Byron v. St. Mary's Medical Center
ORDER Directing Supplemental Briefing. (Plaintiff's supplemental briefing due by 11/9/2012; Defendant's supplemental briefing due by 11/19/2012) Signed by District Judge Thomas L. Ludington. (SGam)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 11-13445
Honorable Thomas L. Ludington
ST. MARY’S MEDICAL CENTER,
ORDER DIRECTING SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEFING
Plaintiff Devra Byron was terminated from her employment with Defendant St. Mary’s
Medical Center when she missed work on May 11, 2009. The central issues of the case are
whether Plaintiff was entitled to Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for that date and
whether she put Defendant on notice of her intent to take that leave. If not, the absence was her
ninth in a rolling twelve-month period, and her termination was justified.
Plaintiff has brought suit against Defendant under two theories: that Defendant interfered
with her right to take FMLA leave under 29 U.S.C. § 2615(a); and that Defendant retaliated
against her for taking FMLA leave under § 2615(b). See Arban v. West Pub. Co., 345 F.3d 390,
400–01 (6th Cir. 2003).
To prevail on her interference claim, Plaintiff must prove that: (1) she was an eligible
employee; (2) the defendant was an employer defined under the FMLA; (3) she was entitled to
leave under the FMLA; (4) she gave the employer notice of her intention to take leave; and (5)
the employer denied Plaintiff FMLA benefits to which she was entitled. Edgar v. JAC Products,
Inc., 443 F.3d 501, 507 (6th Cir. 2006). Defendant’s intent, including its belief that it was
justified in terminating Plaintiff’s employment under its absenteeism policy, is not a relevant part
of the interference theory. Id.
Under the retaliation theory, which Plaintiff has not abandoned, Defendant’s motive is an
integral part of the analysis. Id. at 508. The employer’s motive is relevant because “retaliation
claims impose liability on employers that act against employees specifically because those
employees invoked their FMLA rights.” Id. (emphasis in original). The familiar burden-shifting
test articulated in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), applies to retaliation
claims under the FMLA. Edgar, 443 F.3d at 508. Plaintiff can make out a prima facie case of
retaliation by showing that (1) she availed herself of a protected right under the FMLA by
notifying Defendant of her intent to take leave; (2) she suffered an adverse employment action;
and (3) there was a causal connection between the exercise of rights under the FMLA and the
adverse employment action. Id. See also Skrjanc v. Great Lakes Power Serv. Co., 272 F.3d 309,
313–16 (6th Cir. 2001). If Plaintiff satisfies these three requirements, the burden shifts to the
employer to proffer a legitimate, nondiscriminatory rationale for discharging her. Edgar, 443
F.3d at 508; Skrjanc, 272 F.3d at 315.
There are numerous Motions in Limine currently pending before the Court. In order to
properly address these issues, supplemental briefing on the parties’ factual and legal positions is
necessary. Accordingly, the parties will each deliver five pages outlining their factual positions,
and how the law applies.
It is ORDERED that Plaintiff is DIRECTED to file supplemental briefing as outlined
above, no longer than five pages, no later than November 9, 2012.
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It is further ORDERED that Defendant is also DIRECTED to file supplemental
briefing, no longer than five pages, no later than November 19, 2012.
s/Thomas L. Ludington
THOMAS L. LUDINGTON
United States District Judge
Dated: November 1, 2012
PROOF OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that a copy of the foregoing
order was served upon each attorney or party of record
herein by electronic means or first class U.S. mail on
November 1, 2012.
s/Tracy A. Jacobs
TRACY A. JACOBS
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