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Vileinor v. Charter Communications, LLC

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

September 8, 2017

MARIELA VILEINOR PLAINTIFF
v.
CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, LLC DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge United States District Court

         The plaintiff, Mariela Vileinor, filed suit against her former employer, Charter Comunications, LLC, in September 2015 alleging discrimination on the basis of her religion and retaliation for reporting harassment in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. (DN 1-1). Vileinor was hired by Charter on November 17, 2014. She alleges that while she was employed, she suffered discrimination because she wears a headscarf in the practice of her Muslim faith and complained about harassment by her supervisors who purportedly told her that she could not wear it. Id. In an Amended Complaint filed in October 2015, she alleges that she suffered a workplace injury on September 26, 2015 which required medical treatment and rendered her unable to work. She sought workers compensation benefits after sustaining the injury. Id. She alleges that she was terminated on September 30, 2015 for having filed suit and for having sought workers compensation benefits. Charter noted in its Answers (DNs 1-1; 5) that Vileinor did not exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit in the Jefferson County, Kentucky, Circuit Court.

         Charter removed the action to this court under our diversity jurisdiction. (DN 1). Vileinor moved to strike the affirmative defenses denominated B, C, and N in Charter's Answer to the Amended Complaint (DN 5):

B. Plaintiff's claims are barred to the extent that they are based on allegations which fall outside the scope of, or are not reasonably related to, any charges filed with the applicable administrative agencies.
C. Plaintiff's claims are barred to the extent that she has failed to exhaust administrative remedies.
N. The imposition of punitive damages against Charter would violate the Constitution of the United States of America and/or the Constitution of Kentucky; moreover, Plaintiff has not sought nor pleaded facts which would satisfy the standard for such damages.

         After a teleconference in December, 2015, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation Relating to Certain Affirmative Defenses (DN 11) in which Vileinor stipulated that (1) she was not seeking relief under any federal law, (2) she had not filed a charge with an administrative agency for any of the claims asserted in this lawsuit, and (3) she was not seeking punitive damages. Upon that agreement of stipulated facts by Vileinor, Charter agreed to voluntarily withdraw affirmative defenses B, C, and N. The Joint Stipulation further stated:

The Parties further agree that in the event Plaintiff amends her pleadings to either add a federal claim and/or seek punitive damages, Defendant will at that time be free to reassert affirmative defenses B, C, and N, and any other applicable affirmative defenses.

(DN 11, ¶ 5). The motion to strike was further deemed moot by reason of the stipulation. (DNs 11, ¶ 6; 12).

         Counsel for Vileinor was permitted to withdraw on July 21, 2016. Vileinor was afforded three months in which to retain new counsel or notify the court of her intention to proceed pro se. (DNs 24, 25, 27). On October 25, 2016, Vileinor notified the court that shed intended to proceed pro se in the matter. (DN 32). Vileinor participated in an April, 2017 status conference and began filing pro se pleadings, including:

DN 39 Complaint
DN 40 Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
DN 41 Motion to Appoint Counsel
DN 42 Motion for Lien on Charter ...

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