United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Hood, Senior U.S. District Judge
matter is before the Court upon Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss in Part or in the Alternative for Partial Summary
Judgment [DE 3]. Plaintiff has filed a Response [DE 4]
stating her objections to the Motion, and Defendants have
filed a Reply [DE 5] in further support of their motion. It
is now ripe for consideration, and the Court concludes that
it shall be granted for the reasons stated in this Memorandum
Opinion and Order.
complaint alleges that on or about July 21, 2015, long time
Breathitt County Clerk Tony Watts informed the Breathitt
County Fiscal Court that he would be retiring. At that time,
Plaintiff was a Deputy Clerk and had about 10 years of
experience in the Clerk's office. Plaintiff alleges
Breathitt County Judge Executive John Lester Smith had the
sole responsibility to appoint the next County Clerk. Through
the “grapevine, ” the Clerk's office
employees heard that Judge Smith was going to appoint Mary
Lois Stevens as the new County Clerk. Stevens had lost in two
prior elections to County Clerk Watts and had never worked in
the County Clerk's office. On November 6, 2015,
Plaintiff's coworker Mary Rebecca Curtis filed her
intention to run for the County Clerk position. On November
13, 2015, the day before the new appointment would be
effective, Stevens came into the Clerk's office around
noon and informed Plaintiff and two other employees they had
until that night to inform her whether they wished to be her
Deputy Clerks. Curtis, on the other hand, was told her
services were no longer needed. Id. ¶ 16-23.
Plaintiff accepted the position of Deputy Clerk that Stevens
January of 2016, Stevens, acting Clerk, filed her intention
to run for the County Clerk position against Curtis.
Id. ¶ 24 - 27. Plaintiff supported her longtime
friend, Curtis, during the 2016 election, rather than her
current boss, Stevens.
makes a number of factual allegations regarding her treatment
after voicing her public support for Curtis in the election.
These allegations are not pertinent to the legal issues in
the partial Motion to Dismiss and will be addressed as needed
at another junction in this litigation. In May 2016, Curtis
won the election over Stevens. Plaintiff worked on election
night, and alleges she was pushed down a flight of stairs by
a supporter of Stevens. As a result of her fall, Plaintiff
used her Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rights and took
one week off work.
recorded conversation, Stevens terminated Plaintiff from the
position of Deputy Clerk upon her return from FMLA leave.
Stevens opined that Plaintiff was not loyal, among other
things. Stevens allegedly stated Plaintiff had asked the
doctor to be off and that it had placed her “in a bind,
” implying that she had spoken to Plaintiff's
medical providers. Stevens called Plaintiff's week off
work a “vacation.” Stevens indicated she would
fight Plaintiff's unemployment claim and would not give
her a recommendation. Id. ¶ 55 - 66.
alleges that Stevens' actions against her were political
in nature, illegal and resulted in her losing her long term
employment, wages and benefits. The Plaintiff alleges
Breathitt County Administrative Code applied to her, that it
sets forth a procedure for dismissal of an employee, and this
process was not followed in regard to the dismissal of
Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 68 - 73.
Plaintiff alleges the following causes of action based on the
factual allegations in the Complaint:
(1) political discrimination in violation KRS 67.710;
(2) violations of Sections 2 and 3 of the Kentucky
(3) wrongful discharge pursuant to Kentucky common law;
(4) violations of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
(5) violations of her First Amendment rights to free speech,