United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. REEVES, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. (“FedEx”) has
filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff Lord Scott39;s
Complaint or, in the alternative, summary judgment regarding
the claim asserted against it. [Record No. 4] In support,
FedEx contends that Scott39;s wrongful discharge claim is
barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Id.
Plaintiff Scott has not responded to the motion.
noted by Local Rule 7.1(c), “[u]nless otherwise ordered
by the Court, a party opposing a motion must file a response
within 21 days of service of the motion. Failure to timely
respond to a motion may be grounds for granting the
motion.” LR 7.1(c). Scott was served with the motion on
October 14, 2019, making November 4, 2019 the final day that
he could file a timely response to FedEx39;s motion.
Nevertheless, the Court has reviewed the merits of the
FedEx39;s motion and finds that it is entitled to the
relief sought. Scott clearly missed an earlier, more
significant deadline when he failed to commence this action
within the applicable limitations period. As a result, the
Court will enter summary judgment in favor of FedEx.
began working as a package handler for FedEx in March 2013.
[Record Nos. 1-1, p. 1 ¶ 4 and 4-3, p. 2] He alleges
that, on or about August 11, 2014, a coworker identified as
“Lance, ” “jumped into the path upon which
[Scott] was travelling in performance of his job duties and
[Scott39;s] momentum pushed [Lance] out of the way . . .
.” [Record No. 1-1, p. 2 ¶ 7] Scott contends that
Lance then cursed at and threatened him. Id.
reported the incident to a supervisor that day, resulting in
Scott39;s termination. Id. at p. 2 ¶ 8-9. He
allegedly had threatened Scott twice before, and supervisors
had been forced to intervene on both occasions. Id.
at p. 2 ¶ 10. But unlike Scott, Lance was not fired for
his involvement in the August 11, 2014 incident. Id.
at p. 2, ¶ 9.
filed this action in Fayette Circuit Court on September 12,
2019. [Record No. 1-1] He asserts one ground for relief:
wrongful discharge under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act
(“KCRA”), KRS 344.010 et
seq. Id. at p. 3 ¶ 2.
Scott contends he was terminated due to his African American
race while Lance, a Caucasian, remained employed at FedEx
after the August 11, 2014, incident. Id. at p. 2,
¶ 12. FedEx removed the action to this Court on October
7, 2019. [Record No. 1]
filed the present motion to dismiss or, in the alternative,
for summary judgment on October 14, 2014. [Record No. 4] It
alleges that Scott39;s employment was formally terminated
on August 28, 2014. [Record No. 4-1, p. 5] FedEx has filed an
Employee Separation Form [Record No. 4-3] as well as a
Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Division
of Unemployment Insurance notice of unemployment insurance
benefits determination [Record No. 4-4], indicating that
Scott39;s employment was terminated on August 28, 2014. The
company argues that the applicable limitations period expired
on August 28, 2019, or five years after Scott39;s
termination. [Record No. 4-1, p. 5]
Court reviews FedEx39;s motion under Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. This is because, “[i]f, on a
motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the
pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the
motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule
56.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). “Summary judgment is
appropriate when no genuine dispute of material fact exists
and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” I.L. by and through Taylor v. Tenn. Dep39;t
of Educ., 739 Fed. App39;x 319, 321 (6th Cir. 2018)
(citing Fed.R.Civ.p. 56(a)).
moving party, FedEx initially bears the burden of
“pointing out” that “there is an absence of
evidence to support the nonmoving party39;s case.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 317');">477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986).
“Once the movant meets the initial burden, the opposing
party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” McLaughlin v. Fifth Third
Bank, Inc., 300');">772 Fed.Appx. 300, 302 (6th Cir. 2019)
(citing Fed.R.Civ.p. 56(e)). FedEx is entitled to summary
judgment if Scott is unable to present such affirmative
evidence. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 257 (1986). The Court views all evidence in the light
most favorable to Scott. McLaughlin, 772 Fed.Appx.
at 302 (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252).
asserts a claim for wrongful discharge under the
KCRA. KRS 413.120(2) states that a plaintiff must
commence “[a]n action upon a liability created by
statute, when no other time is fixed by the statute creating
the liability. . .” within five years of the cause of
action39;s accrual. KRS 413.120(2). Under the KCRA,
“[c]ivil rights claims are governed by the five-year
statute of limitations provided in KRS 413.120(2).”
E.g., Ammerman v. Bd. of Educ., 30 S.W.3d
793, 798 (Ky. 2000). A KCRA “action for discrimination
or retaliation accrues on the date the act of discrimination
or retaliation occurs.” Walker v.
Commonwealth, 3 S.W.3d 165');">503 S.W.3d 165, 172 (Ky. Ct. App. 2016)
Complaint alleges that FedEx terminated his employment
without firing Lance for his involvement in the August 11,
2014 incident. He contends that FedEx's action violated
the KCRA because the company wrongfully discharged him based
on his race. Therefore, the cause of action accrued, and the
KRS 413.120(2) five-year limitations period began to run,