55 F.3d 1358 (8th Cir. 1995), 94-3337, Nettles v. American Tel. and Tel. Co.

Docket Nº:94-3337.
Citation:55 F.3d 1358
Party Name:Linda S. NETTLES, Appellant, v. AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY, a New York Corporation, Appellee.
Case Date:June 05, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 1358

55 F.3d 1358 (8th Cir. 1995)

Linda S. NETTLES, Appellant,

v.

AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY, a New York

Corporation, Appellee.

No. 94-3337.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

June 5, 1995

Submitted March 14, 1995.

Page 1359

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1360

Ronald K. Barker, Kansas City, MO, argued, for appellant.

John J. Yates, Kansas City, MO, argued (Janet L. Chleborad, on the brief), for appellee.

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Before WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge, FLOYD R. GIBSON, Senior Circuit Judge, and MURPHY, Circuit Judge.

WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.

Linda S. Nettles brought this action against her former employer, American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT & T), alleging claims of promissory estoppel and fraudulent misrepresentation. Applying the Missouri borrowing statute, the district court 1 found that Nettles' claims were untimely under the applicable statute of limitations and granted summary judgment in favor of AT & T. We affirm.

I.

Nettles was employed by AT & T in its Maitland, Florida, office from June 1987 to October 1988. In July 1988, AT & T instituted a Strategic Force Redeployment Career Opportunity Program (the "Program"). The stated purpose of the Program was to strengthen the company's sales staff by providing additional training to management level employees and redeploying them in various sales positions throughout the country.

On August 9, 1988, Nettles applied for a position under the Program and requested that she be relocated to one of three offices in California. According to Nettles' complaint, AT & T orally promised her that a position would be available in Oakland, California, for a person with her qualifications. AT & T made certain other representations to Nettles concerning salary and benefits, job duties, training, and performance evaluation, all of which she relied on in seeking relocation. On September 12, 1988, AT & T selected Nettles to participate in the Program and assigned her to its branch office in Oakland. The relocation became effective on October 2, 1988.

Nettles alleges that after relocating to Oakland, she discovered in October 1989 that the representations made by AT & T concerning the Program were false and that AT & T had redeployed far more people to California than there were jobs available. Thus, she claims, the position promised her by AT & T was not available, and she was reassigned to a pool of excess redeployed employees. Nettles alleges that as a result, she was forced to relocate in February 1990 to a lower paid and lower management level position in AT & T's office in Kansas City, Missouri.

Nettles claims that she continued to work in the Kansas City office until she was placed on disability leave in March 1992. She alleges that as a result of her experience with AT & T and the Program, she has suffered damages, including the costs associated with relocating from Florida to California and from California to Missouri. She further alleges that she has suffered, and continues to suffer, from depression and severe emotional distress, resulting in her total employment disability. Beginning in 1992, Nettles received treatment from a psychiatrist and a psychologist, both of whom diagnosed Nettles as being disabled due at least in part to the relocation. Finally, Nettles alleges that AT & T forced her to take disability retirement in March 1993 because her health prohibited her from returning to work on a full-time basis.

In August 1993, Nettles sued AT & T in Missouri state court, asserting claims of promissory estoppel and fraudulent misrepresentation. AT & T removed the case to federal court and promptly moved for summary judgment, claiming that Nettles' complaint was untimely under the applicable statute of limitations. The district court granted the motion. It held that under Mo.Rev.Stat. Sec. 516.190 (1986), Nettles' claims originated in California no later than October 1989, the date on which Nettles discovered the alleged fraud and AT & T's failure to comply with its representations concerning the redeployment. Applying California's three-year statute of limitations, the district court held that Nettles' suit was untimely. This appeal followed.

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II.

We review a grant of summary judgment de novo, applying the same standards employed by the district court. Sperry v. Bauermeister, Inc., 4 F.3d 596, 597 (8th Cir.1993); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). We will affirm the grant of summary judgment if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, shows that there is no dispute of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. McIlheran v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., 31 F.3d 709, 710 (8th Cir.1994). Because this is a diversity case, the district court's interpretation of state law is also subject to de novo...

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