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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Dec 13, 2012

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Michael C. Skouteris and Donnie Allen Snow, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellant Karim Skaan

Attorneys 2:

John W. Campbell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellee Federal Express Corporation

Judge(s): KIRBY

This appeal involves a claim of retaliatory discharge. The plaintiff was employed by the defendant shipping company, working in a job position that required physical labor. The plaintiff seriously injured his back in the course of his employment. As a result, he underwent surgery and took an extended leave of absence. After his leave of absence, the plaintiff returned to his former position with no restrictions. A month later, he suffered another back injury that necessitated another leave of absence. Pursuant to its medical leave policy, the defendant company terminated the plaintiff’s employment. Eight months after his employment was terminated, the plaintiff filed this lawsuit, alleging that he was discharged in retaliation for his workers’ compensation claim. The plaintiff’s employment contract included a contractual six-month limitations period. The defendant company filed a motion for summary judgment based on the six-month contractual limitations period, and also asserting that it was entitled to judgment on the merits based on the undisputed facts. The trial court declined to grant the company’s motion for summary judgment based on the six-month limitation period, but it granted summary judgment in favor of the company on the merits. The plaintiff now appeals. We reverse in part but affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment on a different basis than that upon which the trial court relied, holding that the plaintiff employee’s lawsuit is time-barred under the contractual limitations period in the plaintiff’s employment contract.