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English v. II Enterprises

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 2, 2020

Troy English, Plaintiff,
v.
II Enterprises, Defendant.

          Elizabeth A. Stafford Mag. Judge

          OPINION AND ORDER PROVISIONALLY GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [13] AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF FORTY-FIVE DAYS TO AMEND HIS COMPLAINT

          JUDITH E. LEVY United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Troy English filed this pro se disability discrimination complaint alleging that his employer, Defendant II Enterprises, fired him because of the medical expenses associated with his amputation. (ECF No. 1.) Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 13.) For the reasons below, the Court provisionally GRANTS Defendant's motion to dismiss. The Court additionally exercises its discretion to allow Plaintiff forty-five (45) days to amend his complaint to state a claim for disability discrimination. Should Plaintiff fail to sufficiently amend his claim within forty-five (45) days, the Court will enter judgment in Defendant's favor.

         FACTS

         Plaintiff filed this complaint on August 21, 2019. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges that his left leg was amputated below the knee sometime after July 27, 2016, during a medical leave of absence. (ECF No. 1, PageID.1.) Plaintiff's doctor authorized him to return to work beginning June 22, 2017. (Id.) On April 20, 2017, however, Defendant mailed Plaintiff a letter informing him that he had been fired. (Id.) On April 30, 2017, Plaintiff spoke with Sarah Ford, whom Plaintiff alleges is both the head of Defendant's HR and Defendant's owner's daughter. Ms. Ford told Plaintiff that “we have to let you go because you cost us to[o] much money with your medical issue.” (Id.)

         On April 6, 2018, Plaintiff contacted a Michigan civil rights representative, who connected Plaintiff with Deanna Wooten of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Ms. Wooten apparently was involved with the case when it was a charge of discrimination pending at the EEOC. (Id.) After some negotiation between Plaintiff and Defendant, it appears that Plaintiff turned down Defendant's offer of $2, 500.00 to settle the matter. (See id.) The EEOC declined to pursue Plaintiff's case further but provided Plaintiff with a “Notice of Right to Sue (Conciliation Failure), ” which stated that “[t]he EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that violations of the [Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)] occurred with respect to some or all of the matters alleged in the charge but could not obtain a settlement with [Defendant] that would provide relief for you.” (Id. at PageID.3.) The letter informed Plaintiff that, within ninety (90) days of the mailing date of June 5, 2019, he could file suit in federal or state court based on the charge stated in the notice. (Id.)

         On August 21, 2019, Plaintiff timely filed the above complaint and included a copy of the EEOC letter. (Id.) Plaintiff initially named as Defendants II Enterprises, Sarah Ford, and Deanna Wooten. (Id. at PageID.1.) On August 29, 2019, Plaintiff provided the Court with a short letter clarifying that he had intended to sue only II Enterprises. (See ECF No. 5, PageID.8.) Plaintiff also attached to his letter an EEOC mediation request and documents pertaining to a separate unemployment benefits case. (Id.) The Court docketed this set of letters and attached documents as an “amended complaint” and terminated Defendants Wooten and Ford. (ECF No. 5.)

         On November 4, 2019, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's amended complaint, arguing that although the complaint “appears to allege a claim of employment discrimination, ” it “fails to identify . . . an identifiable request for relief.” (ECF No. 13, PageID.44.)

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         When deciding a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court must “construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept all allegations as true.” Keys v. Humana, Inc., 684 F.3d 605, 608 (6th Cir. 2012). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plausible claim need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ” but it must contain more than “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

         A pro se complaint is entitled to a liberal construction and “must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         Amended Complaint

         The first question is whether Plaintiff's amended complaint supplements his original complaint or, as ...


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