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Furlong v. Hallmark House of Louisville II, LLC

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

October 25, 2019

KATHLEEN FURLONG Plaintiff
v.
HALLMARK HOUSE OF LOUISVILLE II, LLC Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Rebecca Grady Jennings, District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Hallmark House of Louisville, II's (“Hallmark House”) Motion for Partial for Summary Judgment [DE 21]. Plaintiff Kathleen Furlong (“Furlong”) responded to the Motion [DE 22], and Hallmark House submitted a Reply [DE 23]. This matter is ripe. For the reasons below, the Court GRANTS Hallmark House's Motion [DE 21].

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Hallmark House is an assisted living and residential personal care facility in Louisville, Kentucky. [DE 22-1 at 99]. Hallmark House provides care to seniors with Alzheimer's, dementia, or other memory deficits. [Id.]. Hallmark House employed Furlong, as a Caregiver, beginning on or about October 20, 2016, at which time Furlong was 60 years old. [Id.] In January 2017, Furlong was promoted to Activities Director and was responsible for planning and facilitating daily activities and games for Hallmark House's residents. [Id.]

         Furlong testified that she became aware on September 15, 2017 that the Director of Nursing, Kathie Quaife (“Quaife”), was planning to give medication prescribed to one resident to another resident. [DE 22 at 162, DE 22-1 at 171].[1] Furlong reported this to the Administrator, Jennifer Ash (“Ash”). [DE 22 at 162, DE 22-1 at 171]. On September 18, 2017, a meeting was held between Furlong, Ash, Quaife, Vanessa Flannery (“Flannery”), and Jim Few, to discuss the allegations, which Furlong tape recorded. [DE 22 at 162-63, DE 22-1 at 172-73]. During the meeting Quaife acknowledged that if a resident was in dire need of a medication that they have a prescription for but not yet delivered, she will give another patient's medication if it is the same milligrams, then replace it. [DE 22 at 163, DE 22-3 at 179].

         The day after the meeting, on September 19, 2017, Furlong received a written-verbal warning for coming in late. [DE 22 at 163, DE 22-1 at 174, DE 22-4]. She had received prior permission to be late by text message from her then-supervisor, Flannery. [DE 22 at 163, DE 22- 5].

         On or about October 2, 2017, Flannery issued a disciplinary action for Furlong's failure to post an activities calendar and the two engaged in a verbal confrontation in which Flannery allegedly accused Furlong of having dementia and being stupid. [DE 21 at 100, DE 22 at 163]. Hallmark House immediately reprimanded Flannery and removed her as Furlong's supervisor. [DE 22 at 100, DE 21-3 at 131, DE 21-4 at 138].

         On or about October 31, 2017, Furlong's employment was terminated. [DE 21 at 102, DE 22 at 163]. Hallmark House states Furlong was not a good fit for the Activities Director position, citing Furlong's failure to timely post a monthly activities calendar, lack of creativity in selecting activities, and failure to maintain resident profiles. [DE 21 at 106]. Hallmark House replaced Furlong with an employee who was 56 years old. [DE 21 at 106, DE 21-4 at 139].

         Furlong filed this Complaint, alleging that Hallmark House wrongfully terminated her employment and retaliated against her because she reported safety concerns and because of her age. [Compl. 1-4, ¶¶ 17-44]. In Count 1 she alleges she was wrongfully terminated in violation of Kentucky common law and KRS § 216B.165. [DE 1-4 at 23-34]. In Count 2, Furlong alleges she was wrongfully terminated in violation of Kentucky common law and public policy. [Id. at 24-25]. In Count 3, Furlong alleges that her age was a substantial motivating factor in her termination and that Hallmark House unlawfully discriminated against her because of age in violation of KRS § 344.040.

         II. STANDARD

         Summary judgment is required when “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the burden of specifying the basis for its motion and showing the lack of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Once the moving party satisfies this burden, the nonmoving party must produce specific facts showing a material issue of fact for trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). “Factual differences are not considered material unless the differences are such that a reasonable jury could find for the party contesting the summary judgment motion.” Bell v. City of E. Cleveland, 125 F.3d 855 (6th Cir. 1997) (citing Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 252).

         A district court considering a motion for summary judgment may not weigh evidence or make credibility determinations. See Daugherty v. Sajar Plastics, Inc., 544 F.3d 696, 702 (6th Cir. 2008); see also Adams v. Metiva, 31 F.3d 375, 385 (6th Cir. 1994). The Court must view the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Williams v. Int'l Paper Co., 227 F.3d 706, 710 (6th Cir. 2000). But the nonmoving party must do more than show some “metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Instead, the nonmoving party must present specific facts showing that a genuine factual issue exists by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record” or by “showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1); see also Shreve v. Franklin Cty., Ohio, 743 F.3d 126, 136 (6th Cir. 2014). “The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [nonmoving party's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [nonmoving party].” Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 252.

         Rule 56(c)(1) requires that a “party asserting that a fact . . . is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by . . . citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A).

         III. ...


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