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Glore v. RXC Acquisition Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

January 25, 2019

JENNIFER M. GLORE, Plaintiff,
v.
RXC ACQUISITION COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          David J. Hale, Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff Jennifer Glore alleges that her employer, Defendant RXC Acquisition Company, discriminated against her, in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. (D.N. 1-1) Glore contends that RXC was negligent in hiring, retaining, and supervising her co-workers; wrongfully terminated her; and intentionally caused her to suffer emotional distress. (Id.) RXC asks the Court to dismiss Glore's complaint for failure to state a claim. (D.N. 5-1) After careful consideration, the Court concludes that Glore has failed to state a plausible claim for relief.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Glore alleges that while working for RXC, she was subjected to unspecified “race-based, offensive” treatment by her co-workers.[1] (D.N. 1-1, PageID # 7) Although Glore reported this discriminatory conduct, RXC did not remedy the problem; instead, RXC allegedly discharged Glore in retaliation for her complaints. (Id., PageID # 9) Glore claims to have suffered physical and mental distress as a result of RXC's actions. (Id., PageID # 7) She seeks compensatory and punitive damages for RXC's alleged violations of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act; wrongful termination; negligent hiring, retention and supervision; and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (D.N. 1-1) RXC asks the Court to dismiss Glore's claims on the ground that she has failed to satisfy the federal pleading standard. (D.N. 5-1)

         II. STANDARD

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply to all civil proceedings in federal district courts, including removed cases. Fed.R.Civ.P. 1, 81(c); see also Armstrong v. Shirvell, 596 Fed.Appx. 433, 444 (6th Cir. 2015); Vanhook v. Somerset Health Facilities, LP, 67 F.Supp.3d 810, 815 (E.D. Ky. 2014). Thus, “federal pleading requirements under Rule 8 and the Twombly-Iqbal standard apply to removed complaints, even where the state pleading standard is more lenient.”[2]Vanhook, 67 F.Supp.3d at 815. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a claim will be dismissed unless the “complaint [contains] 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)). To satisfy this standard, a plaintiff must “plead[] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. This requires the plaintiff to present enough factual matter to support each element of each of her claims. Id.; see also Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 435 (6th Cir. 1988). When evaluating whether this pleading standard has been satisfied, the Court must “accept all the [plaintiff's] factual allegations as true and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the [plaintiff].” Hill v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mich., 409 F.3d 710, 716 (6th Cir. 2005).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Viewed in the light most favorable to Glore, the complaint fails to satisfy the federal pleading standard.

         A. Count One

         Glore asserts that RXC violated the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. (D.N. 1-1, PageID # 7-8) In support of this claim, Glore states merely that she was subjected to “race-based, offensive behavior at the workplace while employed with [RXC].” (Id.)

         To state a plausible claim of discrimination under the KCRA, Glore's complaint must “allege sufficient factual content from which a court, informed by its judicial experience and common sense, could draw the reasonable inference that [RXC] discriminated against her.” Bargo v. Goodwill Indus. of Ky., Inc., 969 F.Supp.2d 819, 825 (E.D. Ky. 2013) (quoting Keys v. Humana, 684 F.3d 605, 610 (6th Cir. 2012)). Glore's complaint is devoid of any factual content; she claims discrimination without alleging any specific instance of such conduct. (D.N. 1-1, PageID # 7-9) See Levinson v. Mucker, 289 F.Supp.2d 848, 854 (W.D. Ky. 2003) (finding that plaintiff failed to state a claim of disability discrimination because he did not include specific facts alleging that he had a disability); cf. Young v. Smithfield Farmland Corp., No. CV 6: 17-143-DCR, 2017 WL 4287546, at *2 (E.D. Ky. Sept. 27, 2017) (finding that plaintiff sufficiently stated a claim of sex discrimination under the KCRA because she included specific instances of disparate treatment and named those who were allegedly discriminating against her). Glore's bare assertion that she was “subjected to race-based, offensive behavior” does not provide enough factual information for the Court to infer discrimination. (Id., PageID # 7) Therefore, Glore did not provide the factual basis necessary to state a plausible claim of discrimination under the KCRA.

         B. Count Two

         In Count Two of her complaint, Glore contends that RXC was negligent in hiring, retaining, and supervising the employees who discriminated against her. (D.N. 1-1, PageID # 7-8) To make out a claim for negligent hiring, retention, or supervision under Kentucky law, a plaintiff must allege that the “employer knew or had reason to know of the risk created by the employee.” Hampton v. Bob Evans Transp. Co., No. CV 6: 18-143-DCR, 2018 WL 3213609, at *2-3 (E.D. Ky. June 29, 2018) (quoting Ten Broeck Dupont, Inc. v. Brooks, 283 S.W.3d 705, 734 (Ky. 2009)); see also Booker, 350 F.3d at 518; Stalbosky v. Belew, 205 F.3d 890, 894 (6th Cir. 2000); Virgil v. City of Newport, No. CV 16-224-DLB-CJS, 2018 WL 344986, at *16 (E.D. Ky. Jan. 9, 2018). In Hampton, the plaintiff alleged that “Bob Evans[ ] negligently trained, hired and/or supervised [its employee.” 2018 WL 3213609, at *2. The court explained that Hampton's complaint did not satisfy the federal pleading standard because “bare legal conclusions unsupported by factual allegations, ” do not establish a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 3.

         Here, Glore's complaint does not include any factual content to support a claim of negligent hiring, retention, or supervision. (D.N. 1-1, PageID # 7-8) Glore merely states that “[she] informed management of continued problems stemming from discriminatory behavior from other employees, [but RXC] failed and refused to take any corrective ...


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