United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
L. BUNNING UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil rights (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 344.040) and
workers' compensation retaliation (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann.
§ 342.197) employment action brought against
Plaintiff's former employer and two of her former
supervisors. Plaintiff filed suit in the Bell County Circuit
Court. Defendants removed the action to this Court. The Court
does not have jurisdiction over this action, as
Plaintiff's claim under Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §
342.197, Kentucky Workers' Compensation (“WC
Retaliation”) statute, presents a claim arising out of
a state workers' compensation claim, for which 28 U.S.C.
§ 1445(c) prohibits removal. The Court therefore
remands this action to the Bell County
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Rhonda A. White is a citizen of Kentucky. (Doc. # 1-1 at 2).
Defendant Amedisys Holding, LLC is a Louisiana
limited-liability company whose sole member is Amedisys,
Inc., a publicly traded corporation registered in Delaware
with its principal place of business in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana. (Doc. # 1 at 3). Defendant Melissa McKinney's
sole residence for at least the last six years has been in
Tennessee. (Doc. # 3). Defendant Melissa Leake's sole
residence for at least the last fourteen years has been in
Tennessee. (Doc. # 4).
March 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint in Bell County
Circuit Court, alleging violations of the Kentucky Civil
Rights Act (KCRA) and the WC Retaliation statute. (Doc. # 1-1
and 1-5). Plaintiff alleged that she was employed by Amedisys
and supervised by Defendants Leake and McKinney; that she was
wrongfully harassed, coerced, and discriminated against by
Defendants; and was terminated on or about January 31, 2017.
(Doc. # 1-1 at ¶¶ 2-4). Plaintiff further alleged
(1) That she was discriminated against based on a
work-related injury and workers' compensation claim.
Id. at ¶ 4;
(2) That Defendants violated her rights, wrongfully fired
her, and discriminated against her. Id. at ¶5;
(3) That she suffered a work-related injury on January 9,
2017, and was wrongfully harassed, coerced, and discriminated
against as a “direct result” of her potential
workers' compensation claim, her color, her ethnicity,
and as a person with a back injury. Id. at ¶ 7;
(4) That Plaintiff was the only person of color at Amedisys,
had not experienced any racial discrimination until new
management arrived, in particular, Plaintiff was left out of
conversations or conversations stopped when she entered a
room, she was excluded from lunch activities, outside break
activities, and other outings, and she was segregated and
discriminated against, in violation of the Kentucky Civil
Rights Act. Id. at ¶ 6.
prayer for relief, Plaintiff demanded reinstatement, lost
wages, back pay, front pay, lost benefits, health care
coverage, all costs, workers' compensation benefits, all
benefits, and reasonable attorneys' fees, all in excess
of five-thousand dollars. Id. at 3. Plaintiff's
Complaint also demanded punitive damages in excess of
five-thousand dollars. Id.
Amedisys, McKinney, and Leake removed the case to this Court,
claiming the Court has diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a) because complete diversity existed and the
amount-in-controversy was met. (Doc. # 1 at 2-4).
Specifically, Defendants claimed that Plaintiff's back
pay claims, potential emotional distress damage, and requests
for attorneys' fees claims collectively added up to more
than $75, 000, satisfying § 1332's
amount-in-controversy requirement. Id. at 4-6.
Plaintiff did not contest the removal of the action.
2, 2017, Defendants moved to dismiss several of
Plaintiff's claims under Rule 12(b)(6). (Doc. # 8).
Defendants argued that the claims under the WC Retaliation
statute and the KCRA were not legally cognizable against
Defendants Leake and McKinney in their individual capacities,
and that Plaintiff's putative KCRA conspiracy claim under
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 344.280 (“KCRA
Conspiracy”) against all Defendants failed as a matter
of law. (Doc. # 8-1 at 5-11). Defendants also
requested that the Court extend its time to answer the
remaining claims until after the Court ruled on their Motion
to Dismiss. Id. at 11. Plaintiff responded by
stating that she had no objection to dismissing the claims
against Defendants McKinney and Leake, or to the dismissal of
a putative retaliation claim. (Doc. # 12). In Defendants'
Reply, they urged the Court to dismiss with prejudice all
claims against Defendants Leake and McKinney and the putative
KCRA Conspiracy claim against Amedisys. (Doc. # 14). Amedisys
also requested that the Court order Plaintiff to file an
amended complaint, setting forth her remaining claims against
Amedisys with greater particularity. Id.
considering the partial Motion to Dismiss, it appears that
Defendants and Plaintiff are on the exact same page:
Plaintiff has agreed to the dismissal of all claims against
the individual defendants, and dismissal of the putative KCRA
Conspiracy claim against ...