Winchester alleges he was constructively discharged due to harassment and threats. (Docket #11).

STANDARD

"When considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the district court must accept all of the allegations in the complaint as true, and construe the complaint liberally in favor of the plaintiff." Lawrence v. Chancery Court of Tenn., 188 F.3d 687, 691 (6th Cir. 1999) (citing Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 377 (6th Cir. 1995)). Denial of the motion is proper "unless it can be established beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Achterhof v. Selvaggio, 886 F.2d 826, 831 (6th Cir.1989) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). Nonetheless, unwarranted factual inferences or legal conclusions masquerading as fact will not prevent a motion to dismiss. Blakely v. United States, 276 F.3d 853, 863 (6th Cir. 2002). A "complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Andrews v. Ohio, 104 F.3d 803, 806 (6th Cir. 1997) (citing In re DeLorean Motor Co., 991 F.2d 1236, 1240 (6th Cir. 1993)).

DISCUSSION

The Court will first address (I) Winchester's motion for default judgment before turning to (II) Sam's Club's motion to partially dismiss Winchester's complaint.

I. Default Judgment.

If a party "has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk must enter the party's default." Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). After a clerk enters a party's default, the moving party "must apply to the court for a default judgment." Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2);[1] Shepard Claims Service, Inc. v. William Darrah & Associates, 796 F.2d 190, 193 (6th Cir. 1986) ("entry of default is just the first procedural step on the road to obtaining a default judgment"). Our courts have a "policy of favoring trials on the merits." Shepard, 796 F.2d at 192 (6th Cir. 1986). Therefore, an entry of default may ...


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