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.

Martin v. Tall Brown Dog, LLC

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

June 23, 2017

Jennifer Martin, Plaintiff,
v.
Tall Brown Dog, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STRIKE JURY DEMAND

          Sean F. Cox United States District Judge

         Plaintiff filed this action against her former employer and two of its managers, asserting pregnancy discrimination claims under Title VII and Michigan's Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act (“ELCRA”). The matter is currently before the Court on “Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment And, Alternatively, to Strike Jury Demand.” The parties have fully briefed the issues and the Court heard oral argument on June 15, 2017. For the reasons set forth below, the Court shall: 1) DENY Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment; and 2) GRANT Defendant's unopposed request to strike Plaintiff's jury demand.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Jennifer Martin (“Martin”) filed this action on May 27, 2016, and filed an Amended Complaint on June 1, 2016. Her Amended Complaint asserts claims against three defendants: 1) Tall Brown Dog, LLC (“Tall Brown Dog” or “the Company”), Martin's previous employer; 2) Brian Paavola (“Paavola”); and 3) Mark Silverstein (“Silverstein”). Her Amended Complaint asserts the following claims:

         • “Count I - Violation of Title VII” wherein Martin alleges that Defendants discriminated against her based on her sex and the fact that she was pregnant and improperly terminated her from her position as a Business Development Lead, in violation of Title VII.

         • “Count II - Violation of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act” wherein Martin alleges that Defendants discriminated against her based on her sex and the fact that she was pregnant, and terminated her from her position as a Business Development Lead, in violation of Section 202 of the ELCRA.

         Martin's Amended Complaint includes a jury demand. (D.E. No. 3 at Pg ID 14).

         Following the close of discovery, Defendants filed a “Motion for Summary Judgment And, Alternatively, To Strike Jury.” (D.E. No. 21).

         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.

(D.E. No. 14 at 2-3).

         In compliance with this Court's guidelines, in support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants filed a “Statement of Material Facts Not In Dispute” (D.E. No. 21 at Pg ID 77-79). (“Defs.' Stmt.”). In response to that submission, Martin filed a “Counter-Statement of Disputed Facts” (D.E. No. 25 at Pg ID 320-23) (“Pl.'s Stmt.”).

         The following material facts are gleaned from the evidence submitted by the parties, viewed in the light most favorable to Martin, the non-moving party.

         Tall Brown Dog sells temporary labor to a variety of companies. Martin was employed by the Company from late May of 2015 until October 5, 2015. (Defs.' Stmt. & Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 1). Paavola is the CEO of the Company.

         Martin reported to Silverstein, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing. (Martin Dep. at 44).

         Martin testified that in addition to sales, her position was also considered a “leadership position” and that part of her role was going to involve tasks that other sales persons did not have:

A. Both Cormac and Mark [Silverstein] discussed with me a lot about my social selling that I was talking about when I was hired and wanted me to develop that and teach my peers that . So it was sort of an experiment, if you will, does this work, can we apply it, how will we apply it type process for myself. They said, “We're going to call you a salesperson -” or actually, they let me call myself business development because I didn't want to be called sales, but from there they wanted me to basically delve into social selling and selling online.
Q. How did they communicate that want to you?
A. Verbally.
Q. Was this before you were hired or after?
A. Both.

         (Martin Dep. at 46). Silverstein also testified that “business development” was part of Martin's title. (Silverstein Dep. at 25 & 27). It is undisputed that Martin was paid a higher salary than other employees who held the title of sales associate.

         After she was hired, Martin was given a “scorecard” that laid out the Company's expectations for sales associates. (Defs.' Stmt. & Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 1). Martin testified that because she was going to be in a leadership position as well as sales, the Company told her that the scorecard would only loosely apply to her:

Q. Did you talk about this scorecard at all in the context of your employment at Tall Brown Dog?
A. The way this was given to me is, and you can sort of tell by our wages how they differed, my wage to the other salespersons' wages, that I would be in a leadership position. They said, “This is what we give our salespeople.” And they said, “We're going to be changing these things and this a loose - for you, it's very loose as far as what we want for you.
. . . .
Q. Did they ever tell you that you weren't going to be held to these key outcome standards?
A. Yes.

(Martin Dep. at 45-46).

         Shortly after beginning her employment with the Company, Martin became pregnant. On June 20, 2015, She informed Silverstein of her pregnancy in an email that read:

I have news. I'm pregnant - due 2/2016. I found out Wednesday and saw the baby doctor today. She cautioned me on foods and medications and then added warnings about heat. I mentioned that I would be outside for a few hours on Tuesday and she let me know there's no way for me to know my inner core temp in the heat while active. She said 101 degrees causes miscarriage and can happen due to dehydration. She was concerned also because I'd mentioned I am a golf novice. . . . I asked her if I carried a water and didn't fully swing if it would be okay but I think she wanted to err on the side of caution . . . I want to let you know that I'm very capable in my current state . . . I am used to working while carrying. I'm happy to be here. I'm already seeing that I've helped a few members of our sales team in certain ways . . . I look forward to what is ahead!

(D.E. No. 25-3). Silverstein responded:

Congratulations! Please plan on still coming to the meeting, there is no need to take a risk with golfing but will you ask your doctor about just driving the golf cart and keeping in the shade?
I certainly agree that you have helped with the sales team and would not expect anything less during your pregnancy and ...

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.