United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
 AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE
J. MICHELSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
to her complaint, between May and October 2018, Donnyal
Collins was employed by Powder Cote II. She operated a
forklift that dropped off automobile parts to and from lines
on the assembly. She worked closely with a person named James
who oversaw at least one of the assembly lines.
alleges that she and James often quarreled at work. She says
that on at least four separate occasions, James threw items
off her forklift and berated her with insults. And in their
last dispute, Collins alleges she was reversing her forklift
when James ran behind it (despite the back-up alarm) and
Collins ran over James' foot. Collins was fired.
October 30, 2018, Collins sued Powder Cote II, James, and
others. (ECF No.1, PageID.1-3.) Collins filed an application
to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915. (ECF. No. 2, PageID.15.) Upon consideration of her
request, the Court must perform a preliminary screening of
the complaint. The Court “shall dismiss” the case
if it finds that it is “frivolous or malicious, ”
“fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted,
” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Complaints filed by pro se plaintiffs are
construed liberally and held to “less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
appears Collins alleges she was wrongfully terminated on the
basis of her gender. (ECF No. 1, PageID.4-5.) Title VII bars
employers from discriminating “against any individual
with respect to [her] compensation, terms, conditions, or
privileges of employment, because of such individual's
race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” 42
U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). To establish a prima facie case
of gender discrimination, Collins must show that: “(1)
she is a member of a protected group; (2) she was subjected
to an adverse employment decision; (3) she was qualified for
the position; and (4) she was replaced by a person outside
the protected class, or similarly situated non-protected
employees were treated more favorably.” Peltier v.
United States, 388 F.3d 984, 987 (6th Cir. 2004).
Collins is not required to make out a prima facie case at
this stage, she does have to plead a plausible claim. See
Keys v. Humana, Inc., 684 F.3d 605, 609-610 (6th Cir.
2012). A plausible claim means Collins “pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 556 (2007)). And to draw a reasonable inference of
gender discrimination, Collins must plead facts to support a
causal connection between her termination and her gender.
See Keys, 684 F.3d at 610 (collecting cases).
Collins has not plausibly pleaded causation. True, Collins
alleges she was fired despite trying to follow the rules. And
she pleads instances of workplace rule breaking on the part
of a male colleague. But Collins' complaint does not
allege that her male colleague fared better than her.
Moreover, Collins alleges she was terminated after running
over her male colleague's foot with her forklift.
Although she alleges the man was at fault, she does not say
whether Powder Cote disciplined the man any differently than
her. Thus, she does not provide enough facts for the Court to
draw the “reasonable inference” that Powder Cote
fired her on account of her gender.
Court will give Collins a chance to correct the defect. To be
sure, there is currently no rule in the Sixth Circuit that
requires a district court, sua sponte, to give a pro se
plaintiff leave to amend absent a request. Brown v.
Matauszak, 415 Fed.Appx. 608, 615-16 (6th Cir. 2011).
However, “[the Sixth Circuit] has more than once
remanded a case to allow a pro se plaintiff leave to amend
when it was not requested by the district court.”
Id. (finding that a district court abused its
discretion in not granting plaintiff leave to amend where
given the chance, the plaintiff would have been able to
establish a non-frivolous underlying claim). So Collins has
until May 10, 2019 to file an Amended Complaint. Accordingly,
the Court dismisses Collin's complaint without prejudice
to refiling. (ECF No. 1.)
Court has included a flyer for the Court's Pro Se Legal
Assistance Clinic. The Clinic may be able to help Collins
draft her Amended ...