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Hardy v. Community Mental Health Organization

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

August 25, 2017

GREGORY HARDY, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH ORGANIZATION,, Defendants.

          OPINION

          GORDON J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Greg Hardy, has sued Defendants alleging violations of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights arising out of his termination from employment at the Justice In Mental Health Organization. All Defendants have moved to dismiss. The motions have been fully briefed and are ready for decision.[1]

         I. ALLEGATIONS

         Defendant Clinton-Eaton-Ingham Community Mental Health (CMH) is a Community Mental Health Services Provider organized under the Michigan Mental Health Code.

         Defendant Justice In Mental Health Organization (JEVIHO) is a private non-profit corporation with a contractual relationship with CMH. JEVIHO runs "a consumer run drop-in service on an independent contractor basis." (ECFNo. 11-5 atPageID.95.) JEVIHO receives state and federal funding through CMH, and has agreed to follow various guidelines of operation. (Id.at PageID.96.) Defendants Brian Wellwood, Emily Jarvis, Terry Cuyler, Vicki Sandbrook and Patrick McPherson were employees of JIMHO.

         JIMHO hired Plaintiff Gregory Hardy in July 2014. (ECF No. 1 at PageID.5.) Plaintiff was hired to work as a front desk clerk at JIMHO's drop-in center in Lansing, Michigan. (Id.) On February 26, 2015, a JIMHO member[2] Rodquies Johnson assaulted Plaintiff while Plaintiff was at work. (Id.) Plaintiff contacted the Lansing Police Department to initiate a complaint against Johnson. (Id. at PageID.6.)

         Defendant Terry Cuyler witnessed the assault, and allegedly told Plaintiff that Cuyler had called 911. Plaintiff alleges that Cuyler did not in fact call the police at the time of the assault, and only spoke with the police after Plaintiff contacted the police himself. Cuyler also allegedly tried to convince the prosecuting attorney not to file charges against Johnson.

         Defendant Emily Jarvis was Plaintiffs supervisor at JIMHO. Plaintiff claims that Jervis and Cuyler issued Plaintiff a written warning on February 27, 2015, the day after the assault, after Plaintiff complained about his injuries and threatened to sue JIMHO. (Id. at PageID.8.) The warning notes that Plaintiff was in a physical altercation with a JEVIHO member, and would be fired if he was in another physical or verbal altercation. (ECF No. 1-1 at PageID.21.)

         Plaintiff later met with Defendants Wellwood, Cuyler, and Jarvis and confronted Cuyler about Cuyler's "delusional statements and false write-ups both created which is (bogus)." (ECF No. 1 at PageID.8.) Plaintiff met again with Wellwood, Jarvis, and Cuyler on March 6, 2015, to complain that Cuyler was behaving inappropriately because Cuyler lacked interest in "properly resolv[ing] the assault incident, as Defendant Cuyler stood watching, giving false statements to state's prosecutor, or false information to police officer(s) as to his involvement, when question would later delude statements." (Id. at PageID.9.) Johnson was allowed to return to the JIMHO drop-in center after 45 days. (Id)

         Plaintiff continued to complain to Jarvis that Jarvis failed to enforce adequately JIMHO policy regarding members who became threatening or verbally abusive. (Id. at PageJJD. 10.) Jarvis was rude to Plaintiff as a response, and "began to act if though she had a bad attitude daily in how she chose to express herself to plaintiff as to degrade him, making plaintiff feel singled[]out, believing that there was a problem with her about him being black." (Id.) Plaintiff also alleges that Jarvis did not allow Plaintiff to secure his coat while working and stopped Plaintiff from using rubbing alcohol to clean his work area, which was infested with bed bugs. (Id)

         In May 2015, Plaintiff told Defendant Vicki Sandbrook that JEVIHO members Kevin Starnes and Cirus Milton had performed oral sex on each other. (Id. at PagelD.ll.) Defendant Sandbrook allegedly told Starnes and Milton what Plaintiff told her, causing Milton to harass Plaintiff. (Id.) Sandbrook also researched Plaintiffs background and reminded Plaintiff that Plaintiff was a registered sex offender and falsely accused Plaintiff of threatening to rape her. (Id. at PageID.12.) Sandbrook and Jarvis then began harassing Plaintiff, and Wellwood allegedly allowed this harassment because Sandbrook, Jarvis, and Wellwood are all white. (Id)

         In August of 2015, Plaintiff overheard Milton and Defendant Patrick McPherson discussing Plaintiff s sex offender status. (Id. at PagelD. 14.) McPherson later told Jarvis that "we need to get rid of this nigger." (Id.) Plaintiff was given another written warning and suspended for three days without pay after Defendant McPherson told an unspecified lie to other defendants. (Id. atPageID.15.)

         Around the same time that he was suspended, Plaintiff contacted CMH and "sought to seek his administrative remedies concerning each of the issues." (Id.) Plaintiff spoke with Defendant Greg Fox, who "refused to assist plaintiff in anyway [sic]" and "so rudely explained that there infact [sic] was no such grievance forms designed for (JEVIHO), or for its employees." (Id.) "Defendant Fox later contacted Defendant Wellwood to inform him that it was in their best interest to get rid of the plaintiff." (Id)

         After Defendant Cuyler filed another complaint, Plaintiff was terminated from JFMHO some time after ...


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