United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Michael A. Faraone, Plaintiff,
Patrick J. Heath, Julie L. Goldman, Daphne M. Johnson, and Denise R. Allsberry, in their individual capacities, Defendants.
Steven Whalen Mag. Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
E. LEVY United States District Judge.
the Court is plaintiff Michael A. Faraone's motion for
reconsideration of the order granting defendants' motion
for summary judgment. (Dkt. 42.)
reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motion is denied.
is an attorney who previously served as an independent
contractor for the Parole Violation Unit of the Michigan
Department of Corrections (“MDOC”). In this
position, he represented parolees charged with parole
violations during hearings before administrative law
examiners (“ALEs”). He received compensation of
$45 per hour for up to six hours of work for each case. (Dkt.
20 at 4.)
appeared at hearings at which Parole Violation Specialist
Cynthia VanLake was also present. Plaintiff believed Ms.
VanLake was inefficient and wasting public time and money by,
among other things, repeatedly adjourning cases. As plaintiff
said during his deposition, “[T]he real problem we had
- I'm almost willing to say the only problem I had with
her was the unpreparedness.” (Dkt. 27-2 at 5 (Pl's.
Dep.)). And because plaintiff was compensated for only six
hours per case, the adjournments allegedly caused him to lose
money. Plaintiff's wife wrote to the head of the Parole
Violation Unit about the losses he was incurring, stating
that Ms. VanLake's conduct made “things more
difficult and, ultimately extremely costly” for
plaintiff, eventually causing him to lose clients and
“[write] off thousands upon thousands of
dollars.” (Dkt. 30-8 at 1.)
complained about Ms. VanLake's conduct to defendant
Patrick J. Heath, who discussed the matter with the other
defendants. Defendants decided to inform plaintiff that his
services would no longer be required.
then filed this complaint against defendants Patrick J.
Heath, Julie L. Goldman, Daphne M. Johnson, and Denise R.
Allsberry. Plaintiff claimed he was terminated in retaliation
for threatening to “inform the public that their
resources were being wasted” by Ms. VanLake's
conduct. (Dkt. 1 at 5.) Specifically, he alleges that he
“engaged in protected activity under the First
Amendment by speaking as a citizen on a matter of public
concern, i.e. government waste by an MDOC employee, ”
and his termination “violated well-established First
Amendment rights by censoring speech.” (Id. at
January 18, 2017, the Court held a hearing on defendants'
motion for summary judgment, and granted the motion.
(See Dkt. 40.) Plaintiff then filed this motion for
reconsideration, arguing that he had brought a claim for
First Amendment retaliation with respect to the petition
clause, not just the speech clause, and the Court erred in
failing to consider it. (Dkt. 42 at 3.)
motion for reconsideration should be granted “if the
movant demonstrates a palpable defect by which the court and
the parties have been misled and that a different disposition
of the case must result from a correction thereof.”
In re Greektown Holdings, LLC, 728 F.3d 567, 573-74
(6th Cir. 2013). “A palpable defect is one that is
‘obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest, or
plain.'” Majchrzak v. Cty. of Wayne, 838
F.Supp.2d 586, 596 (E.D. Mich. 2011).
claims the decision to grant defendants' motion for
summary judgment was erroneous because the Court concluded
plaintiff did not bring a First Amendment retaliation claim
for exercising his right to petition the government.
Plaintiff argues the Court should have found plaintiff
pleaded the petition clause component of the retaliation
claim based on the analysis in E ...