United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER
F. Cox United States District Court Judge.
the second action that this pro se plaintiff has
filed against her former employer, Defendant Henry Ford
Health System, who terminated her back in 2015. The matter is
before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. The
motion has been briefed by the parties and the Court heard
oral argument on April 11, 2019. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court shall: 1) dismiss Plaintiff's federal
Title VII claims with prejudice, because they are untimely;
and 2) decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over her
state-law claims, having dismissed the only federal claims at
a very early stage of the litigation (ie., upon a motion to
dismiss filed before the Court has even held a scheduling
pro se, Plaintiff Carol Sinclair
(“Sinclair”) filed this action on November 21,
2018. Her complaint states that she asserts that this Court
has federal-question jurisdiction over this action (Compl. at
3), yet the “federal statute” upon which she
bases her claims in this action is identified as the
“Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.” (Compl. at 4;
see also Civil Cover Sheet).
identified this case as a companion case to Case Number
16-12757, that was assigned to the Honorable Gerald Rosen.
(Id.). Sinclair checked a box indicating that her
current case had previously been filed and dismissed. The
Court will refer to that prior action as the 2016 Case.
Because Judge Rosen has since retired, this case was not
reassigned to him as a companion case to the 2016 Case.
docket reflects that Sinclair filed the 2016 Case against
Henry Ford Health System on July 26, 2016. The complaint in
that case alleged that in June of 2015, a manager had made an
inappropriate comment about it being “KK day” and
that Sinclair reported that to her manager. She alleged that
she was later placed on a performance improvement plan
(“PIP”) and was later fired on November 18, 2015.
Sinclair alleged in the 2016 Case that she was placed on the
PIP and was terminated in retaliation for her having reported
the comment by the manager. Sinclair attached a “Right
to Sue Letter” from the EEOC to her complaint in the
2016 Case. (ECF No. 1 at PageID3 in Case No. 16-12757). That
letter was dated May 3, 2016 and advised Sinclair that she
had to file suit within 90 days of receipt of the letter. At
Sinclair's request, the 2016 Case was dismissed without
prejudice on December 9, 2016.
November 21, 2018 - nearly two years later - Sinclair filed
this action. Sinclair's Complaint in this action is again
based on her prior employment with Defendant, the 2015
“KK day” comment, her having been placed on PIP
after reporting the comment, and her eventual termination in
Sinclair's Complaint in this action only references the
ELCRA, a state statute, this Court issued an Order to Show
Cause why this case should not be dismissed for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction. (ECF No. 4). Sinclair responded
to that order, asserting that she is seeking to pursue claims
under “the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ” a
reference to Title VII. (ECF No. 8).
filed a Motion to Dismiss in this case on December 13, 2018,
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) (subject matter jurisdiction) and
12(b)(6) (failure to state a claim). This motion asserts that
this case should be dismissed on several grounds: 1) lack of
subject matter jurisdiction, because Sinclair's complaint
only references the ELCRA; 2) failure to state a claim under
the ELCRA, due to insufficient allegations; 3) Sinclair
cannot pursue litigation because she agreed to arbitrate all
disputes when she began employment with Defendant; and 4) to
the extent she's now claiming that her claims are brought
under Title VII, they should be dismissed as untimely.
filed a response that states that she is seeking relief under
Title VII and that she “received a right to sue letter
from EEOC.” (ECF No. 13). In her response, Sinclair
does not deny that she agreed to arbitrate any claims with
Defendant when she began her employment with Defendant but
questions whether the agreement is legally-binding without a
signature from Defendant's representative. She also
asserts that “Arbitration would have been problematic
given the adverse working conditions. The director had
already stated if I didn't quit, I would be fired. An
unbiased ruling would not have been in my favor.”
(Id. at 6).
Reply Brief states that Sinclair never filed for arbitration
after the 2016 Case was dismissed. Defendant asserts that to
the extent Sinclair asserts a Title VII claim in this action,
it is untimely. Defendant also notes that Sinclair has not
addressed Defendant's other legal challenges.
Sinclair's Title VII Claims Are Untimely And Shall Be
Dismissed With Prejudice.
Show Cause Response and her brief in response to
Defendant's motion both indicate that she is seeking to