United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. Hale, Judge United States District Court.
Kevin Vanover claims that his former employer and
supervisors, Defendants Samsung HVAC LLC, Vic Perez, and
Brian O'Connor, violated the Kentucky Civil Rights Act by
discriminating against him and retaliating against him when
he reported the alleged discrimination. (Docket No. 28)
Samsung HVAC has filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that it
does not qualify as an “employer” under the KCRA.
(D.N. 35) For the reasons set forth below, the Court will
grant Samsung HVAC's motion to dismiss.
following facts are set forth in the amended complaint and
taken as true for purposes of the present motion. See
Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d
478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v.
Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009)).
Vanover worked for Samsung HVAC LLC in Kentucky from December
1, 2015, until his termination on February 20, 2017. (D.N.
28, PageID # 87, 89) Samsung HVAC hired Vanover as Regional
Sales Manager, with responsibilities for managing Samsung
HVAC's customer relationships and selling Samsung HVAC
products in Kentucky and Tennessee. (Id., PageID #
87) Vanover claims escalating harassment by his direct
supervisor, Brian O'Connor. (Id., PageID #
87-89) Vanover recounts that O'Connor exhibited
“bizarre behavior . . . during a customer
meeting” and “began to rant about who won the
Civil War” while using profane language. (Id.,
PageID # 87) O'Connor would call Vanover during the
evenings and “humiliate [him] in a[n] openly hostile
manner.” (Id.) He also spoke in an
inappropriate manner to Vanover in front of other employees.
2016, Vanover reported O'Connor's behavior to Vic
Perez, O'Connor's supervisor. (Id., PageID #
88) Perez did not address Vanover's concerns, and Samsung
HVAC took no action against O'Connor. (Id.)
After this report, O'Connor sent Vanover several
inappropriate emails and told Vanover that he was no longer
allowed to contact several of his own clients. (Id.)
As a result, Vanover “began having serious medical
issues.” (Id., PageID # 89) Vanover eventually
sought relief from Samsung HVAC's Human Resources
Department, and “[a]fter an investigation, [his]
reports of harassment were substantiated.”
(Id.) Vanover alleges that Samsung HVAC finally
terminated his employment on February 20, 2017, “for
reporting the harassment and hostile environment that he
endured.” (Id.) Vanover then filed this
lawsuit in Jefferson Circuit Court (D.N. 1-1), and Samsung
HVAC removed the action to this Court. (D.N. 1)
avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim, “a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible on its face
“when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. If
“the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to
infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, ”
the plaintiff has not shown that he is entitled to relief.
Id. at 679. The complaint need not contain
“detailed factual allegations, ” but it must
provide “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-
unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). For purposes of a motion to
dismiss, “a district court must (1) view the complaint
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all
well-pleaded factual allegations as true.” Tackett, 561
F.3d at 488 (citing Gunasekera, 551 F.3d at 466).
initial matter, the Court rejects Samsung HVAC's attempt
to convert the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary
judgment by attaching several exhibits to both its motion and
its reply. (D.N. 35-2; D.N. 40-1, 40-2, 40-3, 40-4)
“Because [these] document[s] [are] neither contained
nor referenced in the pleadings, the Court must either reject
the evidence or treat the motion as one for summary
judgment.” Tucker v. Heaton, No.
5:14-CV-00183, 2015 WL 3935883, at *2 (W.D. Ky. June 26,
2015). The Court declines to consider matters outside the
pleadings. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). Vanover has failed to
state a plausible claim for relief in any event.
HVAC argues that it cannot be held liable under the Kentucky
Civil Rights Act because Vanover did not adequately allege
that it is an employer within the definition of Ky. Rev.
Stat. § 344.030. (D.N. 35-1, PageID # 129-30) Vanover
has not alleged or argued that Samsung HVAC is in fact an
employer as defined by the statute. (See D.N. 28; D.N. 37)
Instead, Vanover contends that “a defendant need not
meet the statutory definition of ‘employer' under
KRS 344.030 to be liable under KRS 344.280.”
(Id., PageID # 160)
alleges in Count II of his complaint that he was subjected to
“discrimination and harassment” and “a
hostile work environment” in violation of the KCRA.
(D.N. 28) The specific section of the statute that covers
such conduct is Ky. Rev. Stat. § 344.040, which
prohibits an employer from “discharg[ing] any
individual . . . because of the individual's . . .
sex.” Further, an employer may not “deprive an
individual of employment opportunities or ...