United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. 26)
A. GOLDSMITH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is currently before the Court on Defendant United
States Steel Corporation's (“U.S. Steel”)
motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 26). The motion is fully
briefed and a hearing was held on March 15, 2018. For the
following reasons, U.S. Steel's motion is granted.
Terry Crosson was employed by U.S. Steel from September 9,
2002 until his termination in 2016. Compl. ¶ 11 (Dkt.
1); Def. Mot. at 1, PageID.159. As part of his employment
application, Crosson signed an agreement which stated:
I understand and agree that any claim that I might pursue
upon termination of my employment or any other adverse action
arising out of my employment must be brought within six (6)
months of the date of my termination or such adverse
action[.] I knowingly waive any limitations period which
allows a longer time to bring a claim. If I am subject to a
collective bargaining agreement, which requires that I bring
a claim in less time, I understand that such lesser time
Application, Ex. 1 to Def. Mot., at PageID.180 (Dkt. 26-2).
was suspended on October 24, 2016; the complaint alleges that
the stated reason for his suspension was that he committed an
unsafe act with a catastrophic potential outcome. Compl.
¶ 19 (Dkt. 1). Crosson was terminated on November 3,
2016. Id. ¶ 22. On November 7, 2016, he filed a
grievance, which states, “I, Terry Crosson badge 7080,
contend that the Company letter dated ___ converting my
suspension to discharge is too severe a penalty.”
Grievance, Ex. 3 to Def. Reply (Dkt. 30-2). On April 27,
2017, Crosson's union informed him that the matter would
not proceed to arbitration. See Letter from USW
Union, Ex. A to Pl. Resp. (Dkt. 29-2).
filed the instant lawsuit on July 21, 2017. Among other
claims, Crosson alleges that U.S. Steel violated the
Workers' Disability Compensation Act of 1969, Mich. Comp.
Laws. § 418.301(13), by terminating him in retaliation
for seeking workers' compensation benefits. Compl.
¶¶ 47-55. U.S. Steel filed the instant motion for
summary judgment, arguing only that the retaliation claim is
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56 shall be granted “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute of material fact exists
when there are “disputes over facts that might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing law.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). “[F]acts must be viewed in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a
‘genuine' dispute as to those facts.”
Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).
“Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there
is no genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
the movant satisfies its initial burden of demonstrating the
absence of any genuine issue of material fact, the burden
shifts to the nonmoving party to set forth specific facts
showing a triable issue of material fact. Scott, 550
U.S. at 380; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323 (1986). The nonmoving party “must do more than
simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts, ” Scott, 550 U.S. at 380
(quoting Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586), as the
“mere existence of some alleged factual
dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise
properly supported motion for summary judgment, ”
id. (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-248)
(emphasis in original); see also Babcock & Wilcox Co.
v. Cormetech, Inc., 848 F.3d 754, 758 (6th Cir. 2017)
(“A mere scintilla of evidence or some metaphysical
doubt as to a material fact is insufficient to forestall
sole issue presented is whether the statute of limitations
has run on Crosson's retaliation claim. U.S. Steel argues
that because Crosson agreed to bring any claim arising out of
his employment “within six (6) months of the date of
[his] termination or such adverse action, ” Employment
Application at PageID.180, he was required to bring his
retaliation claim by May 3, 2017 - six months after the date
of his termination. Under Michigan law, “an unambiguous
contractual provision providing for a shortened period of
limitations is to be enforced as written unless the provision
would violate law or public policy.” Rory v.
Cont'l Ins. Co., 703 N.W.2d 23, 31 (Mich. 2005)
(determining when the statute of limitations accrues for a
discrimination claim). Crosson has put forth four reasons why
the Court should nonetheless find that the statute of
limitations has not run on his claim. The Court will address
each in turn.