United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
January 17, 2019, Plaintiff DeAnna Johnson
(“Plaintiff”) filed the instant sexual and racial
harassment claims, pursuant to Michigan's Elliot-Larsen
Civil Rights Act (“ELCRA”) and 42 U.S.C. §
1981, and sexual assault claim, pursuant to Michigan common
law, against Defendant Ford Motor Company
(“Defendant”). ECF No. 1. Plaintiff purports that
she was forced to take medical leave from her position as a
Production Supervisor due to severe sexual and racial
harassment from another Production Supervisor, Mr. Nicholas
Rowan. ECF No. 1, PageID.2-3.
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File
First Amended Complaint, filed on October 16, 2019. ECF No.
27. Defendant filed a Response on October 30, 2019. ECF No.
38. Plaintiff filed her Reply on November 6, 2019. ECF No.
42. A hearing on Plaintiff's Motion was held on December
5, 2019. For the reasons that follow, the Court will GRANT IN
PART and DENY IN PART Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to
File First Amended Complaint [#27].
Plaintiff's Employment at Ford Motor Company
claims stem from the allegedly hostile work environment she
experienced while employed at Defendant's Dearborn Truck
Plant. From the outset of her employment in June 2018,
Plaintiff was purportedly subjected to Mr. Rowan's
unwanted comments and conduct of both a sexual and racial
nature. ECF No. 27-1, PageID.397. Mr. Rowan was allegedly
directed to both teach Plaintiff her duties and assess her
performance as a new Production Supervisor. Id.
Defendant maintains that Mr. Rowan was not Plaintiff's
Supervisor. ECF No. 38, PageID.491.
was allegedly subject to Mr. Rowan's behavior on a
“daily basis.” ECF No. 27-1, PageID.397.
Specifically, Plaintiff claims that Mr. Rowan repeatedly
asked to see her breasts. Id. Mr. Rowan also
purportedly called Plaintiff names, including
“chocolate jolly rancher” and “chocolate
treat.” Id. Furthermore, Mr. Rowan
“constantly asked Plaintiff to send him naked
Rowan's alleged verbal harassment escalated to physical
harassment when he “grabbed Plaintiff's
breast.” Id. Additionally, Mr. Rowan
purportedly took pictures of Plaintiff without her
permission. Id. at PageID.399. Plaintiff claims Mr.
Rowan also sent her “numerous sexually suggestive
inappropriate texts”-including photographs of himself
in his underwear and of his genitals. Id.
informed Mr. Rowan that if his behavior continued, she would
report him. ECF No. 27-1, PageID.398. She explains that she
was both “fearful of [Mr.] Rowan and his erratic
behavior” and in need of her job, so she
“attempted to be pleasant with [him].”
Id. Plaintiff insists that she never participated in
nor responded to Mr. Rowan's “lewd talk” or
“disgusting demands.” In October 2018, Plaintiff
reported Mr. Rowan to a manger Rich Mahoney. Id. at
PageID.399. She then reported this behavior to “LaDon,
” who Plaintiff identifies as an “Assistant Plant
Manager at Dearborn Truck.” Id. at PageID.400.
Another supervisor, Bill Markovich, was also made aware of
Plaintiff's allegations against Mr. Rowan. Id.
asserts that her “extremely toxic and hostile work
environment” forced her to take a medical leave of
absence and she remains “medically unable to return to
work.” Id. at PageID.401. Defendant advised
Plaintiff in a letter dated August 22, 2019 that she was
terminated. Id. at PageID.402. Plaintiff alleges in
her proposed amended complaint that she was terminated
“in retaliation for [her] protected activity, including
this lawsuit.” Id. Defendant contends that
Plaintiff's termination was a result of her failing to
extend her unpaid medical leave past its April 2019
expiration. ECF No. 38, PageID.487.
January 17, 2019, Plaintiff filed her initial Complaint
against Defendant. ECF No. 1. Her Complaint alleges: (1)
sexual harassment and sexually hostile work environment in
violation of Michigan's ELCRA; (2) racial harassment and
racially hostile work environment in violation of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981; and (3) sexual assault and battery. See
filed a Motion to Extend Discovery and Scheduling Order Dates
by sixty days on August 23, 2019. ECF No. 14. This Court
granted Plaintiff's Motion three days later. ECF No. 15.
The fact discovery deadline was therefore extended to
November 11, 2019 and the dispositive motions deadline to
December 11, 2019. See id.; ECF No. 38, PageID.488.
At the hearing, Plaintiff asserted that she has agreed to
another deposition on December 19, 2019.
now requests leave to file a First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”) to include two amendments. First,
Plaintiff seeks to include quid pro quo sexual
harassment language in Count I's ELCRA claim. She
explains that her proposed amendment “simply clarifies
the quid pro quo aspect of [Mr.] Rowan's
demands[.]” ECF No. 27, PageID.390. She states that her
initial Complaint “provides the facts supporting this
claim.” Id. at PageID.389. Second, Plaintiff
moves to include an additional retaliation claim. Proposed
Count IV alleges that “Defendant's retaliatory
treatment of Plaintiff, including terminating her employment,
was in violation of the anti-retaliation provisions” of
Michigan's ELCRA and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. ECF No. 27-1,
PageID.406. Plaintiff explains that this proposed amendment
is a result of events that “only arose recently.”
ECF No. 27, PageID.390. At the hearing, Plaintiff explained
that she is not seeking any additional time for discovery for
either of these two proposed amendments.
opposed Plaintiff's Motion on October 30, 2019, arguing
that the two proposed amendments to the initial Complaint are
both futile and unduly delayed after the effective close of
discovery. ECF No. 38, PageID.489. Plaintiff filed her Reply
to Defendant's opposition on November 6, 2019. ECF No.
Motion for Leave to Amend
Rule of Civil Procedure 15 governs the amendment of
pleadings. In a case where a responsive pleading has been
filed, a party may amend its pleading only with the written
consent of the opposing party or by leave of the court.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Defendant here does not concur in
Plaintiff's Motion; it is thus within this Court's
discretion whether to grant Plaintiff's Motion for Leave
to File an amended complaint. See United States ex rel.
Harper v. Muskingum Watershed Conservancy Dist., No.
15-4406, 2016 WL 6832974, at *7 (6th Cir. Nov. 21, 2016)
(“[D]istrict courts have discretion to permit or deny
amendment after a defendant files an answer to a
plaintiff's complaint”); see also Zenith Radio