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Gjokaj v. United States Steel Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 22, 2015

NUA GJOKAJ, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL

LINDA V. PARKER, District Judge.

On October 28, 2014, Plaintiff Nua Gjokaj ("Gjokaj") initiated this lawsuit against his former employer, United States Steel Corporation ("USS"), alleging disability discrimination in violation of federal and Michigan law, interference with his rights and denial of leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), and retaliation in violation of the Michigan Worker's Disability Compensation Act ("WDCA"). Presently before the Court is Gjokaj's motion to compel discovery, filed April 13, 2015. The motion has been fully briefed. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants in part and denies in part Gjokaj's motion.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

Gjokaj began his employment with USS in June 2011. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 7.) On November 29, 2011, Gjokaj was injured at work and suffered herniated disks at L3-L4 and L4-L5. ( Id. ¶ 9.) He was given a lifting restriction for the remainder of his employment with USS. ( Id. ¶ 10.)

On July 24, 2013, Gjokaj suffered an injury to his finger while working at USS's Ecorse, Michigan facility, and he asked that EMS be called. ( Id. ¶¶ 15, 16, 22.) Gjokaj was treated at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, where he was diagnosed with "pain, partial amputation of third digit" and "comminuted fracture of third distal phalanx tuft, foreign body in soft tissue." ( Id. ¶ 20.) Gjokaj was prescribed medications and advised to follow up with an orthopedic surgeon. ( Id. ¶ 21.)

After being released from the hospital, Gjokaj was brought back to the Ecorse facility, at which time USS demanded that he speak to someone in the medical department. ( Id. ¶ 23.) A USS nurse set up an appointment for Gjokaj to return to the plant to see a doctor at 7:00 a.m. the next morning which, by then, was only ten hours away. ( Id. ¶ 24.) Gjokaj asked that he be excused from returning to the plant the next day and that he be permitted to see a doctor closer to his home, which was an hour drive from the plant. ( Id. ¶¶ 25, 26.) USS demanded that Gjokaj see its designated doctor. ( Id. ¶ 27.) Gjokaj claims that, but for the interference of USS, he could have obtained a certification from his doctor for a leave of absence qualifying under the FMLA.

According to the Complaint, on July 25, 2013, without ever examining Gjokaj, USS's plant medical doctor determined that Gjokaj was cleared to "do onehanded or sedentary work at the training center." ( Id. ¶ 30.) The plant doctor also indicated that Gjokaj refused to be treated at the facility's clinic. ( Id. ¶ 31.) On July 26, 2013, the USS Plant Medical nurse reported that the bone in Gjokaj's finger was not amputated and that, contrary to doctors' notes, he "was completely capable of doing one-handed work at any time post injury[, ] just caught the tip of one finger in a cylinder." ( Id. ¶ 38.)

On July 26, 2013, Gjokaj was written up for allegedly "misrepresenting his physical condition." ( Id. ¶ 40.) His employment was terminated on the same date. ( Id. ¶ 41.) This lawsuit followed.

In January 2015, Gjokaj served USS with a set of Interrogatories. In Interrogatory No. 8, Gjokaj asks USS to "[l]ist every complaint of discrimination (including a failure to accommodate a disability) by USS employees since 2008[.]" (ECF No. 13, Ex. A.) USS is asked in the interrogatory to provide the following information with respect to any complaint:

a. Name;
b. Last known contact information;
c. Whether the employee remains employed;
d. Date or approximate date of complaint;
e. The entity to which the complaint was made, e.g. USS, EEOC, MDCR, court, arbitrator, ...

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