United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF NO.
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Saundra Freeman filed this action under the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), the Persons
with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (“PWDCRA”),
and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
Her complaint asserts unlawful termination, hostile work
environment, disparate treatment and denial of a reasonable
accommodation under the ADA and PWDCRA, as well as various
violations of the FMLA. The matter is before the court on
defendant Learning Care Group's motion for partial
summary judgment on the basis that plaintiff's claims
under the ADA and the PWDCRA are untimely under the terms of
her employment contract. Plaintiff's FMLA claim is not
challenged in defendant's motion for partial summary
parties appeared before the court for oral argument on May
16, 2019. At oral argument plaintiff's counsel conceded
plaintiff is not pursuing her state law PWDCRA claim. For the
reasons stated below, defendant's motion for partial
summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.
began her job as an Accounts Receivable Specialist with
defendant on September 4, 2007. At that time, plaintiff
signed a Non-Solicitation and Confidentiality Agreement
(“Agreement”) whereby she agreed to file any
lawsuit or claim she had against defendant within 180 days of
the occurrence giving rise to such claim. The Agreement
provides in relevant part:
I agree that I may not assert any lawsuit or other claim
against the Company, or one of its employees or former
employees, beyond the sooner of the applicable statute of
limitations or 180 days after the occurrence of any act
allegedly giving rise to such lawsuit or claim to the extent
permitted by law.
December 1, 2015, defendant began a renovation of its
offices. Plaintiff alleges that the renovation aggravated her
pre-existing respiratory medical condition, causing her to
experience shortness of breath. While the renovation was
taking place, plaintiff was granted various accommodations,
including a medical leave of absence under the FMLA and the
ability to work remotely from home. The office renovation was
completed on August 25, 2017 and plaintiff was instructed to
return to work at the office on August 28, 2017. Plaintiff
did return to the office but continued to experience
breathing problems. Plaintiff submitted medical documentation
seeking an accommodation to allow her to continue to work
remotely. On November 3, 2017, plaintiff was informed that
her accommodation was denied. From November 3, 2017 until
March 2018, plaintiff periodically attempted to work in the
office, but alleges she became ill on each attempt. Plaintiff
used FMLA leave to cover her time off work, but her FMLA
leave ran out on March 2, 2018. Plaintiff's request to
extend her FMLA leave was denied and on May 25, 2018
defendant terminated plaintiff's employment.
filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on January 29,
2018. The charge identified November 3, 2017, the date
plaintiff was denied an accommodation, as the date
discrimination took place. On May 17, 2018, plaintiff sent
the EEOC an email stating that she anticipated she would be
terminated, and she wanted to amend her charge to add counts
of wrongful termination and retaliation in violation of the
ADA. On May 29, 2018, the EEOC sent plaintiff an email
explaining that if she is actually discharged and wants to
file a charge alleging that her discharge was due to filing a
prior EEOC charge or due to her disability, “then
please return the attached Pre-Charge Inquiry.” (ECF
No. 12, Ex. 4). Plaintiff did not file any further
documentation relative to her termination.
EEOC issued a Dismissal and Right to Sue Notice
(“Notice”) to plaintiff on August 30, 2018.
Plaintiff received the Notice on or about September 1, 2018.
Plaintiff filed her complaint in this case on November 29,
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) empowers the court to render
summary judgment "forthwith if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." See Redding v. St. Eward, 241 F.3d 530,
532 (6th Cir. 2001). The Supreme Court has affirmed the
court's use of summary judgment as an integral part of
the fair and efficient administration of justice. The
procedure is not a disfavored procedural shortcut.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986);
see also Cox v. Kentucky Dept. of Transp., 53 F.3d
146, 149 (6th Cir. 1995).
standard for determining whether summary judgment is
appropriate is "'whether the evidence presents a
sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or
whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a
matter of law.'" Amway Distributors Benefits
Ass'n v. Northfield Ins. Co., 323 F.3d 386, 390 (6th
Cir. 2003) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986)). The evidence and all reasonable
inferences must be construed in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. Tolan v. Cotton, 572 U.S. 650,
660 (2014); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Redding,
241 F.3d at 532 (6th Cir. 2001). "[T]he mere existence
of some alleged factual dispute between the parties
will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for
summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no
genuine issue of material fact."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original); see also National
Satellite Sports, Inc. v. Eliadis, Inc., 253 F.3d 900,
907 (6th Cir. 2001).
movant establishes by use of the material specified in Rule
56(c) that there is no genuine issue of material fact and
that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the
opposing party must come forward with "specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
First Nat'lBank v. Cities Serv. Co.,
391 U.S. 253, 270 (1968); see also McLean v. 988011
Ontario, Ltd., 224 F.3d 797, 800 (6th Cir. 2000). Mere
allegations or denials in the non-movant's pleadings will
not meet this burden, nor will a mere scintilla of evidence
supporting the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 248, ...