Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Sakaan v. Fedex Corporation Inc.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

December 21, 2016

MOUFAK SAKAAN
v.
FEDEX CORPORATION, INC., ET AL.

          Session October 26, 2016.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-001718-5 Rhynette N. Hurd, Judge

         The Plaintiff filed suit against a number of corporate and individual Defendants alleging claims for intentional and negligent misrepresentation. After filing answers to the complaint, the Defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings on the basis that the asserted claims were time-barred. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the Plaintiff's case with prejudice. Discerning no error in this decision, we affirm.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right: Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed and Remanded

          Justin E. Mitchell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Moufak Sakaan.

          Carl K. Morrison, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, FedEx Corporation, FedEx Corporate Services, Inc., Chris Wood, Michael Dearen, and Robert Morrison.

          Arnold B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Brandon O. Gibson, J., joined.

          OPINION

          ARNOLD B. GOLDIN, JUDGE.

         Background and Procedural History[1]

         Plaintiff/Appellant Moufak Sakaan ("Mr. Sakaan") is a former employee of two FedEx companies, where he worked as a software platform liaison. He was hired at FedEx Express in 1998, and in 2007, he obtained a transfer to FedEx Corporate Services, Inc. Both FedEx Express and FedEx Corporate Services, Inc. are wholly-owned subsidiaries of FedEx Corporation.

         In December 2012, FedEx Corporate Services, Inc. sent Mr. Sakaan a proposed confidential severance agreement as part of a wide cost-cutting initiative. The proposed agreement offered Mr. Sakaan a lump sum severance benefit in exchange for voluntarily ending his employment. Following the offer of the proposed severance agreement, Mr. Sakaan engaged in a number of conversations with FedEx representatives, as well as his supervisor, Robert Morrison. Mr. Sakaan was concerned about the ramifications of accepting the severance package, namely whether it would preclude him from working on FedEx projects that were either fully or partially staffed through a third-party vendor. Through these conversations, Mr. Sakaan alleges he was assured that his acceptance of the severance agreement would not prohibit him from working on FedEx projects sourced through a third-party vendor. Mr. Sakaan subsequently signed the severance agreement on March 2, 2013.

         Prior to leaving FedEx, Mr. Sakaan was hired by Tango, a third-party vendor with an existing FedEx relationship. Tango hired Mr. Sakaan to work on FedEx projects that were sourced through it. Mr. Sakaan eventually left his employment with FedEx on November 30, 2013.

         On December 19, 2013, Mr. Sakaan attended a meeting at FedEx as a Tango employee. While Mr. Sakaan was at the meeting, a member of the FedEx legal team recognized Mr. Sakaan and identified him as an individual that had accepted the severance agreement. After this legal team employee notified the litigation team and other departments about Mr. Sakaan's participation in the meeting, Mr. Sakaan was removed from the premises. He has not worked on a FedEx project since that time.

         On April 21, 2015, Mr. Sakaan filed a complaint in the Shelby County Circuit Court against FedEx Corporation, Inc., FedEx Corporate Services, Inc., and three individual defendants (collectively, "the Defendants").[2] The complaint asserted claims for intentional and negligent misrepresentation and alleged that FedEx Corporation and/or its wholly-owned subsidiaries were vicariously liable for the misrepresentations made by the individual defendants. In relevant part, the complaint accused the Defendants of making false representations regarding the impact that signing the severance agreement would have on Mr. Sakaan's ability to work on FedEx projects. The complaint averred that Mr. Sakaan was justified in relying on the truth of these representations when choosing to accept the severance package and stated that the Defendants' actions had contributed to a loss of earnings and loss of earning capacity for Mr. Sakaan. The complaint specifically sought to recover a judgment in the sum of $600, 000.00, plus interest, for the compensatory damages that were alleged to have been sustained.

         On May 29, 2015, FedEx Corporation, Inc., and FedEx Corporate Services, Inc., jointly filed an answer to the complaint. The named individual defendants later filed their respective answers to the complaint on June 30, 2015. Shortly thereafter, on July 28, 2015, the Defendants collectively moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12.03 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. In relevant part, the Defendants argued that the claims asserted in Mr. Sakaan's complaint were filed outside the applicable one-year statute of limitations period set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated section 28-3-104(a)(1).

         On August 7, 2015, Mr. Sakaan filed a response to the Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings, as well as a motion for partial summary judgment as to his negligent misrepresentation claim. On November 25, 2015, Mr. Sakaan submitted a personal affidavit in support of his motion for partial summary judgment, and on December 4, 2015, he filed a statement of undisputed facts pursuant to Rule 56.03 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. Later, on January 11, 2016, he filed the deposition of one of the individual defendants. Defendants responded to Mr. Sakaan's motion for partial summary judgment on January 21, 2016, arguing, inter alia, that the motion had been prematurely filed. They submitted that if Mr. Sakaan's case survived their motion for judgment on the pleadings, additional time should be afforded to complete discovery.

         A hearing on the Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings took place a couple of weeks later on February 5, 2016. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial judge orally ruled that a one-year statute of limitations applied to Mr. Sakaan's claims. An order granting the Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings was subsequently entered on February 19, 2016. Therein, the trial court specifically concluded that because the one-year statute of limitations contained in Tennessee Code Annotated section 28-3-104 applied to Plaintiff's claims, such claims were time-barred. Following the trial court's dismissal of Mr. Sakaan's claims with prejudice, this appeal ensued.[3]

         Issues Presented

         In his brief on appeal, Mr. Sakaan designates five issues for our review. Restated verbatim, these issues are as follows:

1. Whether the trial court erred in granting Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, on the sole basis of a determination in-error that Plaintiff's contract-based claims somehow sound within a one-year statute of limitations.
2. Whether the trial court erred in granting Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, by even allowing Defendants to argue the motion: each of the Defendants specifically admitted in their separate Answers that the Complaint was brought within the applicable statute of limitations, and did not plead any affirmative defense with the requisite degree of specificity necessary to overcome preclusion on this basis.
3. Whether the trial court erred in granting Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, given that such a motion is unripe until the pleadings are closed and given ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.