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Beauvais v. City of Inkster

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

February 8, 2018

Susan Beauvais, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Inkster and Booker Snow, Defendant.

          STEPHANIE DAWKINS DAVIS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE DR. HARVEY AGER AS A WITNESS [42] AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO PRECLUDE EVIDENCE OR REFERENCES OF A UNION DECISION [45]

          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Susan Beauvais initiated this action on August 1, 2016, alleging that the Defendants-the City of Inkster, Michigan and former Inkster Police Officer Booker Snow-violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act under Michigan Law, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See Dkt. No. 1. On November 9, 2017, the Court granted in part and denied in part Defendant City of Inkster's Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. No. 38. After the Court's decision, only Plaintiff's Title VII claim of retaliation remains in the litigation. See id.

         Presently before the Court are two evidentiary motions filed by the Plaintiff: Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Dr. Harvey Ager as a Witness [42] and Plaintiff's Motion in Limine regarding Evidence of the Union's Decision Not to Arbitrate Plaintiff's Grievance [45]. The Motion to Strike was filed on December 27, 2017, whereas the Motion in Limine was filed on January 12, 2018. See Dkt. Nos. 42, 45. These motions are sufficiently briefed.[1] A hearing on these motions was held on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Ruling from the bench, the Court DENIED the Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Ager as a Witness [42], [2] and also DENIED the Plaintiff's Motion to Exclude Evidence of the Union Decision [45]. The Court explains its reasoning herein.

         II. Background[3]

         A. Dr. Harvey Ager and Plaintiff's Medical Evaluation

         Dr. Ager is a licensed psychiatrist, who operates a private practice in Southfield, Michigan. Dkt. No. 43-18, pp. 2-3 (Pg. ID 2157-58). Ager evaluated Beauvais on March 24, 2015 and again on April 21, 2015 regarding her fitness to return to work as an Inkster Police Officer. Dkt. Nos. 43-12, 43-13. Ager conducted the evaluation on behalf of the Inkster Police Department. See Dkt. No. 42, p. 2 (Pg. ID 1707).

         Perhaps recognizing the value of his testimony, both Beauvais and Inkster included Ager on their witness lists. See Dkt. No. 14, p. 2 (Pg. ID 70); see also Dkt. No. 24, p. 2 (Pg. ID 183). In her witness list, Beauvais explained that Ager's testimony would “concern[] his examination of Plaintiff, his opinions as a result of that investigation, his communications with the Defendants as well as his history as a defense and insurance medical examiner.” Dkt. No. 14, p. 2 (Pg. ID 70). Inkster described Ager in its witness list as the “[p]sychiatrist retained by City to conduct Independent Medical Examination (“IME”).” Dkt. No. 24, p. 2 (Pg. ID 183).

         B. Union Decision

         While working as an Inkster Police Officer, Beauvais belonged to a union. See Dkt. No. 45-2, p. 2 (Pg. ID 2238). Following her suspension, and then termination, from the Inkster Police Department, Beauvais filed a grievance through her union. Id.; see also Dkt. No. 45, p. 2 (Pg. ID 2227). The grievance protested disciplinary hearing findings that Beauvais was guilty of several offenses involving her medical evaluation with Dr. Ager, including conduct unbecoming of an officer and falsifying documents or perjury. See Dkt. No. 53-1, pp. 2-3 (Pg. ID 2629-30).

         After proceeding through several steps of the grievance process, the grievance was denied at a mayor's hearing. Dkt. No. 45, p. 2 (Pg. ID 2227). The union did not thereafter request arbitration on Beauvais's behalf, which was the next step in the grievance process. Id. In deciding not to pursue arbitration, the union applied the following four-part test regarding whether the falsification charge justified termination:

1. Was the omission deliberate[?]
2. Was the omission material[?]
3. Is it off [sic] continuing materiality[?]
4. Did the Employer Act [sic] promptly once it found out and in Good Faith[?]

Dkt. No. 53-2, p. 2 (Pg. ID 2632). The union concluded that “[i]n [Beauvais's] case the answers to all four (4) above is yes. Therefore, based on the evidence presented, we do not feel we could or would prevail in an arbitration case.” Id. ...


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