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Pribyl v. Ford Motor Co.

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

July 10, 2015

TORI PRIBYL, Plaintiff,
v.
FORD MOTOR CO., et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS TO DISMISS AND/OR FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Dkts. 20, 21), and DISMISSING THE AMENDED COMPLAINT (Dkt. 18) WITH PREJUDICE

MARK A. GOLDSMITH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

I. INTRODUCTION

This is an employment and union grievance action. Before the Court are Defendants Ford Motor Company’s and Automotive Components Holdings, LLC’s motion to dismiss and/or for summary judgment (Dkt. 20), and Defendant UAW Local 892’s motion to dismiss and/or for summary judgment (Dkt. 21). Defendants argue that dismissal of Plaintiff Tori Pribyl’s amended complaint is appropriate for a variety of reasons, including insufficient pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8; the statute of limitations; failure to file an EEOC charge for her Title VII claim; and the absence of an employment relationship. Plaintiff filed a response (Dkt. 26), and Defendants filed replies (Dkts. 27, 28). The Court heard oral argument on May 7, 2015, and took the motions under advisement. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants Defendants’ motions and dismisses Plaintiff’s amended complaint with prejudice.

II. BACKGROUND

In 2012, Plaintiff was an employee of Automotive Components Holdings. Am. Compl. ¶ 1 (Dkt. 18). According to Plaintiff, she left work early on June 11, 2012, because a co-worker had been harassing her about abruptly ending a relationship with him. Id. ¶ 3. Plaintiff then sought medical treatment for mental anguish. Id. ¶¶ 4-8. Plaintiff claims that she ultimately obtained a doctor’s recommendation not to return to work until July 15, 2012. Id. ¶¶ 7-8.

On July 16, 2012, Plaintiff was suspended from work pending an investigation into claims that she had exposed herself to a fellow employee on June 11, 2012 before leaving work early. Id. ¶ 9. Plaintiff denies the allegation that she exposed herself. Id. ¶ 10.

Plaintiff was subsequently discharged on August 20, 2012. Id. ¶ 13. A disciplinary report provides the following explanation for the termination:

Ms[.] Pribyl was involved in an incident on 6-10-12. The company investigation found that Ms[.] Pribyl exposed herself [on] the plant floor [to] several other employees. Ms[.] Pribyl also exhibited lude [sic] behavior, before lea[v]ing the plant unauthorized. This behavior cannot be tolerated. Discharged 8-20-12.

See id.; see also Disciplinary Action Report (Dkt. 26, page 12 of 28 (cm/ecf page)).

Plaintiff was a member of the UAW. Am. Compl. ¶ 14. The Union filed a grievance on her behalf, which went through three stages of review. See Jodey Dunn Aff. ¶ 8 (Dkt. 21-2). At the fourth stage, Jodey Dunn - a Union representative - determined that Plaintiff would not be successful before an umpire at arbitration. This decision was purportedly based on information gathered from Plaintiff, her employer, and other co-workers. Id. ¶¶ 9-12. Accordingly, Dunn withdrew the grievance, and notified Plaintiff - via letter - of this decision on August 20, 2013. Id. ¶¶ 12-13.

Plaintiff sent a handwritten letter to the Union President, Bob King. See Letter (Dkt. 26, pages 14-15 of 28 (cm/ecf pages)). Plaintiff’s counsel also sent letters to Bob King. In March 2014, Ava Barbour, Associate General Counsel for the Union, responded to Plaintiff’s counsel’s letters, explaining why any litigation would be meritless. Union Letter (Dkt. 26, pages 19-20 of 28 (cm/ecf pages)).

Plaintiff alleges that although the UAW purportedly undertook to get her job back through its grievance procedures, she “was never advised of what must be considered vital information so as to assist with the process, specifically what was the content of the grievance filed with the company, who were the witnesses to her alleged violation and what specifically was she accused of having exposed in the allegation that she exposed herself.” Am. Compl. ¶ 15.

Plaintiff claims that she was “wrongfully discharged as she is not guilt[y] of the allegations alleged, ” and that her “discharge was therefore in violation of her collective bargaining contract[.]” Id. ¶¶ 18-19. Plaintiff also claims that the Union “failed to properly represent her in that even if she had exposed herself[, ] the allegation would not be sufficient a grievance that she shouldn’t would [sic] have been able to get her job back had the union stood up for her.” Id. ¶ 20. Plaintiff asserts that “the company is guilty of wrongfully discharging the plaintiff and union [sic] is guilt [sic] of malfeasance and misfeasance in its representation of the plaintiff, pursuant [to] 28 U.S.C. Sce. [sic] 1331, sec. 301 of the Labor Management Relations. [sic] Act, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 185.” Id. ¶ 21. Plaintiff also claims that Defendants acted “against Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Id. ¶ 22. Plaintiff seeks “reinstatement, back pay and 10, 000, 000.00 in damages jointly and severally” - although she fails to provide any explanation or basis for her demand for $10 million.

III. LEGAL STANDARDS

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a court to dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” In evaluating a motion brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), “[c]ourts must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiff, accept all well-pled factual allegations as true, and determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief.” Albrecht v. Treon, 617 F.3d 890, 893 (6th Cir. 2010) (internal brackets, quotation marks, and citations omitted). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must contain specific factual allegations, and not just legal conclusions, in support of each claim. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-679 ...


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