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Ruiz v. Wayne State University

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

April 12, 2017

MARC ANTHONY RUIZ, Plaintiff,
v.
WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY and LEE WILKINS, JOHN VANDER WEG, MATTHEW SEEGER, and MARGARET E. WINTERS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ORDER WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY TO RULE ON PLAINTIFF'S TENURE (Doc. 26) AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STAY PROCEEDINGS (Doc. 28) [1] AND STAYING PROCEEDINGS FOR NINETY (90) DAYS

          AVERN COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         This is an employment case. Plaintiff is a professor at Wayne State University. Defendants are Wayne State University and several of its officials. The Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 20) makes the following claims:

Count I - violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Count II - violations of the Family Medical Leave Act
Count III - violations of Michigan's Persons with Disabilities Act
Count IV - violations of Michigan's Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act Broadly stated, plaintiff claims that defendants discriminated and retaliated against him regarding his cancer diagnosis and need for treatment in 2015.

         Before the Court is plaintiff's Motion to Order Wayne State University to Rule on Plaintiff's Tenure (Doc. 26)[2] and defendants' Motion to Stay Proceedings. (Doc. 33). For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's motion is DENIED, defendants' motion is GRANTED, and proceedings will be stayed for ninety (90) days with conditions as described below.

         II. Background

         In order to understand the present motions, some background is in order. In 2009, plaintiff was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication in the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University. In May of 2014, plaintiff applied for tenure. A few months after he applied, and before a ruling on his application, plaintiff was diagnosed with cancer. His condition required him to take medical leave.

         On April 17, 2015, plaintiff was informed that his application for tenure was denied.

         Plaintiff filed two charges with the EEOC, both essentially claiming FMLA retaliation and disability discrimination. The EEOC found in favor of plaintiff on both charges.

         In January 2016, plaintiff was placed on unpaid leave of absence.

         Meanwhile, plaintiff's union grieved the denial of his application for tenure. On May 3, 2016, the arbitrator issued a decision referring the matter back to Wayne State University's Tenure and Promotion Committee (Committee) for reconsideration. According to defendants, the process is underway. At the time of briefing on the motions, defendants said that the Committee and Provost met on March 20 and anticipate submitting their recommendations to the President of Wayne State University “within a matter of weeks.” Once the President receives the recommendations, he has up to six months to make a final determination. In other words, the President must decide within ...


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