King v. William Beaumont Hospital
ORDER Regarding 28 Motion for Clarification/Reconsideration. Signed by District Judge Denise Page Hood. (LSau)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 10-13623
HONORABLE DENISE PAGE HOOD
WILLIAM BEAUMONT HOSPITAL,
ORDER REGARDING MOTION FOR CLARIFICATION/RECONSIDERATION
This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Clarification/Reconsideration filed on April
2, 2012 by Defendant William Beaumont Hospital seeking clarification as to which counts and
claims were dismissed and whether Defendant rebutted the presumption of retaliation by presenting
a legitimate, non-discriminatory Defendant’s actions.
The Local Rules of the Eastern District of Michigan provide that any motion for
reconsideration must be filed within 14 days after entry of the judgment or order. E.D. Mich. LR
7.1(h)(1). No response to the motion and no oral argument thereon shall be allowed unless the Court
orders otherwise. E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(2). The Local Rule further states:
(3) Grounds. 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 and other persons entitled to be heard on the motion have
been misled but also show that correcting the defect will result in a
different disposition of the case.
E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3). A motion for reconsideration is not a vehicle to re-hash old arguments,
or to proffer new arguments or evidence that the movant could have brought up earlier. Sault Ste.
Marie Tribe v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th Cir. 1998)(motions under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) “are
aimed at re consideration, not initial consideration”)(citing FDIC v. World Universal Inc., 978 F.2d
10, 16 (1st Cir.1992)).
The first issued raised by Defendant is based on a typographical error in the Order portion
which states that “[t]he retaliation claim in Count III remains.” (Doc. No. 27) Both parties agree
that the retaliation claim is set forth in Count II. The retaliation claim in Count II, remains, and,
as set forth in the Order, the race discrimination claim in Count I is dismissed. Count III, the
intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, was dismissed in a prior order. (Doc. No. 18)
The second issue raised by Defendant is that it presented sufficient legitimate, non-retaliatory
reason for its actions regarding Plaintiff’s retaliation claim. The Court found that Plaintiff stated a
prima facie case of retaliation. A review of Defendant’s motion as to its asserted reason regarding
the retaliation claim shows that Defendant did not expressly note in the analysis portion of the
motion the reason for its actions other than conclusorily asserts that “Plaintiff has no evidence that
Beaumont failed to make reasonably informed and considered decisions before it took action relative
to Plaintiff’s employment. There is similarly no evidence that Beaumont did not honestly believe
in the reasons it gave for suspending Plaintiff.” (Motion, p. 17) Defendant wants the Court to glean
from these conclusory statements its unstated reasons for terminating Plaintiff is a legitimate, nonretaliatory reason to issue the second suspension. Given that Defendant is unclear as to its reason
for terminating Plaintiff, the Court finds Defendant has not presented sufficient evidence to establish
there is no genuine issue of material fact that Defendant had a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason to
terminate Plaintiff in order for the Court to issue summary judgment in Defendant’s favor.
This Court’s own review of the evidence submitted by the parties shows that Michael G.
Bartz, the department manager, issued an Improper Conduct violation on July 27, 2009, suspending
and discharging Plaintiff because this was the second suspension in 18 months. (Doc. 23, Ex. 19
and Doc. 25, Ex. 17) The basis of the second suspension was the July 16, 2009 Level II Grievance
meeting between Plaintiff, Ebbonye Graham, Corporate Human Resources Representative, and
Bartz, where Plaintiff was agitated, angry, and in a threatening manner, shouted at Graham. (Id.)
Bartz signed the second suspension dated July 27, 2009. (Id.; Graham Dep., p. 47) Graham testified
at her deposition that Plaintiff became increasingly angry, hostile and agitated. (Graham Dep., p.
30) Nothing in Graham’s testimony indicates Plaintiff threatened her. Michael Dixon, the Human
Resources Manager, testified at his deposition that Graham did not tell him that Plaintiff had
threatened Graham, but that Graham felt disrespected. (Dixon Dep., p. 9) Plaintiff testified at her
deposition that she was giving her opinion and not trying to be argumentative. (King Dep., pp. 114116; 124-129) Bartz, who was present at the meeting with Plaintiff and Graham, has no independent
recollection why Plaintiff was agitated at the meeting. (Bartz Dep., p. 52) Bartz indicates that
Dixon did not recommend corrective action at that time, other than suggesting a suitability for work
assessment. (King Dep., pp. 50-52)
Although the second suspension document issued by Bartz indicates that the reason for the
suspension and termination was “Improper Behavior” based on the July 16, 2009 meeting, Bartz has
no independent recollection as to why Plaintiff was agitated. Graham and Dixon did not testify that
Plaintiff was threatening during the July 16, 2009 meeting. It is noted that Bartz’s written account
of the meeting noted that Plaintiff “initially appeared to be very quiet, and perhaps even showed
signs of beginning to cry or ‘tear up.’” (Doc. No. 23, Ex. 14; Doc. No. 25, Ex. 22) Bartz also noted
in a subsequent written account dated July 17, 2009 that according to Dixon, Plaintiff’s earlier
behavior was “uncharacteristic.” (Doc. No. 25, Ex. 23)
If it is Defendant’s proffered legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for the issuance of the second
suspension is Plaintiff’s behavior at the July 16, 2009 meeting, Bartz, the person who wrote the July
16, 2009 accounts describing Plaintiff’s behavior and who signed the second suspension, has no
independent recollection of the meeting. Graham did not testify at her deposition that Plaintiff was
threatening towards her and Dixon testified that Graham told him Graham only felt disrespected.
The Court finds Defendant has not sufficiently proffered a legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons given
a genuine issue of material fact as to Defendant’s proffered reason for the second suspension and
automatic termination of Plaintiff.
Even if Defendant’s second suspension of Plaintiff was based on a legitimate, non-retaliatory
reason, Plaintiff has submitted sufficient evidence to show that this reason may be pretext. To
establish pretext, a plaintiff must show: 1) the employer’s reasons for termination had no basis in
fact; 2) that the proffered reasons did not actually motivate the discharge; or 3) the reasons were
insufficient to motivate the discharge. Manzer v. Diamond Shamrock, 29 F.3d 1078, 1084 (6th Cir.
As noted above, there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendant’s reason
had basis in fact, given that Bartz has no recollection of what occurred on July 16, 2009 and Graham
did not testify that she felt threatened. Also, Bartz’s own written account indicates Dixon did not
initially agree to the second suspension. As to the motivation of the discharge, again, Dixon did not
initially agreed to the second suspension. It appears from Bartz’s second written account dated July
17, 2009 that Bartz later contacted Dixon regarding what occurred earlier on June 16, 2009. (Doc.
25, Ex. 23) Bartz notes that based on Plaintiff’s “earlier aggressive and emotional behavior, and in
an attempt to minimize any potential for workplace anger or violence, a decision was made to hold
this Suspension Notification meeting” which occurred later on July 16, 2009 at 3:30 p.m. (Doc. 24,
Ex. 23) However, it is noted that Plaintiff was released to return to work after the earlier meeting
given that Bartz contacted Plaintiff at around 3:00 p.m. at work. (Doc. 25, Ex. 23) If Bartz was
concerned about workplace violence, Plaintiff would not have been allowed to return to work after
the behavior she exhibited before Bartz and Graham at the meeting earlier on the same day. There
remains a genuine issue of material fact as to Plaintiff’s retaliation claim against Defendant.
IT IS ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion for Clarification/Reconsideration of the Court’s
Opinion dated March 19, 2012 (Doc. No. 28, filed 4/2/2012) is GRANTED as to clarification but
DENIED as to the relief requested.
S/Denise Page Hood
Denise Page Hood
United States District Judge
Dated: July 2, 2012
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record on July
2, 2012, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
S/LaShawn R. Saulsberry
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