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Bernau v. Architechtural Stainless, Inc.

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

June 30, 2017

Barry Bernau, Plaintiff,
Architectural Stainless, Inc., Defendant.


          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN United States District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         On March 9, 2017, Plaintiff Barry Bernau filed the instant action against Defendant Architectural Stainless, Inc. (ASI). Plaintiff alleges in his complaint that Defendant violated the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, and Michigan's Workers Disability Compensation Act (WDCA), Mich. Comp. Laws § 418.301. Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Defendant argues that the Plaintiff failed to properly state a claim upon which relief can be granted. This matter is fully briefed and upon review of the parties' submissions, the Court finds that oral argument will not aid in the disposition of this matter. Accordingly, the hearing is canceled and the Court will decide the matter on the submitted briefs. See E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(f)(2).

         For the reasons discussed herein, the Court will DENY Defendant's motion [#4].

         II. Factual Background

         Defendant manufactures stainless steel in Macomb Township, Michigan. Dkt. No. 1, p. 3 (Pg. ID No. 3). Management hired Plaintiff as a shop helper around June 8, 2015. Id. As a shop helper, Plaintiff's primary duties included assisting co-workers with their tasks, sweeping floors, taking out garbage, and miscellaneous tasks given by one of the part-owners. Id.

         Three brothers-Carlo, Bruno, and Nick Fucciarelli-co-own Defendant Company. Id. On July 20, 2015, Carlo instructed Plaintiff to operate a press brake machine used for bending sheet and plate metal. Id. at 3-4. While operating the press brake, the machine amputated part of Plaintiff's left index finger. Id. at 4. With no first-aid equipment available at Defendant's facility, Plaintiff covered his wounds in an oily tourniquet and was rushed to the hospital. Id.

         On July 22, 2015, Plaintiff returned to the emergency room because his finger began to turn black and he felt ill. Id. On July 24, 2015, Plaintiff was hospitalized for the weekend due to further complications from the injury. Id. On July 27, 2015, Plaintiff had surgery in order to remove his now gangrenous fingertip and replace it with a skin graft from his left leg. Id. The next day, Defendant submitted an OCR 100 form to the Workers' Compensation Agency and the Agency approved Plaintiff for Workers' Compensation. Id. at 4-5.

         On August 7, 2015, Plaintiff returned to Defendant's facility with a doctor's note clearing him to work with restrictions. Id. at 5. At this time, Carlo did not allow Plaintiff to return to work and instead sent him home. Id.

         In November 2015, Plaintiff underwent another surgery to pin his index finger to his palm as a skin graft. Id. at 6. A few weeks later in December, Plaintiff then had an ultimately unsuccessful surgery to remove the index finger from his palm. Id. Later that month, Defendant did not invite Plaintiff to the company Christmas party to which all other employees were invited. Id.

         On January 7, 2016, Plaintiff returned to work with a doctor's note clearing him to work without restrictions. Id. During this meeting, Bruno pulled Plaintiff aside and reprimanded him, claiming, “no one has ever been hurt on those machines!” Id. Bruno later complained to another employee that Plaintiff's finger had cost the company $65, 000. Id.

         The following week, Plaintiff returned to work and Carlo again instructed him to use the press brake machine. Id. at 7. While operating the machine, the press brushed up against Plaintiff's finger triggering him to pull his hand back quickly and drop the piece of metal he was working with. Id. Upon seeing this, Carlo said to Plaintiff, “You know why you dropped it? You scared, you're chicken shit.” Id. Later in January, Carlo's son, also an employee of Defendant, shot Plaintiff in the arm with a stud inserted into an air hose, leaving Plaintiff bloodied. Id. However, Carlo merely asked his son to apologize and did not otherwise discipline him. Id.

         Additionally, Plaintiff alleges Carlo consistently demeaned him in front of his co-workers after the injury by referring to him as a “shitty guy” and an “epileptic.” Id. Finally, Plaintiff claims that Defendant provides its employees with health insurance after working for 90 days, but never offered it to Plaintiff. Id. at 7-8.

         In March 2016, Plaintiff took a leave of absence to have two additional surgeries on his injured finger. Id. Later that month, Plaintiff was hospitalized for an infection in his injured hand. Id. When he returned to work in April 2016, Carlo demanded that Plaintiff “get the f*** out of here and take your trailer with you!” Id.

         III. ...

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