United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCKINLEY, JR., CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the Court on a motion for partial dismissal
by defendant Management & Training Corporation (“M
& T”). (DN 12.) Fully briefed, this matter is ripe
to the complaint, plaintiff Terry Lindsey was terminated from
her employment with M & T in May 2016. (Pl.'s Compl.
[DN 1] ¶ 18.) She alleges that she was terminated
because she is an African-American and notes that she and
other African-American employees in management positions were
either removed or encouraged to resign from management prior
to her termination. (Id. ¶¶ 16-18.) She
also alleges that she was terminated because she was seen by
another employee with her significant other, who was a female
former employee of M & T, whereas the company never took
disciplinary action against employees who were engaged in
opposite-sex relationships with other employees.
(Id. ¶¶ 19-20.) She has asserted claims
against M & T for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 and the Kentucky Civil Rights Act
(“KCRA”) by discriminating against her on the
basis of her race and sex. (Id. ¶¶ 21-30.)
M & T have moved to dismiss the sex discrimination
claims, as well as any breach of contract or retaliation
claims she may have alleged. (DN 12.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a court “must construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, ”
League of United Latin Am. Citizens v. Bredesen, 500
F.3d 523, 527 (6th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted),
“accept all well-pled factual allegations as true,
” id., and determine whether the “complaint . . .
states a plausible claim for relief.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). The plaintiff must
provide the grounds for its entitlement to relief, which
“requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). A plaintiff satisfies this standard when it
“pleads factual content that allows the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
complaint falls short if it pleads facts “merely
consistent with a defendant's liability” or if the
facts do not “permit the court to infer more than the
mere possibility of misconduct.” Id. at
678-79. Instead, a complaint “must contain a
‘short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Id.
at 677 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). “But where the
well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than
the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the
pleader is entitled to relief.'” Id. at
679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
T argues that Lindsey cannot maintain any claim for
retaliation under Title VII, as she has not exhausted her
remedies with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for
such a claim. Lindsey concedes this point and does not object
to the dismissal of this claim. As such, the Court will grant
the motion to dismiss the Title VII claim for retaliation.
T also argues that any claim for unlawful retaliation under
the KCRA has been inadequately pled, as there are no factual
allegations in the complaint that demonstrate Lindsey was
engaged in a protected activity. Lindsey does not respond to
this argument. “To establish a prima facie case for
retaliation, [the plaintiff] has the initial burden to show
that (1) she . . . engaged in a protected activity . .
.” Banks v. Bosch Rexroth Corp., 15 F.Supp.3d
681, 693 (E.D. Ky. 2014) (quoting Hamilton v. Gen. Elec.
Co., 556 F.3d 428, 435 (6th Cir. 2009)). Under the KCRA,
protected activities include “oppos[ing] a practice
declared unlawful by this chapter, or . . . ma[king] a
charge, fil[ing] a complaint, testif[ying], assist[ing], or
participat[ing] in any manner in any investigation,
proceeding, or hearing under this chapter.” KRS §
344.280(1). Lindsey has not pled any facts demonstrating that
she engaged in such acts while employed by M & T. Thus,
the Court will grant the motion to dismiss the KCRA claim for
BREACH OF CONTRACT
has not specifically made a claim for breach of contract
against M & T. Her complaint's introductory paragraph
states that she is challenging M & T's “breach
of contract, ” but M & T argues that the complaint
contains no facts that plausibly allege such a claim. Lindsey
argues that it is premature to dismiss the claim, as M &
T breached several different employment letters and the
employee handbook throughout Lindsey's employment.
However, even if these documents exist and would support such
a claim, the complaint does not plead their existence or any
facts that plausibly allege the existence of a contract,
breach of that contract, and damages from that breach.
Metro Louisville/Jefferson Cty. Gov. v. Abma, 326
S.W.3d 1, 8 (Ky. Ct. App. 2009). Without some facts showing
what the terms of the contract were and how they were
breached, the claim cannot survive. As such, the Court will
grant the motion to dismiss any claim for breach of contract.
SEX DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS
has asserted claims under both Title VII and the KCRA for sex
discrimination. The complaint alleges that M & T took
adverse action against her upon discovering that she was
dating a former female coworker, despite the company having
refused to enforce its policy on office relationships for
opposite-sex couples. M & T argues that Lindsey has not
pled a cognizable claim under either Title VII or the KCRA,
as the characteristic upon ...