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Arucan v. Cambridge East Healthcare/Sava Seniorcare, LLC

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

March 30, 2018

JOHANA C. ARUCAN, Plaintiff,

          Stephanie Dawkins Davis Magistrate Judge



         Johana Arucan, proceeding pro se, sued her employer for discrimination and wrongful termination. She also sued two police officers who were called to remove her from the premises for constitutional violations. (R. 5.) The Court referred all pretrial matters to Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis. (R. 10.)

         Now before the Court are Arucan's objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation to grant Defendants' motions for summary judgment. (R. 73.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court overrules Arucan's objections and accepts the Report.


         Arucan began working for Cambridge East Healthcare in September 2012 as a full-time physical therapy assistant. (R. 50-6, PID 308.)

         Over three years later, on January 5, 2016, Arucan provided physical therapy treatment to the wrong patient. (R. 52-6, PID 556.) Arucan usually treated only patients on her daily list, which did not include Catherine Y. (R. 71-3, PID 751, 753-54) But because she had extra time (two of her patients did not need services), another physical therapist asked Arucan to treat Catherine Y. (See id.) But Arucan treated Catherine B. She discovered the mistake the next day and immediately reported the error to Megan Mocny, the Rehabilitation Manager. (R. 50-6, PID 320, 332.) That same day, Mocny reported the incident to Paige VanTiem, the administrator at Cambridge East. (R. 52-6, PID 558.)

         On the morning of January 8, 2016, VanTiem informed Arucan that she was being terminated for treating the wrong patient. (R. 52-8, 565.) VanTiem avers that Arucan refused to sign the termination papers and instead insisted that she was not terminated. (R. 52-6, PID 559.) As she continued to protest, VanTiem instructed Arucan to leave the premises. (Id.) Arucan refused. (Id.) Instead, she stated that she had patients to treat and left for the second floor. (Id.) VanTiem managed to convince Arucan to go to the first floor, but Arucan continued to refuse to leave the premises. (Id.)

         The Madison Heights Police Department was called. (R. 52-6, PID 559.) Officers John Heinrich and Rick Zamoski responded. (R. 50-3, PID 294; R. 50-4, PID 299.) VanTiem informed the officers that Arucan had been fired and was now refusing to leave. (R. 50-4, PID 299.) The officers claim they told Arucan she needed to leave the premises, but she refused to do so. (R. 50-3, PID 295; R. 50-4, 299.) Instead, she insisted that she needed to stay to see her patients. (R. 50-4, PID 299.) The officers warned Arucan multiple times that if she did not leave the premises she would be arrested. (R. 50-4, PID 299.) Still, Arucan balked. (Id.)

         So Officer Heinrich handcuffed Arucan and transported her to the police station. (Id.) The officers booked her (for trespassing) and placed her in a cell, where she remained until around lunch time. (R. 50-6, PID 335.) Arucan then went to lunch with some of her former co-workers. (R. 50-6, PID 323.)

         Arucan has a different version of the events. She testified that “they said I was not fired” and that VanTiem was only going to talk to “corporate.” (R. 50-6, PID 325.) She never heard that she was asked to leave. (R. 50-6, PID 324.) It was a janitor, according to Arucan, who called the police. (R. 50-6, PID 325.) When the police arrived, she told them that she wanted to go home and was going downstairs to collect her belongings. (R. 50-6, PID 334.) The officers never told her that she needed to leave. (R. 50-6, PID 334.) Officer Heinrich took her patient schedule from her pocket and gave it to either VanTiem or Mocny. (R. 50-6, PID 321.) Then Officer Heinrich pulled her hands behind her back and handcuffed her. (R. 50-6, PID 322.) Once at the station, the officers took her belongings, including her lab coat, and asked for $500 in bail. (R. 506-, PID 322.) She was then placed in a cold cell with only a smelly blanket to keep her warm. (R. 50-6, PID 335.) Around lunchtime, some of her former co-workers paid her bail and she left to have lunch with them. (R. 50-6, PID 335.)

         Arucan testified that she had pain in her chest as a result of being handcuffed and that she went to urgent care that day and later sought medical treatment from a doctor. (R. 50-6, PID 332- 33.) VanTiem took her jacket and lunch box, but those items were mailed to her a week later by Cambridge East. (R. 50-6, PID 326.) She further asserts that she was replaced with a younger male employee. (R. 5, PID 42.)

         Arucan ultimately pled “no contest” to trespassing. (R. 50-11, PID 361.)

         Arucan filed this lawsuit against her former employer, VanTiem, Mocny, and the two officers. (R. 1.) In her amended complaint, Arucan alleges that Cambridge East discriminated against her based upon her gender, age, color, race, and her ethnicity. (R. 5.) She further alleges wrongful termination, failure to promote, and retaliation. (Id.) She also includes claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and harassment based upon alleged verbal and emotional abuse during her time of employment. (Id.) Against the officers, she alleges that she was never given her Miranda rights, she was unlawfully arrested, unnecessarily humiliated, handcuffed in a manner that caused her injury, and that she got cold in the cell because they took her lab coat. (Id.)

         Both Cambridge East and the officers filed for summary judgment. (R. 50, 52.) For the reasons that follow, the Court will accept the Magistrate Judge's Report and ...

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