United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Reeves, United States District Judge
matter is pending for consideration of Defendant Ryder
Integrated Logistics, Inc.'s (“Ryder”) motion
to dismiss, which the Court construes as a motion for
judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. [Record No. 19] For the reasons
that follow, the Court will grant the defendant's motion.
Dannie Bowling (“Bowling”) was employed by Ryder
as an over-the-road truck driver from 2012 through 2017.
[Record No. 1, ¶¶ 6-7] Bowling contends that he
began to suffer from a serious medical condition in February
2017. Id. at ¶¶ 29, 31, 34. Bowling called
Ryder on February 4, 6, and 7, 2017, to say that he would not
be reporting to work, but it is unclear whether he reported
having a serious medical condition at that time. Id.
at ¶ 32. On February 6, 2017, Ryder disciplined Bowling
for not working. Id. at ¶ 27.
alleges that he presented Ryder with a doctor's note
stating that he was unable to work from February 4 through
February 9, 2017. Id. at ¶ 38. He contends that
he requested time off under the Family Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et
seq., but the defendant refused the request.
Id. at ¶¶ 39-40. Ultimately, he contends
that Ryder interfered with his ability to exercise his rights
under the FMLA and retaliated against him for attempting to
exercise those rights. Accordingly to Bowling, his employment
was eventually terminated because of his inability to work
due to illness. Id. at pp. ¶¶ 49-51.
filed a motion to dismiss on January 30, 2017. [Record No.
19] In support, it contends that Bowling filed a Voluntary
Petition for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in 2015 but failed to
disclose this cause of action as an asset in the bankruptcy
case. [See Record Nos. 19-2, 3.] Ryder argues that
as a result of this failure, Bowling is judicially estopped
from pursuing the action. Alternatively, Ryder claims that
Bowling lacks standing to pursue the action because only the
bankruptcy Trustee may do so unless the Trustee has abandoned
has styled its request for relief as a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
However, motions under Rule 12(b)(6) must be made before a
responsive pleading is filed. Ryder filed its Answer on
October 10, 2017. [Record No. 6] Accordingly, the motion to
dismiss is construed as a motion for judgment on the
pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c). See Morgan v.
Church's Fried Chicken, 829 F.2d 10, 11 (6th Cir.
party's Rule 12(c) motion may be granted when there is no
issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v.
Winget, 510 F.3d 577, 582 (6th Cir. 2007). The Court
accepts as true “all well-pleaded material allegations,
” but “need not accept as true legal conclusions
or unwarranted factual inferences.” Id. at
581-82 (quoting Mixon v. Ohio, 193 F.3d 389, 400
(6th Cir. 1999)).
to dismiss under 12(c) are reviewed under the same standard
as those under 12(b)(6). Lindsay v. Yates, 498 F.3d
434, 437 n.5 (6th Cir. 2007). To survive a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must allege sufficient
factual matter to state a claim for relief that is plausible
on the face of the complaint. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Peatross v. City
of Memphis, 818 F.3d 233, 239-40 (6th Cir. 2016). The
Court may consider “the Complaint and any exhibits
attached thereto, public records, items appearing in the
record of the case and exhibits attached to the
defendant's motion to dismiss so long as they are
referred to in the Complaint and are central to the claims
contained therein.” Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate
Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008).
acknowledges that he filed a petition under Chapter 13 of the
Bankruptcy Code in 2015 and that the bankruptcy case was
ongoing when he filed this suit against Ryder in August of
2017. See Bankruptcy Action No. 15-61142 (E.D. Ky.).
[Record No. 21, pp. 1-2] A bankruptcy petition is signed
under penalty of perjury, with a continuing and affirmative
duty to disclose all assets, including any potential legal
cause of action. Lewis v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 141
Fed.Appx. 420, 424 (6th Cir. 2005) (citing In re Coastal
Plains, Inc., 179 F.3d 197, 2085th Cir. 1999)). Bowling
concedes that he did not amend his schedule of assets to
include his FMLA claim against Ryder. Id. at p. 3.
He asserts that he had no obligation to do so for two
reasons. First, he contends that “everyone knew”
that Ryder had fired him. Second, he points out that his
bankruptcy case ultimately was dismissed and did not result
in the discharge of his debts.
of Bowling's reasons for failing to disclose the
existence of his legal claim against Ryder, it became
property of the bankruptcy estate, at the latest, when
Bowling filed this civil action in August 2017. See In re
Simmerman, 463 B.R. 47, 55 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2011)
(“[I]n Chapter 13 cases, the estate also includes
assets acquired by the debtor after the commencement of the
case but before the case is closed, dismissed, or
converted.”). See also 11 U.S.C. §§
541, 1306 (defining “property of the estate”);
Audau v. Wet Seal Retail, Inc., 698 F.3d 902, 904
(6th Cir. 2012) (age-discrimination claim accrued and became
property of bankruptcy estate when plaintiff was fired).
a party may assert any action, it must have standing. This is
a jurisdictional prerequisite, based in the
case-or-controversy requirement of Article III, Section I of
the United States Constitution. At its most fundamental
level, standing means that the plaintiff must have suffered
some type of “concrete and particularized”
injury.” Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504
U.S. 555, 560 (1992). ...