United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINON AND ORDER
N. STIVERS, CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss (DN 4). The motion is ripe for adjudication. For the
reasons below, the motion is GRANTED.
Linda Huber (“Huber”) was employed by Jefferson
County Public Schools (“JCPS”) beginning in 1993
as a business and career coordinator for the district's
various middle schools. (Compl. ¶ 7, DN 1-1). In 2001
she was permanently reassigned to Liberty High School
(“Liberty”) as its “Community
Liaison.” (Compl. ¶ 8). As Community Liaison,
Huber worked closely with Liberty's “Discovery
Program” in addition to planning and coordinating other
career-and community-oriented programming. (Compl.
left Liberty in November 2009, allegedly as the result of
“harassment, humiliation and systemic
discrimination” over the years at Liberty, but
particularly once Iman Talaat (“Talaat”) became
the school's principal. (Compl. ¶ 10). Huber
attributes this discrimination to her conservative political
views and refers to instances where school personnel asked
her to remove a pro-life sign from her car parked in the
school's parking lot and prohibited her from mentoring
students on a project concerning abortion, though those with
opposing political stances were not similarly admonished.
(Compl. ¶¶ 12, 16-19, 21). Huber asserts that
Talaat was aware of her conservative views and “used
her position to harass, intimidate, terrorize and destroy
[her] career . . . .” (Compl. ¶¶ 22-23).
Huber provides that on at least one occasion, Liberty's
administrator-curriculum director, Sandra Harris
(“Harris”), had to defend Huber in a meeting with
Talaat regarding her political and religious beliefs. (Compl.
¶ 22). Huber further contends she was discriminated
against based on her age as one of many Liberty employees
over forty years of age whom Talaat wished to remove from the
school. (Compl. ¶ 37). Huber alleges Talaat instructed
other employees to “collect and construct false
evidence” against her in order to support termination.
(Compl. ¶ 25).
alleges that on October 1, 2009, she received a political
email from a fellow Liberty employee encouraging recipients
not to buy certain newly released stamps featuring Muslims on
them. (Compl. ¶ 39). Huber provides that she forwarded
this email to her sister-in-law. (Compl. ¶ 39). After
apparently learning of the email, Talaat allegedly accosted
Huber in her office: screaming, walking in an aggressive
manner, forcing Huber against a wall, and accusing her of
“hating” and being “racist” against
Muslims. (Compl. ¶ 39). Huber, shaken from the ordeal,
claims she packed her belongings, left at her usual time and
never returned to her job at Liberty. (Compl. ¶ 39).
this incident, Huber wrote JCPS superintendent, Donna
Hargins, on April 24, 2012, to inform her of her
confrontation with Talaat and of Talaat's other actions.
(Compl. ¶ 41). Huber alleges she received no response
from JCPS, so she hired an attorney to meet with the
district's department dealing with compliance and
investigations but was again “met with resistance and
apathy.” (Compl. ¶ 43).
alleges Julia Foster (“Foster”) initiated an
investigation into Talaat's conduct after she left her
job at Liberty and confirmed that Talaat forced employees to
make false statements against Huber. (Compl. ¶ 28).
After Foster's investigation, Huber claims JCPS hired an
ex-FBI agent to further investigate claims of abuse,
harassment, and intimidation leveled against Talaat. (Compl.
¶ 29). During this investigation, the ex-FBI agent
interviewed Huber. (Compl. ¶ 30). Huber states that she
was unaware of all the steps Talaat had taken to harass her
until the summer of 2016 when she obtained copies of records
from the investigation, including interviews with Liberty
faculty showing numerous instances where Talaat targeted
Huber because of her religious and political affiliations.
(Compl. ¶ 31). Huber alleges that, unknown to her,
Talaat “had actively targeted her, and informed her
‘inner circle' of teachers and administrators as
uncovered further information in 2018, when she became aware
for the first time of the full extent to which Talaat
conspired to remove her from her position at Liberty. (Compl.
¶ 34). Two Liberty employees, including the assistant
principal during Huber's tenure, “attested to the
fact that during some administrative staff meetings”
Talaat identified Huber as someone Talaat targeted for her
religious and political beliefs. (Compl. ¶¶ 34-36).
Huber further alleges that Talaat's targets all share the
characteristic of being older than forty. (Compl. ¶ 37).
February 13, 2019, Huber filed the present action in
Jefferson Circuit Court in Louisville, Kentucky. (Compl. 1).
Huber first asserts that JCPS and Talaat discriminated
against her based on her age in violation of the Kentucky
Civil Rights Act (“KCRA”). (Compl. ¶¶
48-54). She also asserts state claims for civil conspiracy
and hostile work environment. (Compl. ¶¶ 55-68).
Huber further asserts two federal claims under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1983. She contends that JCPS and Talaat deprived her
of her First Amendment rights by isolating, humiliating, and
harassing her for her religious and political beliefs.
(Compl. ¶¶ 69-80). Huber also asserts a Section
1983 claim for retaliation because JCPS and Talaat took
adverse employment action against her for exercising her
First Amendment rights, and no action was taken to
investigate her complaints of discrimination, harassment,
hostility and abuse. (Compl. ¶¶ 81-93). Defendants
removed the action to this Court on March 18, 2019. (Notice
Removal 1, DN 1).
now seek to dismiss Huber's claims under Rule 12(b)(6),
arguing all her claims are time-barred. (Defs.' Mot.
Dismiss 1-12, DN 4). Huber responds that the “discovery
rule” articulated in Urie v. Thompson, 337
U.S. 163 (1949), permits her claims to proceed because she
did not become aware of the full extent of the illegal
actions taken against her until 2018. (Pl.'s Resp.
Defs.' Mot. Dismiss 3-8, DN 5 [hereinafter Pl.'s
Resp.]). Alternately, Huber argues equitable tolling applies.
(Pl.'s Resp. 5). In their Reply, Defendants disagree and
contend that this rule does not apply to her state law
claims, her pleadings do not foreclose its applicability to
her federal claims, and that she has failed to demonstrate
equitable tolling is appropriate. (Defs.' Reply Mot.
Dismiss 2-7, DN 6 [hereinafter Defs.' Reply]).
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter
because Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim presents a ...