United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Debra Thompson alleges that Defendant Cliff Henderson
sexually harassed her and that Defendant QCHC, Inc.
(“QCHC”) terminated her employment for
complaining about Mr. Henderson's conduct. Ms. Thompson
asserts claims against QCHC for hostile work environment and
retaliation under Title VII. She asserts a claim against Mr.
Henderson for invasion of privacy under state law.
the court are Defendants' motions for summary judgment.
(Doc. 34; Doc. 40). For the reasons explained below, the
court GRANTS QCHC's motion for summary
judgment (doc. 34), and in the absence of an independent
basis for jurisdiction over Ms. Thompson's state law
invasion of privacy claim against Mr. Henderson, the court
will decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the
STANDARD OF REVIEW
court shall grant summary judgment 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.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “The moving party bears the initial
burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute of
material fact.” FindWhat Inv'r Grp. v.
FindWhat.com, 658 F.3d 1282, 1307 (11th Cir. 2011)
(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986)). A “material fact” is one that
“might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
a Birmingham-based company that contracts with local
governmental entities to provide healthcare services to city
and county correctional facilities. (Doc. 34-1 at ¶ 2).
QCHC hired Ms. Thompson in March 2015 as a part-time nurse
and assigned her to work at the City of Trussville's
Municipal Jail. (Doc. 34-1 at ¶ 5; Doc. 34-2 at 8). She
remained on that assignment until the spring of 2016, when
QCHC transferred her to another of the facilities it served.
(Doc. 34-2 at 14).
Ms. Thompson was hired, her supervisor was Ashlei Porter,
Chief Nursing Officer for QCHC at that time. (Doc. 34-1 at
¶ 6). According to Ms. Thompson, Stacie Thompson
(“Stacie”) became her supervisor in the spring of
2016. (Doc 34-2 at 11). Stacie was a site administrator for
the St. Clair County Jail, another facility where QCHC
provides healthcare services. (Doc. 34-2 at 11; Doc. 34-4 at
¶ 1). Stacie was never formally assigned responsibility
over the Trussville Jail, but she did cover shifts there.
(Doc. 34-4 at ¶ 2). Victoria Singleton, QCHC's
Regional Director of Nursing for Alabama, also supervised Ms.
Thompson's work at the Trussville Jail beginning in the
spring of 2016. (Doc. 34-1 at ¶ 6).
Thompson alleges that Cliff Henderson sexually harassed her
while she worked at the Trussville Jail. (Doc. 34-2 at 25).
Mr. Henderson was a police officer who worked at the J a il,
but he was not employed by QCHC. (Doc. 34-2 at 22). Ms.
Thompson first met Mr. Henderson when he came into the office
during her training and would “laugh and talk and flirt
and cut up and get in the way.” (Doc. 34-2 at 22).
2015, Ms. Thompson and Mr. Henderson began texting
frequently. (See generally Doc. 34-5). As time
passed, the exchanges became increasingly flirtatious.
(See Doc. 34-5 at 3-5, 137, 140-142). On one
occasion, Ms. Thompson texted Mr. Henderson pictures of her
feet after a pedicure, and Mr. Henderson replied that she had
“sexy toes.” (Doc. 34-2 at 26-27). In another
exchange, Mr. Henderson explained that he was so tired the
night before that he never took his clothes off. (Doc. 34-5
at 51). Mr. Henderson continued, “I don't wear
anything when I go to bed, but I still had my cop suit on
lol.” (Doc. 34-5 at 51). Ms. T hompson replied,
“lol . . . you are hilarious . . . I love it!”
(Doc. 34-2 at 30; Doc. 34-5 at 51). In response to a number
of Mr. Henderson's text messages, Ms. Thompson told Mr.
Henderson that she either missed seeing him or was looking
forward to seeing him at work. (Doc. 34-5 at 29, 44).
addition to the texts, Mr. Henderson and Ms. Thompson
verbally communicated. During some conversations, Mr.
Henderson referred to Ms. Thompson as “Miss 44”
or “My 44 girl.” (Doc. 34-2 at 25). Ms. Thompson
believes the reference to “44” was in relation to
her breast or bra size, although she d e n ie s giv in g Mr.
Henderson her breast or bra size, and she denies that
“44” is the correct size. (Doc. 34-2 at 25). Mr.
Henderson occasionally referred to Ms. Thompson as
“Hottie Nurse, ” but Ms. Thompson testified that
Mr. Henderson was joking on some occasions. (Doc. 34-2 at
26). Ms. Thompson never told Mr. Henderson that she was
offended by the reference to “Hottie Nurse” and
never told him to stop referring to her as “44.”
(Doc. 34-2 at 26).
Henderson also gave Ms. Thompson a few shoulder/back
massages. (Doc. 34-2 at 33). Ms. Thompson texted Mr.
Henderson on one occasion and said that the massage
“felt good.” (Doc. 34-2 at 28). In another text
message, Mr. Henderson suggested that he could give a better
massage if Ms. Thompson took o ff her shirt. (Doc. 34-5 at
131). During one of the massages, Mr. Henderson “pushed
back” Ms. Thompson's scrubs and “put his
hands onto [her] skin.” (Doc. 34-2 at 28). Ms. Thompson
“got up and felt very uncomfortable.” (Doc. 34-2
at 28). Ms. Thompson never complained to Mr. Henderson about
the massages, and she never asked him to stop. (Doc. 34-2 at
Thompson testified that Mr. Henderson's conduct caused
stress, but the stress did not prevent her from providing
patient care to inmates at the Trussville J a il. (Doc. 34-2
at 46-47). In fact, Ms. Thompson sought to work more hours at
the Trussville Jail. (Doc. 34-2 at 47). She asked QCHC to
approach the City of Trussville and ask if the contract could
be amended to allow for a full-time nurse position at the
jail. (Doc. 34-2 at 13-14, 17). After the City of Trussville
rejected the idea, Ms. Thompson transferred to another QCHC
location where she could work more hours. (Doc. 34-2 at 14).
her transfer, Ms. Thompson returned to the Trussville Jail
“a couple of times” to check on inmates there.
(Doc. 34-2 at 38). One day in June 2016, Stacie asked Ms.
Thompson whether she wanted to go check on the inmates at the
Trussville Jail. (Doc. 34-2 at 38). Ms. Thompson told Stacie
that she did not want to go back to the Trussville Jail
because Mr. Henderson made her “feel
uncomfortable” and “says sexual things.”
(Doc. 34-2 at 38). Ms. Thompson showed Stacie some of the
text messages from Mr. Henderson, and Stacie responded,
“Oh, gosh.” (Doc. 34-2 at 38). This was the first
time that Ms. Thompson reported Mr. ...