United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
F. COX, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a discrimination case. Plaintiff John Roring
(“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendant
Ford Motor Company (“Defendant”) on October 7,
2015. Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint alleges
violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and
violations of Michigan's Workers Disability Compensation
Act. Plaintiff's claims are premised upon Defendant's
alleged failure to acknowledge Plaintiff's work-related
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment. (Doc. #20, Def.'s Br.). Defendant
argues, inter alia, that Plaintiff has failed to
establish a prima facie case of discrimination under the ADA
and that Plaintiff's WDCA claim fails because Plaintiff
has not been constructively discharged. Plaintiff has filed a
response in opposition to the motion (Doc. #22, Pl.'s
Resp.) and Defendant has filed a reply. (Doc. # 23,
Court heard oral argument as to Defendant's motion on
January 19, 2016. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
shall GRANT Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
October 7, 2015, Plaintiff John Roring filed this action
against Defendant Ford Motor Company. In his First Amended
Complaint,  Plaintiff asserts the following claims:
Count I -“Americans with Disabilities Act, ” 42
U.S.C. § 12117 (“ADA”); and Count II -
“Worker's Compensation Discrimination, ”
M.C.L. 418.301(13) (“WDCA”). As to Count I,
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated the ADA by refusing
to accommodate Plaintiff's disability. As to Count II,
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated Michigan's WDCA
by constructively discharging him in retaliation for
asserting his rights under the Act. Plaintiff's complaint
seeks monetary relief in an amount exceeding $75, 000.
September 8, 2016, Defendant filed the instant Motion for
Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 20, Def.'s Br.). Plaintiff
filed a response in opposition to the motion on September 28,
2016. (Doc. # 22, Pl.'s Resp.). This Court's Practice
Guidelines, which are expressly included in the Scheduling
Order issued in this case, provide, consistent with
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) and (e), that:
a. The moving party's papers shall include a separate
document entitled Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute.
The statement shall list in separately numbered paragraphs
concise statements of each undisputed material fact,
supported by appropriate citations to the record. . .
b. In response, the opposing party shall file a separate
document entitled Counter-Statement of Disputed Facts. The
counter-statement shall list in separately numbered
paragraphs following the order or the movant's statement,
whether each of the facts asserted by the moving party is
admitted or denied and shall also be supported by appropriate
citations to the record. The Counter- Statement shall also
include, in a separate section, a list of each issue of
material fact as to which it is contended there is a genuine
issue for trial.
c. All material facts as set forth in the Statement of
Material Facts Not in Dispute shall be deemed admitted unless
controverted in the Counter-Statement of Disputed Facts.
(Doc. # 9, at 2-3).
connection with Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment,
Defendant filed a Statement of Material Facts Not In Dispute.
(Def.'s Br. at PgID 207-13, Def.'s Stmt.). In
response to that submission, Plaintiff's response brief
included a “counsterstatement of facts.”
Plaintiff's counter-statement of facts failed to comply
with this Court's Practice Guidelines. The Court
subsequently ordered Plaintiff to file a counter-statement of
disputed facts that complied with this Court's Practice
Guidelines, which Plaintiff did on December 28, 2016. (Doc. #
25, Pl.'s Stmt.).
facts relevant to the instant motion are straight forward and
largely undisputed. The facts, viewed in a light most
favorable to Plaintiff, are as follows. Plaintiff became a
full-time employee at Defendant Ford Motor Company on May 5,
1997 and remains employed today. (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶
1; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 1). Plaintiff was originally
hired as a prototype material expediter at a Ford warehouse
in Romulus, Michigan. (Def.'s Ex. 1, Pl.'s Dep. at
35). In 1998, Plaintiff's classification changed to
“trim specialist” and he was transferred to
Defendant's Pilot Plant, located in Allen Park, Michigan.
(Id. at 36-37). Plaintiff's duties included
installing wired sensors into prototype vehicles, which
involved pulling out seats, panels and other parts of a
vehicle's trim. (Id. at 39-40).
December 2002, Plaintiff injured his thumb in a work-place
parking lot. (Id. at 57-59). Plaintiff underwent
surgery as a result of the injuries to his thumb on January
3, 2003. (Id. at 58-59). Dr. Shreepak Naik,
Plaintiff's hand surgeon, subsequently gave Plaintiff
medical restrictions in early 2003. (Id.).
Plaintiff's injury, Defendant created a new job for him,
which consisted of making reparations to the wiring used in
prototype vehicles. (Id. at 41-42). Plaintiff was
able to perform the tasks associated with this job because it
only required the use of one hand. (Id.).
8, 2011, Defendant requested an independent medical
evaluation (“IME”) to determine whether Plaintiff
was able to work and whether he still required restrictions.
(Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 4; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 4).
Dr. Ronald Rusko performed Plaintiff's IME, stating that
Plaintiff should “actively use his hand in a normal
manner, ” and concluded that Plaintiff was
“capable of returning to his regular job without
restrictions.” (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 6; Pl.'s
Stmt. at ¶ 6). Plaintiff received a copy of the IME
report from Defendant's medical staff. (Id.).
remained assigned to the wiring job even after the July 2011
IME. (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 9; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶
9). Plaintiff's supervisor, Mark Textor, understood that
Plaintiff no longer had working restrictions, but kept him
assigned to wiring because there was an operational need for
the work and because Plaintiff had experience doing it.
(Id.). Plaintiff similarly testified that Defendant
could have assigned Plaintiff this job regardless of whether
or not he had medical restrictions. (Pl.'s Dep. at 185).
medical staff updated Plaintiff's medical restrictions in
its Occupational Health and Safety Information Management
System (“OHSIM”) to reflect the 2011 IME results.
(Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 7; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 7).
According to OHSIM, Plaintiff's restrictions ended as of
July 2011. (Id.). Plaintiff was advised by Ford and
the union that IMEs were binding pursuant the terms of the
Ford-UAW collective bargaining agreement. (Def.'s Stmt.
at ¶ 5; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 5). Plaintiff
disagreed with the July 2011 IME results, but did not file a
grievance or pursue other remedies under the collective
bargaining agreement. (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 8;
Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 8).
the July 2011 IME, Plaintiff would occasionally present notes
from Dr. Naik (Plaintiff's hand surgeon) to medical
personnel asserting Plaintiffs previous restrictions.
(Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 10; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶
10). Rochelle Everett, the Pilot Plant's registered
nurse, received these notes from Plaintiff. (Id.).
When Plaintiff would visit, he confirmed that he had not
suffered any new injury since the July 2011 IME.
(Id.). As such, Everett would inform Plaintiff that
Dr. Naik's restrictions were invalid per the binding 2011
IME and Plaintiff would be sent back to work without
February 2015, because the plant was “in a pinch”
due to upcoming deadlines, Plaintiff was informed that he
would need to assist in performing duties other than wiring.
(Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 11; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶
11). Plaintiff refused, citing his medical restrictions.
(Id.). Plaintiff was told to report to the medical
department. (Id.). Everett confirmed that, pursuant
to the binding 2011 IME, Plaintiff had no restrictions.
(Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 12; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶
12). Everett also informed Plaintiff that Dr. Naik's
restrictions, which Plaintiff relied upon, expired in
December 2014. (Id.). Plaintiff was sent back to
work without restrictions.
subsequently submitted notes to Everett from family
physician, Michelle Bauer. Dr. Bauer's restrictions were
identical to Dr. Naik's restrictions. (Id.).
Everett informed Plaintiff that based on the 2011 IME, the
fact that nothing had changed in the workplace and the fact
that Plaintiff had not suffered a new injury, Plaintiff did
not require restrictions for his old injury. (Id.).
Plaintiff also spoke to Labor Relations Associate Derek
Gismondi, who similarly informed Plaintiff that he had no
restrictions pursuant to the 2011 IME. (Def.'s Stmt. at
¶ 13; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 13).
subsequently contacted Dr. Daniel R. Kelderhouse,
Defendant's Executive Physician, to confirm that his
interpretation of the July 2011 IME was correct,
i.e., that third-party evaluations were binding.
(Def.'s Ex. 5, Kelderhouse Decl. at ¶ 3).
Kelderhouse confirmed that the July 2011 IME was binding
despite the restrictions of Plaintiff's family physician.
(Id. at ¶ 4). Kelderhouse further advised that
Plaintiff should still report to Gate 4 Medical at the Rouge
February 20, 2015, Everett asked Plaintiff to report to a
Gate 4 Medical doctor. (Pl.'s Dep. at 92-92). Plaintiff
refused and was subsequently disciplined for failing to
follow instructions. (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 14;
Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 14).
February 23, 2015, Plaintiff was instructed to assist in
building up instrumentality trays. Plaintiff refused, citing
Dr. Bauer's restrictions. Roring was informed that he had
no restrictions pursuant to the July 2011 IME. When Plaintiff
refused a second time, he was sent home for the ...