FROM FAYETTE CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE JAMES D. ISHMAEL, JR.,
JUDGE ACTION NO. 17-CI-02945
FOR APPELLANT: Paul Stewart Abney West Liberty, Kentucky
FOR APPELLEE: Robert E. Maclin, III Frankfort, Kentucky
BEFORE: COMBS, D. LAMBERT, AND SMALLWOOD,  JUDGES.
Lee Barnett appeals from an order of the Fayette Circuit
Court that granted the motion of Central Kentucky Hauling,
LLC's (CKH) to dismiss and dismissed his complaint
against CKH. After our review, we affirm.
August 15, 2017, Barnett filed a complaint against CKH for
damages resulting from the termination of Barnett's
employment with CKH. He alleged that the termination violated
Chapter 344, the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA). He claims
that he suffered discrimination due to his association with
his wife, a person with a disability (as defined by the
KCRA). The complaint alleges the following facts leading to
was employed by CKH as a driver beginning in March of 2011.
Throughout his employment, his wife suffered from cystic
fibrosis, and his employers were aware of her illness. On
December 28, 2013, his wife was admitted to the hospital due
to complications from her disease. Barnett requested and was
granted leave from work to care for his wife. At that time,
he was reassured that he would not lose his position with
CKH, and he eventually returned to work following his
wife's lung transplant in early 2014.
months later, Barnett was called into his supervisor's
office to discuss allegations that he had been making
disparaging comments regarding the company. Barnett denied
these allegations. During this meeting, a supervisor
mentioned Barnett's absence from work because of his
November 2014, his wife's condition again worsened. Soon
after, through a co-worker, Barnett obtained forms necessary
to pursue work leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
On December 3, 2014, Barnett was terminated from CKH for
"lack of work," but it was also made known that one
of the supervisors "wanted Barnett gone."
immediately filed a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant
to CR 12.02(f) for failure to state a claim upon
which relief could be granted. Following oral arguments, the
trial court entered an order on September 25, 2017 granting
CKH's motion to dismiss and dismissing Barnett's
complaint. It is from this dismissal that Barnett appeals.
12.02(f) permits judgment in favor of a movant on the basis
of the plaintiff's "failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted[.]" A motion to dismiss
should only be granted where "it appears the pleading
party would not be entitled to relief under any set of facts
which could be proved in support of his claim."
Pari-Mutuel Clerks' Union of Kentucky, Local 541,
SEIU, AFL-CIO v. Kentucky Jockey Club, 551 S.W.2d 801,
803 (Ky. 1977). Whether to dismiss an action pursuant to CR
12.02(f) is a question of law. Fox v. Grayson, 317
S.W.3d 1, 7 (Ky. 2010). Therefore, "a reviewing court
owes no deference to a trial court's
determination[.]" Id. The issue must be
reviewed de novo. Morgan & Pottinger,
Attorneys, P.S.C. v. Botts, 348 S.W.3d 599, 601 (Ky.
2011). Additionally, statutory interpretation is purely a
legal matter and is also reviewed de novo.
Commonwealth v. McBride, 281 S.W.3d 799, 803 (Ky.
2009). We must construe statutes according to their plain
sole and rather unique issue presented in this case is
whether the KCRA provides a claim of relief to individuals
due to their association with a person with
disabilities. After reviewing the parties' arguments and
the applicable law, we are compelled to agree with CKH that