Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hubbell v. Fedex Smartpost Inc.

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

May 25, 2017

SHERYL HUBBELL, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDEX SMARTPOST, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING MOTIONS IN LIMINE (DOC. 42, 43, 44, 45).

          GEORGE CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Sheryl Hubbell sued her former employer, FedEx Smartpost, Inc., alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA). The parties filed multiple motions in limine. (Doc. 42, 43, 44, 55). For the reasons stated below, the motions are DENIED.

         I. Analysis

         A. Defendant's Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence or Argument Regarding Dismissed Claims and Other Irrelevant and Unduly Prejudicial Evidence (Doc. 42)

         Defendant seeks to prohibit plaintiff from introducing evidence or referring to the allegations underlying her dismissed hostile work environment claim. Defendant argues that referring to wrongdoing that does not rise to the level of an adverse employment action would severely prejudice defendant, waste time, and confuse the jury.

         Plaintiff responds that she does not intend to introduce evidence that supports only the dismissed hostile work environment claim. But, plaintiff notes that she may introduce evidence that, while relevant to the dismissed claim, also supports the discrimination and retaliation claims. Plaintiff asserts that this evidence is admissible as background evidence under Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101 (2002) and under Fed.R.Evid. 404(b) and 406.

         While Plaintiff may not assert that she experienced a hostile work environment, she may introduce evidence of alleged conduct that is relevant to the question of whether she suffered an adverse employment action. Johnson v. Watkins, No. 3:07CV621 DPJ-JCS, 2010 WL 2671993, at *5 (S.D.Miss. June 30, 2010). “In other words, she may offer evidence of acts taken against her that she contends ‘might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making ... a charge of discrimination.'” Id. (quoting Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 68 (2006)). Defendant's motion, therefore, is DENIED. But, the Court cautions plaintiff that the alleged wrongful conduct may not be relevant. As in Johnson, for example, conduct occurring before the date that plaintiff engaged in protected activity is not relevant to retaliation claims. Id.

         The Court will not rule on the admissibility of this evidence under Fed.R.Evid. 403 because it is not clear exactly what evidence plaintiff will offer and whether it is reasonably related to the surviving claims. Defendant may raise its Rule 403 objection at trial.

         B. Defendant's Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence or Argument Regarding a 2010 Failure to Promote Claim and a January 2013 Human Resources Complaint About a Medical Privacy Violation (Doc. 43)

         Defendant argues that plaintiff's 2010 failure to promote allegations are improper because (1) she never reported to the EEOC and, as such, failed to exhaust her administrative remedies, and (2) it is untimely under the ELCRA's three year statute of limitations. Based on plaintiff's response, it appears she merely intends to use the incident as background evidence only. As such, defendant's arguments fail. The EEOC filing requirement does not prohibit plaintiff from using this prior act as background evidence in support of a timely claim. Morgan, 536 U.S. at 113. Further, even if this event is untimely under the ELCRA, allegations of events occurring before the relevant statutory period can be used as background evidence. See Campbell v. Human Servs. Dep't, 780 N.W.2d 586, 590-92 (2009).

         Defendant also argues that plaintiff's January 2013 complaint that Todd Treman violated her medical privacy should be excluded because (1) it is not a protected activity, and (2) it fails the Best Evidence Rule. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a), a protected activity must relate to an employer's alleged activity that is unlawful under Title VII. While a complaint of general mistreatment, like sharing private health information, may not constitute a protected activity, here plaintiff is not complaining of general mistreatment alone. Instead, plaintiff argues that this incident relates to defendant's alleged Title VII violations because her medical information was shared due to her gender and the fact that she filed discrimination complaints. Furthermore, plaintiff states that the Best Evidence Rule does not prohibit her testimony about this complaint because it arises out of oral discussion and is not evidenced by any emails or written documents. The Court, therefore, finds that defendant has not met their burden to bar this evidence on the grounds that the acts at issue are not protected activity and are prohibited by the Best Evidence Rule. As such, defendant's motion in limine is DENIED.

         C. Defendant's Motion in Limine to Exclude Improper Evidence Regarding Front Pay Damages (Doc. 44)

         Defendant asserts that aspects of plaintiff's testimony to prove front pay damages should be ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.