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Kenneth Mcghee v. Healthcare Services Group

November 2, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Smoak United States District Judge


Before me are Defendants' motions for summary judgment (Docs. 67 & 69) and Plaintiff's responses (Docs. 83 & 85).


The basic issue before the court on a motion for summary judgment is "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2512 (1986). The moving party has the burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue as to any material fact, and in deciding whether the movant has met this burden, the court must view the movant's evidence and all factual inferences arising from it in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970); Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1115 (11th Cir. 1993). Thus, if reasonable minds could differ on the inferences arising from undisputed facts, then a court should deny summary judgment. Miranda v. B & B Cash Grocery Store, Inc., 975 F.2d 1518, 1534 (11th Cir. 1992) (citing Mercantile Bank & Trust v. Fidelity & Deposit Co., 750 F.2d 838, 841 (11th Cir. 1985)). However, a mere 'scintilla' of evidence supporting the nonmoving party's position will not suffice; there must be enough of a showing that the jury could reasonably find for that party. Walker v. Darby, 911 F.2d 1573, 1577 (11th Cir. 1990) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251).


I accept the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. See Galvez v. Bruce, 552 F.3d 1238, 1239 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing Vinyard v. Wilson, 311 F.3d 1340, 1343 n.1 (11th Cir. 2002)). " 'All reasonable doubts about the facts should be resolved in favor of the non-movant.' " Id. (quoting Burton v. City of Belle Glade, 178 F.3d 1175, 1187 (11th Cir. 1999); Clemons v. Dougherty County, 684 F.2d 1365, 1368-69 (11th Cir. 1982).

Plaintiff was hired as an account manager with Defendant Healthcare Services Group, Inc. ("Healthcare") around November 2008 by Bill Simpkins. Healthcare was contracted by Defendant Sovereign Healthcare of Bonifay, LLC, a nursing and rehab facility ("Sovereign"), to maintain its laundry and housekeeping. Healthcare was responsible for the "hiring, firing, discipline, wages, benefits and tax withholdings" of the laundry and housekeeping employees at Sovereign. (Doc. 67, p. 3). As Account Manager, Plaintiff had the duty to oversee the cleanliness of Sovereign and supervised approximately eighteen employees.

Defendant Nancy Hall was the Administrator for Sovereign and was responsible for overseeing the facility's maintenance. Hall was not involved in human resources or personnel decisions at Healthcare and "never had the authority to hire, promote, demote, or terminate Plaintiff or any other employee of Healthcare." (Doc. 69, p. 5).

Around February 24, 2009, Plaintiff's wife, Wendy McGhee, attempted suicide while she was employed as the Director of Admissions and Marketing for Defendant Sovereign. After her suicide attempt, Mrs. McGhee took medical leave and returned to work around March 16, 2009. She was terminated on or about April 21, 2009. After her termination, Mrs. McGhee filed a discrimination claim.

Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Sovereign and Hall retaliated against him after his wife filed the discrimination claim. According to Plaintiff, Hall contacted Mr. Simpkins and told him she wanted Plaintiff fired and "began demanding that Plaintiff's superiors evaluate Plaintiff's work at the Bonifay facility to try and establish deficiencies in Plaintiff's performance." (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff was eventually terminated around September 18, 2009, by Tammy Stephenson, Plaintiff's supervisor.

Mr. Simpkins supports Plaintiff's allegations; however, Ms. Stephenson and Mr. Banyansky, Healthcare's Regional Manager, contend that they were never approached by Hall about terminating Plaintiff. Ms. Stephenson testified that "Plaintiff never completed projects as directed. She repeatedly counseled Plaintiff, he would apologize and make promises, but did not improve his performance." (Doc. 69, p. 5). Mr. Banyanksy was unsatisfied with Plaintiff's performance, stating some deficiencies such as "systems not being followed, not doing inspections on his staff, not following up on projects that need to be done, and just a bunch of excuses." (Id.).

In response to his termination, Plaintiff filed a four-count complaint alleging two alternative counts of tortious interference with a business relationship, retaliation by Defendant Sovereign, and retaliation by Defendant Healthcare.


Counts One ...

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