United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER CONVERTING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
INTO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND ESTABLISHING
SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEFING SCHEDULE
L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge.
Maureen Collver initiated the above-captioned matter by
filing her complaint against Defendant Bay Regional Medical
Center, d/b/a/ McLaren Bay Region (“BRMC”), on
June 30, 2016 in Bay County Circuit Court. Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant terminated her employment after she received a
false positive on a drug test. Plaintiff further alleges that
Defendant's purported reason for terminating her
employment was pretextual, and that Defendant's true
reason for terminating her employment was her age. She
therefore asserts the following four counts: (1) Age
discrimination in violation of the Elliott-Larsen Civil
Rights Act (“ELCRA”), M.C.L. 37.201; (2) Breach
of a Last Chance Agreement; (3) Breach of an oral contract;
and (4) Promissory Estoppel.
August 15, 2016 Defendant removed the action to this Court,
arguing that this Court has federal subject-matter
jurisdiction because Plaintiff's breach of contract and
promissory estoppel claims are completely preempted by
Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act
(“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). See
ECF No. 1. Defendant filed an answer to Plaintiff's
complaint on August 22, 2016. See ECF No. 2. Then,
on October 25, 2016 Defendant filed a motion for judgment on
the pleadings, arguing that Counts II, III, and IV of
Plaintiff's complaint are wholly preempted by the LMRA
and that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim under the
LMRA. See ECF No. 6. For the reasons stated below,
Defendant's motion will be converted into a motion for
summary judgment, and a supplemental briefing schedule will
Maureen Collver, born on February 2, 1961, is a resident of
Bay County, Michigan. See Compl. ¶¶ 1, 4,
ECF No. 1. Defendant BRMC is a domestic nonprofit corporation
conducting business in Bay County, Michigan. Compl. ¶ 2.
Defendant (or its predecessor) hired Plaintiff Collver as a
registered nurse on or around January 12, 1987, and continued
to employ Plaintiff over a 28 year period. Compl.
alleges that in June of 2012 her estranged husband filed a
false report with the Bay City Police Department that
Plaintiff was stealing Vicodin from Defendant and hiding the
medication in her car. Compl. ¶ 7. The Bay City Police
Department contacted Defendant's Human Resources
Department regarding the allegations, and Plaintiff
voluntarily consented to a search of her car, which did not
reveal any stolen Vicodin. Compl. ¶¶ 8-9. Defendant
also required Plaintiff to submit to a mandatory drug
screening, which returned negative. Compl. ¶ 10.
one year later, in May of 2013, Defendant accused Plaintiff
of failing to administer Vicodin to two patients in a six
month period of time. Compl. ¶ 12. As a consequence
Defendant, through Greg Purtell, required Plaintiff to enroll
in the State's Health Professional Recovery Program
(“HPRP”) or face termination. Compl. ¶ 13.
Plaintiff was also required to sign a Last Chance Agreement.
Compl. ¶ 14.
Last Chance Agreement is attached to Plaintiff's
complaint as Exhibit A. See Last Chance Agreement,
ECF No. 1. It is an agreement between Plaintiff, Defendant,
and Plaintiff's Union, the “Professional Registered
Nurses Staff Council of McLaren Bay Region, Represented by
Service Employees International Union Healthcare of
Michigan” (the “Union”). The agreement was
to be effective three years from the date of its execution.
In relevant part, the Last Chance Agreement provides as
2. The Employer, Union and the Employee agree that if the
employee violates the terms of this Last Chance Agreement,
the terms of any policy, work rule, and/or any terms of the
collective bargaining agreement, or fails to comply with all
requirements and conditions outlined in the [HPRP] Recovery
Monitoring Agreement, during the three (3) years,
Employee's employment shall terminate and such
termination shall be considered to be for just cause.
7. Employer, at its expense, may require Employee to undergo
an alcohol and/or drug screen analysis on occasions randomly
selected by Employer. Any refusal by Employee to submit to
any such alcohol and/or drug screen analysis shall be deemed
a voluntary quit and the voluntary quit shall be effective
immediately upon such refusal. In the event that any such
alcohol and/or drug screen analysis results in a confirmed
positive reading, Employee shall be deemed to have
voluntarily quit, and such voluntary quit shall be effective
immediately upon such positive reading.
9. The Employer, the Union and the Employee shall understand
and intend this document to constitute a last chance and
agree that the Employee may be terminated under the terms of
this Agreement without regard to progressive discipline, and
regardless of the type, nature, or severity of such incident.
Any termination of employment under this Agreement shall
occur only after the incident in question is fully
investigated by the Employer and a violation is found. The
Employee will be entitled to ...