United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Elizabeth A. Stafford U.S. Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge.
Veleta Smith filed her Complaint  against Defendant
Senderra RX Partners on January 14, 2016. Senderra filed a
Motion for Summary Judgment  on October 21, 2016. The
parties timely briefed the motion [31, 34] and the Court held
a hearing on March 2, 2017. At the conclusion of the hearing,
the Court granted Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
. This Opinion and Order supplements the Court's
following reasons, and for the reasons stated on the record,
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment  is GRANTED.
Smith initially did very well at Senderra RX Partners: she
was hired as a Customer Service Representative in May 2013
and less than a year later, she was promoted to Customer
Service Team Lead. In 2015, however, the quality of
Smith's performance deteriorated, and she violated
Senderra's attendance policy on multiple occasions. In
August 2015, Smith's supervisors attempted to help her
get back on track by placing her on a Performance Improvement
Plan. They also offered Smith information about the Family
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) after learning that
her 10-year-old daughter Ashley suffered from bladder issues.
Senderra's efforts notwithstanding, Smith's
transgressions continued; notably, between September 3, 2015
and September 9, 2015, Smith failed to show up for work
without notifying anyone of her absence. On September 9,
2015, Senderra sent Smith a letter acknowledging receipt of,
and accepting, her resignation. Smith sued Senderra, alleging
that Senderra interfered with her FMLA rights and retaliated
evaluating a motion for summary judgment, the Court must
determine whether “the pleadings, depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
Defendant, as the moving party, has the burden of
establishing that there are no genuine issues of material
fact, which may be accomplished by demonstrating that the
nonmoving party lacks evidence to support an essential
element of its case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A genuine issue for trial exists if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
the evidence and drawing all reasonable inferences in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the Court finds
that there is nothing from which a jury could infer that
Senderra interfered with or retaliated against Plaintiff.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
FMLA interference claim fails because she cannot show that
she was entitled to leave under the FMLA; that she gave
Senderra notice of her intention to take leave; and that
Senderra denied her FMLA benefits to which she was entitled.
Donald v. Sybra, Inc., 667 F.3d 757, 761 (6th Cir.
Plaintiff was not entitled to FMLA-leave, and therefore,
Senderra did not wrongfully deny her anything to which she
correctly points out that Plaintiff was not entitled to leave
under the FMLA because, as the evidence reveals, it was not
medically necessary for Plaintiff to stay home with her
daughter. 29 U.S.C. § 2612(b)(1); see also Lane v.
PontiacOsteopathic Hospital, No. 09-12634,
2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 610003, at *10 (E.D. Mich. June 1,
2010) (the statute allows for an employee to take FMLA leave
“only . . . when [she] is ‘needed to care'
for a family member.”). The FMLA Medical Certification
from Ashley's doctor specified that it was appropriate
for Plaintiff to take leave from work when accompanying her
daughter to a medical appointment. However, Ashley did not
have any doctor's appointments after August 13 - the date
on which Defendant approved Plaintiff's FMLA leave.
Therefore, her unexcused absences from work on August 26 and
from September 3-9 were not medically necessary. There was
simply no FMLA-qualifying reason for Plaintiff to be absent
from work on those dates. Additionally, although there are
certain circumstances in which an employee can take FMLA
leave to provide psychological comfort and reassurance to a
sick child, see 29 C.F.R. § 825.124(a),
Plaintiff only ever told Defendant that she needed to stay
home because she was uncomfortable ...