United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION REGARDING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Mackenzie Schutter, filed a civil complaint against
Defendant, Harold Zeigler Auto Group, in Kalamazoo County
Circuit Court, alleging three counts: 1) that Zeigler
discriminated against her on the basis of pregnancy in
violation of Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act
(ELCRA), MCL 37.2101 et seq.; 2) that Zeigler
violated Michigan's Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to
Know Act, MCL § 423.501 et seq.; and 3) that
Zeigler interfered with her right to take leave under the
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et
seq. Zeigler removed the case to the Court based on
federal question jurisdiction from the FMLA claim. (ECF No.
1.) Zeigler then filed the instant motion to dismiss. (ECF
order to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a
party must allege more than “labels and
conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1959 (2007).
Under 12(b)(6), a party must state a plausible claim, and
“[a] claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009). To survive a
motion to dismiss in an employment discrimination claim, a
plaintiff need not plead facts establishing a prima facie
claim for relief; instead, she merely needs to include a
short and plain statement of the claim. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a);
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-78, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.
Nevertheless, the plaintiff must include “either direct
or inferential allegations [in the complaint] with respect to
all material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under
some viable legal theory.” In re Omnicare, Inc.
Sec. Litig., 769 F.3d 455, 467 (6th Cir. 2014)
(alteration in original) (citations omitted). “Merely
pleading facts that are consistent with a defendant's
liability or that permit the court to infer misconduct is
insufficient to constitute a plausible claim.” HDC,
LLC v. City of Ann Arbor, 675 F.3d 608, 611 (6th Cir.
2012) (citations omitted).
Complaint contains bare recitations of the elements of her
claims, presents legal conclusions without supporting facts,
and fails to address all material elements necessary to state
a plausible claim for relief. Her Response to Zeigler's
motion is essentially a reiteration of her Complaint, and
merely lists the elements of her claims, states legal
conclusions, and presents essentially no substantive legal
argument. (ECF No. 7.)
ELCRA and FMLA claims, Schutter largely relies on one broad
statement in her complaint that “[t]he defendant stated
that Mr. [sic] Schutter's pregnancy was poorly timed and
questioned whether she was the working type after learning
about her pregnancy.” Schutter does not name the person
to whom she spoke, what the individual's authority (or
lack thereof) was, and the context in which it was said.
Schutter “merely plead[s] facts that are consistent
with [Zeigler's] liability, ” but is insufficient
to constitute a plausible ELCRA claim. Id. at 611.
Similarly, her FMLA claim is void of contextual facts
supporting the actual elements of a plausible FMLA claim. In
response to Zeigler's argument that she “recites
nothing more than ‘labels and conclusions' and
‘a formulaic recitation' of some of the elements of
an FMLA cause of action” (ECF No. 6 at PageID.30-31),
Schutter offers nothing more than further labels,
conclusions, and formulaic recitations. Therefore, she
has failed to state a plausible claim for relief under the
ELCRA and FMLA.
alleges Zeigler violated Bullard-Plawecki because it had a
written policy that prohibited employees from independently
taking information out of their personnel files. This policy,
on its face, is entirely consistent with Bullard-Plawecki,
which requires employees to submit a written request to their
employers in order to review their personnel files. M.C.L.
§ 423.503; see Richardson v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 836 F.3d 698, 705 (6th Cir. 2016). Faced with this
legal challenge by Zeigler in its motion to dismiss, Schutter
merely repeats allegations from her Complaint. She offers no
facts to demonstrate that Zeigler actually violated
Bullard-Plawecki by, for example, denying a written request
to review her personnel file. Therefore, she has failed to
state a plausible claim for relief under Bullard-Plawecki.
the Court will grant Zeigler's motion. However, the Court
will grant Schutter fourteen (14) days from the entry of this
Opinion and Order correcting the deficiencies pointed out in
this Opinion. A separate order will issue.
 For example, Schutter asserts that
“[t]he complaint provides more than labels and
conclusions and is more than a formulaic recitation of the
elements. The plaintiff's factual allegations for each
element of each claim also show a right to relief that is
plausible.” (ECF No.7 ...