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Logan v. MGM Grand Detroit Casino

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

February 12, 2018

BARBRIE LOGAN, Plaintiff,
v.
MGM GRAND DETROIT CASINO, [1] Defendant.

          Linda V. Parker, District Judge.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DE 40)

          ANTHONY P. PATTI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. RECOMMENDATION:

         The Court should GRANT Defendant's July 13, 2017 motion for summary judgment (DE 40) and dismiss with prejudice the claims set forth in her complaint (DE 1). However, the Court should deny Defendant's request for an award of costs and attorney fees associated with this motion (see DE 40 at 3, 32), as the issues on which this recommendation is based merited review by the Court.

         II. REPORT:

         A. Background

         Plaintiff Barbrie Logan filed this lawsuit pro se against Defendant MGM Grand Detroit Casino (“Casino”). The facts underlying Plaintiff's complaint stem from her employment as a culinary utility person, and her causes of action include sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (DE 1 ¶¶ 1-2, 29-38.)

         Defendant filed an answer and affirmative defenses on March 24, 2016. Among other things, Defendant asserted that Plaintiff's claims “may be barred, in whole or in part, by applicable statute(s) of limitation or limitation period(s), contractual or otherwise.” (DE 10 ¶ 14.)

         B. Instant Motion

         Judge Parker referred this case to me for all pretrial proceedings. Currently before the Court is Defendant's July 13, 2017 motion for summary judgment. In sum, Defendant requests that the Court “dismiss Plaintiff's claims against it in their entirety with prejudice, ” and “award Defendant its costs and attorneys' fees in having to file the instant Motion.” (DE 40 at 3.)

         Plaintiff filed a tardy response, which was nevertheless accepted and considered, and Defendant filed a reply. (DEs 42, 43.) On September 19, 2017, the Court denied Plaintiff's request to file a sur-reply. (See DEs 46, 45, 47.) On October 10, 2017, I entered a notice of determination of motion without oral argument. (DE 48.) Plaintiff filed a response to this notice, wherein she noted, among other things, her expectation “to be heard during oral argument to designate specific facts and admissions on file in this case not specified in the written Response.” (DE 49.) However, the Court has been adequately informed from the briefing, and this motion is ready for a report and recommendation on the papers alone.

         C. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, “[t]he court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the case under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The Court “views the evidence, all facts, and any inferences that may be drawn from the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Pure Tech Sys., Inc. v. Mt. Hawley Ins. Co., 95 F. App'x 132, 135 (6th Cir. 2004) (internal citations omitted).

         “The moving party has the initial burden of proving that no genuine issue of material fact exists . . . .” Stansberry v. Air Wis. Airlines Corp., 651 F.3d 482, 486 (6th Cir. 2011) (internal quotations omitted); cf. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 (e)(2) (providing that if a party “fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact, ” then the court may “consider the fact undisputed for the purposes of the motion.”). “Once the moving party satisfies its burden, ‘the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to set forth specific facts showing a triable issue.'” Wrench LLC v. Taco Bell Corp., 256 F.3d 446, 453 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). The nonmoving party must “make an affirmative showing with proper evidence in order to defeat the motion.” Alexander v. CareSource, 576 F.3d 551, 558 (6th Cir. 2009); see also Metro. Gov't of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., 432 F. App'x 435, 441 (6th Cir. 2011) (“The nonmovant must, however, do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts . . . . [T]here must be evidence upon which a reasonable jury could return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party to create a genuine dispute.”) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence favoring the nonmoving party is merely colorable or is not significantly probative. City Management Corp. v. United States Chem. Co., 43 F.3d 244, 254 (6th Cir. 1994). In other words, summary judgment is appropriate when “a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported and the nonmoving party fails to respond with a showing sufficient to establish an essential element of its case. . . .” Stansberry, 651 F.3d at 486 (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)).

         D. Discussion

         1. Plaintiff's complaint spans the alleged events of August 1, 2007 through December 4, 2014.

         The alleged facts underlying Plaintiff's complaint begin on August 1, 2007, the date of her employment as a “culinary utility person” at the Casino. (DE 1, ¶ 7.) As a condition of employment, she paid dues and/or fees to UNITE HERE, Local 24, the labor union. (DE 1 ¶ 10.) She began serving as a union steward around May 2008. (DE 1, ¶ 11.)

         From May 2009 through December 2013, Plaintiff was the subject of disciplinary action, filed union grievances, sought FMLA leave, and, on at least eight (8) occasions, engaged the services of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). (DE 42 at 5-10, 40-100; DE 42-1 at 1-39; see also DEs 40-7, 40-10, 40- 17.) Plaintiff's complaint further details the conditions of her employment during 2014. (DE 1, ¶¶ 15-26.) Some of the supporting documentation evidences the following:

• On April 3, 2014, a “Team Member Incident Report” was issued. Plaintiff was suspended pending investigation. (DE 40-12.) Plaintiff was to be issued a three-day suspension based on ...

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