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Mullins v. Jake Sweeney Automotive

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

April 2, 2018

Tammy Mullins, Plaintiff,
v.
Jake Sweeney Automotive, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER

          MICHAEL R. BARRETT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon Defendant Jake Sweeney Automotive, Inc's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 4). Plaintiff Tammy Mullins filed a Response (Doc. 7) and Defendant filed a Reply (Doc. 8). Plaintiff was permitted to file a Supplemental Reply (Doc. 9-1), to which Defendant filed a Response (Doc. 10).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings employment discrimination claims against Defendant under the Family Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disability Act.

         On September 24, 2014, Plaintiff filed bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Case No. 14-21416. On January 22, 2015, the bankruptcy court approved Plaintiff's bankruptcy plan. (E.D. Ky. Case No. 14-21416, Doc. 29).

         On February 1, 2016, Plaintiff was informed that she had been terminated by Defendant on January 8, 2016. (Doc. 1, ¶ 14). After Plaintiff learned that her discharge may have been illegal, she notified her bankruptcy attorney that she was pursuing legal action. (Doc. 7-1, Mullins Decl., ¶ 3).

         On January 26, 2017, Plaintiff received a Notice of Right to Sue on her claims from the EEOC. On March 2, 2017, Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this Court.

         On June 15, 2017, Defendant filed its Motion for Summary on the grounds that Plaintiff lacked standing and that she was judicially estopped from pursuing this action because she had not disclosed the claim to the bankruptcy court. On June 26, 2017, Plaintiff's bankruptcy counsel filed an amended bankruptcy schedule identifying her claim against Defendant. (E.D. Ky. Case No. 14-21416, Doc. 71).

         On October 16, 2017, the bankruptcy court entered an order dismissing her bankruptcy for failing to make payments under the plan in a timely manner. (E.D. Ky. Case No. 14-21416, Doc. 74). Plaintiff's debts were not discharged.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is proper “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” The moving party has the burden of showing an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). Once the moving party has met its burden of production, the non-moving party cannot rest on his pleadings, but must present significant probative evidence in support of his complaint to defeat the motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).

         B. Standing

         Defendant argues that even though Plaintiff's bankruptcy was dismissed, Plaintiff lacks standing because her employment causes of action are ...


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