United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION (DKT. 36)
Stephanie Dawkins Davis, United States Magistrate Judge
Cynthia Hunter, filed a complaint in state court for race and
sex discrimination under the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil
Rights Act and Title VII and for retaliation under
Elliott-Larsen on December 22, 2016. (Dkt. 1, Notice of
Removal, Pg ID 8-23). Defendant, General Motors LLC, removed
the action to federal court on February 1, 2017. (Dkt. 1). On
January 3, 2018, the parties executed a consent for reference
of this matter to the undersigned magistrate judge. (Dkt.
20). On January 5, 2018, District Judge Robert H. Cleland
signed the consent and referred this matter under 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c). (Dkt. 21). After briefing and a hearing, on
March 31, 2019, the Court granted GM's motion for summary
judgment and entered judgment in its favor the following day.
(Dkt. 33, 35). Hunter filed a timely motion for
reconsideration on April 14, 2019. (Dkt. 36).
Rule 7.1(g)(3) governs motions for reconsideration and
provides as follows:
Generally, and without restricting the court's
discretion, the court will not grant motions for rehearing or
reconsideration that merely present the same issues ruled
upon by the court, either expressly or by reasonable
implication. The movant must not only demonstrate a palpable
defect by which the court and the parties have been misled
but also show that correcting the defect will result in a
different disposition of the case.
E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(g)(3). A palpable defect is “(1) a
clear error of law; (2) newly discovered evidence; (3) an
intervening change in controlling law; or (4) a need to
prevent manifest injustice.” Henderson v. Walled
Lake Consol. Sch., 469 F.3d 479, 496 (6th Cir. 2006).
Similarly, relief is available under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1),
“when the judge has made a substantive mistake of law
or fact in the final judgment or order. Penney v. United
States, 870 F.3d 459, 461 (6th Cir. 2017), quoting
United States v. Reyes, 307 F.3d 451, 455 (6th Cir.
Analysis and Conclusion
raises several claims of error, each of which will be
addressed, in turn, below.
Prima facie case under the Elliott-Larsen Civil
Rights Act Hunter maintains that the four-part test relied on
by the Court, and as advocated by GM, for establishing a
prima facie case of sex discrimination does not
apply to her claim for sex discrimination under the
Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. That test, which applies
when a plaintiff does not provide direct evidence of
discrimination under Title VII, requires a plaintiff to show
that: (1) she belongs to a protected class, (2) she suffered
an adverse employment action, (3) she was qualified for the
position, and (4) that the job was given to a person outside
the protected class or that she was treated differently than
a similarly situated, nonprotected employee. Humenny v.
Genex Corp., 390 F.3d 901, 906 (6th Cir. 2007)
Abdulnour v. Campbell Soup Supply Co., 502 F.3d 496,
501-02 (6th Cir. 2007); Lyons v. Metropolitan Gov't
of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., 416 Fed.Appx. 483
(6th Cir. 2011). Rather, Hunter maintains that, under state
law, the fourth element merely requires a plaintiff to show
that “(4) she was discharged under circumstances that
give rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination.”
Lytle v. Malady, 458 Mich. 153, 173 (1998).
overstates the differences between the state and federal
standards. In Lytle, as the Michigan Supreme Court
itself observed, its four-part test was simply an adaptation
of the McDonnell-Douglas framework. Id. n.
19. Notably, Lytle cites to Town v. Michigan
Bell Tel. Co., 455 Mich. 688, 695 (1997) for the
elements and the Town court stated:
[m]any courts, including this one, have used the prima facie
test articulated by the United States Supreme Court in
McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green as a framework for
evaluating age-discrimination claims. Originally applied to
cases of race discrimination, the test has been modified to
accommodate cases of age and sex discrimination.
The modified McDonnell Douglas prima facie approach
requires an employee to show that the employee was (1) a
member of a protected class, (2) subject to an adverse
employment action, (3) qualified for the position, and that
(4) others, similarly situated and outside the protected
class, were unaffected by the employer's adverse conduct.
Id. (footnotes omitted). Michigan courts have
treated the fourth prong of the primafacie
case under Elliott-Larsen the same as federal courts do for
purposes of Title VII, requiring plaintiffs to provide
evidence of appropriate comparators. See e.g.,
Coleman-Nichols v. Tixon Corp., 203 Mich.App. 645,
651 (1994) (Under the disparate treatment theory, a plaintiff
must show that she was a member of a protected class, and
that, for the same or similar conduct, she was treated
differently than a man.). Moreover, Hunter does not explain
how the language from Lytle would change the
Court's analysis or the result. As explained in detail
below, Hunter still does not provide sufficient evidence of
appropriate comparators. Thus, ...