United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MICHAEL GORBE, EDWARD SHARGABIAN, and TYRON RUCKER, Plaintiffs,
THE CITY OF LATHRUP VILLAGE, WILLIAM ARMSTRONG, and SCOTT MCKEE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF
SHARGABIAN'S MOTION TO TOLL STATUTE AND ALLOW FOR HIS
TITLE VII CLAIMS
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
an employment discrimination case. Plaintiff Edward
Shargabian (Shargabian) is a former police officer who worked
for Defendants City of Lathrup Village (City), former police
chief William Armstrong (Armstrong), and interim police chief
Scott McKee (McKee) (collectively, Defendants). Shargabian is
suing Defendants for age discrimination and retaliation under
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C.
§ 621 et seq., and Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et
condition precedent to an ADEA and Title VII claim is the
filing of a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 300
days of termination. See 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(e)(1); see also Lacroix v. Tennessee Dep't of
Transportation, 2000 WL 1140764, *1-*2 (6th Cir. 2000)
(finding that ADEA and Title VII plaintiff “had 300
days from notification of his termination in which to file a
charge of discrimination with the EEOC”) (citing
Delaware State Coll. v. Ricks, 449 U.S. 250, 259
(1980)). A plaintiff may file a civil action in federal court
within 90 days of receiving a right-to-sue letter from the
EEOC. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1); see
also Puckett v. Tennessee Eastman Co., 889 F.2d 1481,
1487 (6th Cir. 1989). The issues before the Court are whether
Shargabian complied with these requirements when he filed an
EEOC charge on January 11, 2018, and if not, whether his
failure to comply may be excused on the basis of equitable
tolling. For the reasons that follow, Shargabian's motion
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
says he has been subjected to harassment since March of 2016
because of his age. He also says he was terminated on
February 10, 2017 because of his age and because he spoke out
about departmental race and age discrimination against
himself and co-plaintiffs Rucker and Gorbe, who are not
parties to the instant motion. (Doc. 16). Defendants say
Shargabian was terminated because he did not answer all
questions on his Reserve Officer application. (Doc. 20).
filed a complaint on June 5, 2017. (Doc. 1). At that time, he
was represented by attorney Karie H. Boylan (Boylan). The
complaint stated that “Plaintiff Shargabian filed
charges of discrimination and retaliation with the EEOC which
Plaintiffs Gorbe and Rucker openly support.”
(Id. at ¶ 39). However, no EEOC charge had been
filed on Shargabian's behalf.
answered on July 24, 2017, raising the following affirmative
defenses: “Plaintiffs have failed to exhaust
administrative remedies before bringing this action”;
“Plaintiffs' Complaint may be barred, in whole or
in part, by the applicable statute of limitations”; and
“Plaintiffs failed to file a charge of employment
discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission within 300 days of the allegedly unlawful
employment practices.” (Doc. 6, ¶¶ 3-5).
Though the answer should have put Boylan on notice that no
EEOC charge had been filed, she took no action.
withdrew as counsel due to a conflict of interest, (Doc. 10,
Pg. ID 52), and was terminated as of November 13, 2017. (Doc.
13, Pg. ID 57). Shargabian then hired his current attorney,
Raymond Guzall III (Guzall). On January 3, 2018, Shargabian
asked Boylan to send him the EEOC charge she had filed on his
behalf so that he could show it to Guzall. Boylan informed
him that she had not filed an EEOC charge.
filed an EEOC charge on January 11, 2018. To date, the record
does not contain a right-to-sue letter or any other
correspondence addressed to him from the EEOC. Shargabian
filed the first amended complaint on January 12, 2018. (Doc.
16). On January 30, 2018, Defendants answered, asserting the
same defenses they raised in their original answer. (Doc.
20). On January 19, 2018, Shargabian filed a motion to toll
the statute of limitations for equitable reasons. (Doc. 19).
Defendants responded, (Doc. 22), and Shargabian replied.
the 300-day filing requirement for an EEOC charge and the
90-day filing requirement for bringing suit in federal court
are “more in the nature of a statute of limitations[,
]” Jackson v. Richards Med. Co., 961 F.2d 575,
578 (6th Cir. 1992), rather than jurisdictional prerequisites
to filing suit. Zipes v. Trans World Airlines, Inc.,
455 U.S. 385, ...