United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
JUDGMENT ON THE
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Clarissa Woodson filed the Complaint, pro se, on March 6,
2017. She alleges that she was the victim of harassment and
discrimination on the basis of her age and race while
employed by Defendant Holiday Inn Express. She asserts that
she filed a complaint with the EEOC prior to initiating this
suit and received her right-to-sue letter on December 5,
2016. ECF 1, PgID 7. Through previous orders, the Court
directed Woodson to provide a copy of the letter, ECF 5, 10.
Woodson failed to do so and contended that she "was told
[the letter] was provided in the documents written when [she]
filed the case[.]" ECF 11, PgID 26. At that time, the
lack of letter merely impeded Woodson's ability to serve
Defendant, so the Court permitted service by the Marshals
notwithstanding the letter's absence. ECF 12.
service, Defendant filed an answer and the Court set a
scheduling conference. At the conference, the Court's
staff informed Woodson that it still was not in receipt of
her right to sue letter and Defendant disclosed that it
intended to file a dispositive motion within the next month.
Defendant subsequently filed a motion for judgment on the
pleadings under Rule 12(c) on February 28, 2018. Plaintiff
failed to file a response and her time to do so has now
lapsed. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(e)(1). The Court now takes up
brings her claim under Title VII and the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act. Both acts require a claimant to timely
file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC to recover. See
Williams v. Michigan, 52 Fed.Appx. 723, 724 (6th Cir. 2002).
Defendant argues that the Court should dismiss the Complaint
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) because receipt
of a right-to-sue letter "is a prerequisite to filing
suit." ECF 25, PgID 93 (citing Puckett v. Tennessee
Eastman Co., 889 F.2d 1481, 1488 (6th Cir. 1989)). Defendant
is correct, but the Sixth Circuit has made clear that receipt
of a right-to-sue letter is a condition precedent, rather
than a jurisdictional requirement. To be clear: the Court did
not and has not received a copy of the right-to-sue letter.
But Plaintiff has pleaded that she received the letter, and
on a date that would make her Complaint timely, so judgment
on the pleadings for failure to provide the letter to date
would be premature.
also makes the separate argument that the case should be
dismissed because Plaintiff's claims fail to allege
sufficient facts to support the claims. The Court will grant
the motion on those grounds.
reviewing a motion for judgment on the pleadings brought
pursuant to Rule 12(c), the Court must take all well-pleaded
material allegations of the opposing party as true. Tucker v.
Middleburg-Legacy Place, 539 F.3d 545, 549 (6th Cir. 2008).
The motion is appropriately granted when no material issue of
fact exists and the party making the motion is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Id. (citing JPMorgan
Chase Bank, N.A. v. Winget, 510 F.3d 577, 581 (6th Cir.
2007)). Judgment on the pleadings may be appropriately
granted when the facts alleged by the plaintiff fail to meet
the specificity requirements of Rule 8(a). Tucker, 539 F.3d
Title VII Claim
VII claims like Plaintiff's are evaluated under the
burden-shifting framework of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v.
Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802 (1973). Under the framework, a
plaintiff must "initially establish a prima facie case
of a racially hostile work environment based on
coworkers' conduct" by making five showings:
(1) Plaintiff is a member of a protected class;
(2) Plaintiff was subjected to unwelcome racial harassment;
(3) The harassment complained of was based on race;
(4) The harassment unreasonably interfered with
Plaintiff's work performance by creating an intimidating,
hostile, or ...