United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ANDRE D. COOLEY, Plaintiff,
FEDEX FREIGHT, INC., et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
T. NEFF United States District Judge.
initiated Ms pro se action alleging claims under
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the American
with Disabilities Act, against Defendant FedEx Freight, Inc.,
and individual Defendants, FedEx employees, Matt Schans,
Kevin Thacker, and Stuart Baxter.
individual Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure
to state a claim (ECF No. 18). The matter was referred to the
Magistrate Judge, who issued a Report and Recommendation
(R&R) (ECF No. 50), recommending that Defendants'
motion be granted. Plaintiff filed an Objection (ECF No. 51)
to the Report and Recommendation, and Defendants filed a
Response (ECF No. 53).
Magistrate Judge also issued a Report and Recommendation (ECF
No. 54) on Plaintiffs Motion to Join Parties and Amend
Pleadings and Brief (ECF No. 40), recommending the Motion be
granted, but also recommending on screening that (1) the
claims against the four newly joined individual Defendants be
dismissed; and (2) Plaintiffs state law claims be dismissed
without prejudice. Plaintiff filed an Objection (ECF No. 55),
and Defendants filed a Response (ECFNo.56).
case is now before the Court to resolve Plaintiffs Objections
to the two Reports and Recommendations. In accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3), the Court
has performed de novo consideration of those portions of the
Report and Recommendation to which objections have been made.
The Court denies the Objections and issues this Opinion and
Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 50)
argues that the Magistrate Judge erred in concluding that
Plaintiff cannot maintain claims under Title VII or the ADA
against individual Defendants Schans, Thacker, and Baxter
because neither statute provides for liability against
individuals (R&R, ECF No. 50 at PageID.817-818, citing
e.g., Wathen v. Gen. Electric Co., 115 F.3d 400,
405-06 (6th Cir. 1997); Hopkins v. Canton City Bd. of
Educ, 477 Fed.Appx. 349, 360 (6th Cir. Apr. 24, 2012);
Lee v. Mich. Parole Bd, 104 Fed.Appx. 490, 492-93
(6th Cir. June 23, 2004); Hawthorne-Burdine v. Oakland
Univ., 158 F.Supp.3d 586, 601 (E.D. Mich. 2016)).
Plaintiff cites case law to the contrary. However, as
Defendants point out in response, the authority on which
Plaintiff relies predates the Sixth Circuit's decision in
Wathen, supra, and is no longer good law.
Walthen is controlling precedent. The Magistrate
Judge properly concluded that Plaintiffs Tile VII and ADA
claims against the individual Defendants fail. This Objection
Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 54)
Magistrate Judge determined that the only federal law claims
that should go forward are Plaintiffs Title VII and ADA
claims against FedEx Freight. The Magistrate Judge concluded
that the Court should decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the 88 state law claims (11 distinct claims
against 8 defendants) asserted in Plaintiffs amended
objects to the Magistrate Judge's recommended dismissal
without prejudice of Plaintiffs state law claims. Plaintiffs
Objection proposes two alternatives to dismissal. First, he
proposes to withdraw all but one claim against each of the
eight individual Defendants arising under state law. Second,
he proposes that this Court dismiss all but one of Plaintiff
s state law claims, his Elhott-Larsen Civil Rights Act claim
for race discrimination, against each individual Defendant.
the Magistrate Judge noted that the sheer volume of state law
claims and the ratio of such to the remaining federal claims
weighed heavily in favor of dismissal, that was not the only
consideration that warranted declining to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over the newly added claims in
Plaintiffs amended complaint. The Magistrate Judge further
noted that this case has been pending for fifteen months
already and discovery is almost complete. To permit Plaintiff
to add either numerous state law claims or state law claims
against a number of defendants is prejudicial to Defendants
and unnecessarily delays resolution of the federal law claims
that Plaintiff initially asserted more than fifteen months
ago. Further, the state law claims would be the only claims
against the seven individual Defendants. Finally, the
Magistrate Judge correctly observed that the addition of
these state law claims would increase the likelihood of
lengthened jury instructions and jury confusion, which would
impair judicial economy and trial convenience. Plaintiff s
argument that a state law Elliott-Larsen race discrimination
claim would cause no undue prejudice or delay is unavailing.
has failed to show any error in the Magistrate Judge's
analysis or conclusion that the Court should decline
supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims. The
Magistrate Judge considered the case circumstances, and the
appropriate considerations for deciding whether to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims (R&R,
ECF No. 54 at PageID.834-836). This Court finds no sound
basis for adopting Plaintiffs alternative proposals at this
late juncture in this case.
above reasons and because this action was filed in forma
pauperis, this Court also certifies pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that an appeal of this decision
would not be taken in good faith. See McGore v.
Wrigglesworth,114 F.3d 601, 610-11 (6th Cir. 1997),