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Ramsey v. Greenbush Logistics, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division

July 11, 2017




         Pending before the Court is Greenbush Logistics, Inc.'s ("Greenbush") Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, to Transfer Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 23), to which Billy Paul Ramsey has responded in opposition (Doc. No. 27) and Greenbush has replied (Doc. No. 40). For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be granted insofar as Greenbush requests a transfer of this action.

         I. Factual Background

         The Amended Complaint alleges the following relevant facts:

         Ramsey is a resident of Leoma, Tennessee, and works for Greenbush, which is a "Domestic Corporation" with its principal place of business located at 445 Singletary Road in Abbeville, Alabama. (Doc. No. 21, Am. Cmpl. ¶¶ 1, 2, 9). Greenbush does business in Tennessee by delivering treated lumber to multiple businesses in this state on a weekly basis. (Id. ¶ 2). Its Tennessee customers include: “Parkes Lumber Company in Lawrenceburg; Cross Roads Building Supply in Etheridge, 412 Building Supplies in Hohenwald, Tennessee, Augustin Lumber Company in Loretto; Pulaski Lumber Company in Pulaski; Quality Metals Supply in Pleasantville; Buck Building Supply in Decaturville; Marvin's Building Materials in Lewisburg; Williams Supply in Savannah; Old Time Lumber in Counce; Stewart Building Supply in Dickson; and Home Depot, which has multiple locations throughout” the state. (Id. ¶ 11).

         Ramsey suffers from epilepsy and Greenbush is aware of this condition. Several months after he began working as a mechanic for Greenbush on May 14, 2012, Ramsey was placed on the night shift at Greenbush's facility. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 15). Ramsey notified Greenbush that his epilepsy “prevented him from performing adequately with regards to safety, quality, and productivity.” (Id. 16). Nevertheless, he was required to continue to work the night shift for the next several months. (Id. ¶ 17).

         On December 9, 2013, Ramsey contacted Dewayne Heath in Human Resources about a reasonable accommodation in the form of a shift change. (Id. ¶ 18). That same day, Dr. James H. Bealle of Pulaski, Tennessee, “wrote a letter providing documentation of Plaintiff's disability, noting that sleep deprivation and an irregular sleep pattern results in the worsening of epilepsy symptoms, ” and suggesting that “working third shift and frequently switching between shifts could result in seizure activity and cognitive dysfunction[.]” (Id. ¶¶ 19, 20).

         On August 26 and August 27, 2014, Dr. Norman McNulty, a physician located in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, “sent Defendant documentation about Plaintiff s history of seizures and a new condition, ‘shift work sleep disorder.'” (Id. ¶ 21). Dr. McNulty “noted that working the third shift was impairing Plaintiff's ability to function normally, and to operate safely at work during those hours.” (Id.).

         Since being employed at Greenbush, Ramsey “has been passed over for a raise on several occasions, ” and, in fact, has yet to receive a raise. (Id. ¶ 22). He further claims that he (1) “has been expected to perform more tasks than other employees” and (2) “received multiple ‘write-ups' after his requests for accommodation, ” while “[o]ther employees without disabilities did not receive write-ups for similar actions.” (Id. ¶¶ 23, 24).

         Based upon the foregoing, Ramsey filed a two-count Complaint. In the first count, he alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12111 et seq.; in the second, he alleges violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-101 et seq.

         In response to the Complaint and in support of its Motion to Dismiss or Transfer, Greenbush has filed the Declaration of Kevin Savoy, its Vice President. In that Declaration, Savoy states, among other things, that Greenbush maintains no offices, terminals, or physical presence in Tennessee; does not own, rent, lease or store any property in Tennessee; does not have a Tennessee business address (physical P.O. box or otherwise) or telephone number; does not hold any meetings in Tennessee; does not maintain any business records in Tennessee; is not registered to do business in Tennessee; has no agents or employees who work out of Tennessee; has no officers, executives or board members that reside in Tennessee; does not have any bank accounts in the state of Tennessee; has not filed or intervened in a lawsuit in the state of Tennessee; has not specifically assigned any sales agent to target the state of Tennessee; and has not targeted Tennessee with any campaign advertising its services. (Doc. No. 24-1, Savoy Decl. ¶ 5).

         II. Legal Analysis

         The Motion to Dismiss or Transfer is in three parts. First, Greenbush argues this case should be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue. Second, it asserts, alternatively, that this action should be transferred under 28 U.S.C. § 1404 to the Northern District of Alabama because that forum is more convenient for the witnesses and the parties. Third and finally, Greenbush contends that, if the Court determines that dismissal is not warranted and that the case should not be transferred, Ramsey's claims should be dismissed for failure to state a claim. Having considered the parties' arguments, the Court finds that personal jurisdiction does not exist and that this case should be transferred “in the interest of justice” under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).

         A. ...

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