United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S
MOTION TO DISMISS AND DECLINING TO EXERCISE SUPPLEMENTAL
JURISDICTION OVER PLAINTIFF'S STATE LAW CLAIMS
H. CLELAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
William Wilson worked for Defendant City of Ferndale for over
30 years until he was forced to retire at the age of 60.
Plaintiff alleges that his forced retirement constitutes age
discrimination under both the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) and the Michigan
Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act (“ELCRA”) and a
violation of his due process rights under the Fourteenth
Amendment. He further alleges that Defendant retaliated
against him for opposing the racially-motivated hiring
practices of the Police Chief. Defendant now moves to dismiss
all of Plaintiff's claims, arguing that the claims are
either time-barred or fail to state a claim. The motion has
been fully briefed, and the court heard argument on this
motion on August 21, 2019. For the reasons explained below,
Plaintiff's federal claims cannot survive dismissal. The
court will grant Defendant's motion in part as to
Plaintiff's claims under the ADEA and Fourteenth
Amendment. In the absence of any surviving federal claims,
the court will decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over Plaintiff's remaining state law claims.
court draws the following factual allegations from the
complaint. Plaintiff began his employment with Defendant in
1986 as a police officer. He was promoted several times
throughout his career and eventually achieved the rank of
Detective Lieutenant. Around 2010, Timothy Collins was
promoted from Captain to Police Chief and became
Plaintiff's supervisor. In turn, Plaintiff was promoted
to second-in-command but not formally promoted to the
position of Captain. The Captain position remained vacant for
approximately seven years, and during this time, Plaintiff
performed all the work of Captain without receiving the
benefits or pay of the position.
2015, Defendant began accepting applications for the Captain
position. Plaintiff applied for the position and was selected
as a top candidate, but Defendant ultimately selected a
younger applicant. According to Plaintiff, both his age and
the racially-motivated hiring considerations of Chief Collins
impacted this hiring decision. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant planned to force him to retire at age 60 and that
Chief Collins, who would also soon retire, wanted to ensure
that he appointed the next Captain to avoid the possibility
of a black man being selected for the position. Plaintiff
protested this racially-motivated hiring consideration to the
Defendant forced Plaintiff to retire on February 16, 2018.
According to Defendant, Plaintiff was forced to retire
pursuant to Section 19 of the City Charter which states, in
A member shall be retired upon his attainment of 55 years:
Provided, however, upon his written application, approved by
his department, head, the Board may continue the member in
[Defendant] City employment for periods not to extend beyond
his attainment of age 60 years. Upon his retirement, he shall
receive a pension provided in section 20.
(ECF No. 1-4, PageID 29.) Plaintiff asserts that Defendant
selectively enforced this mandatory retirement policy against
him. However, his primary argument is that he was not subject
to the retirement policy because, in 1999, he relinquished
his rights to a pension in favor of a 401k plan.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for dismissal of a
complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. Under the Rule, the court construes the complaint
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and accepts all
well-pleaded factual allegations as true. Barber v.
Miller, 809 F.3d 840, 843 (6th Cir. 2015).
Rule of Civil Procedure 8 requires a plaintiff to present in
the complaint “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” A
complaint must provide sufficient facts to “state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that defendant acted
unlawfully.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “To state a valid
claim, a complaint must contain either direct or inferential
allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain
recovery under some viable legal theory.” Boland v.
Holder, 682 F.3d 531, 534 (6th Cir. 2012) (emphasis
removed) (citing League of United Latin Am. Citizens v.
Bredesen, 500 F.3d 523, 527 (6th Cir. 2007)).
Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for
relief is “a context-specific task that requires the
reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
ADEA Age ...