United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge United States District
matter is before the Court on the motion of Plaintiff
Jennifer Thurmond to amend her original complaint under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1), ECF No. 7. She
tendered an amended complaint, ECF No. 7-1. Defendants Dean
Dairy Holdings, LLC d/b/a Dean Milk Company, LLC (“Dean
Milk”) and Kyle Wancket responded, ECF No. 15. Thurmond
replied, ECF No. 16. For the reasons explained below, the
Court will grant Thurmond's motion to amend the original
Allegations in the Original Complaint
explained in the original complaint, Thurmond is female.
Compl. ¶ 7, ECF No. 1-1. She asserts that she was
employed by Dean Milk from January 2008 to September 2016.
Id. ¶ 2. During part of this period of
employment, her immediate supervisor was Wancket, who is male
and was also employed by Dean Milk. Id. ¶ 6.
the vast majority of her employment tenure with Dean Milk,
Thurmond was an “exemplary employee.”
Id. ¶ 8. Her performance reviews and testimony
from other Dean Milk employees demonstrate that she was
qualified for the position in which she was working.
Id. ¶ 9.
second half of 2016, Thurmond got into a dispute with
Wancket. Id. ¶ 10. Afterwards, she threw a
small metal trash can in frustration. Id. ¶ 11.
Thurmond was suspended with pay from her position.
Id. ¶ 12. She was eventually terminated on
September 6, 2016 for violence in the workplace. Id.
Thurmond's dispute with Wancket, there had been a
“plethora” of incidents at Dean Milk that
involved male employees who were violent or threatened to be
violent. Id. ¶ 13. The employees involved were
not disciplined with the same severity that was applied to
Thurmond. Id. ¶ 15. For example, Dean Milk
employee Andy Bean and another male employee apparently
became involved in a physical altercation. Id.
¶ 14. Bean threatened to go to his car, retrieve a
firearm, and shoot the other employee. Id. But
unlike Thurmond, Bean was not terminated. Id. After
Thurmond was terminated, Wancket and/or Dean Milk began
retroactively disciplining employees to cover up their
disparate treatment of Thurmond. Id. ¶ 16.
also alleges that Wancket harassed and intimated her in a
“severe and pervasive manner.” Id.
¶ 17. He did not harass or intimidate male employees in
the same way. Id. ¶ 18.
January 20, 2017, Thurmond filed suit against Dean Milk and
Wancket in the Jefferson County, Kentucky Circuit Court.
Id. at 5. She asserts two causes of action. First,
she claims that they discriminated against her based on her
gender in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA),
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 344.010, et seq. (Count
I). Id. ¶¶ 18-25. Second, she maintains
that Dean Milk and Wancket wrongfully discharged her (Count
II). Id. ¶¶ 26-29. She seeks compensatory
damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees and costs.
Id. at 10.
Removal to this Court
February 13, 2017, Dean Milk and Wancket removed the case to
this Court under federal diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1332, 1441, and 1446. Not. Removal 1, ECF No. 1.
In their notice of removal, they explain that Thurmond is a
citizen of Kentucky and that Dean Milk is a citizen of Texas
and Wisconsin. Id. at 2. And while the complaint
alleges that Wancket resides in Kentucky, Dean Milk and