Peoples v. FCA US LLC
OPINION & ORDER Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration (Dkt. 53 )and Denying Plaintiff's Motion to Submit a Reply Brief (Dkt. 55 ) Signed by District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith. (Sandusky, K)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 15-14003
Hon. Mark A. Goldsmith
FCA US LLC,
OPINION & ORDER
DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (Dkt. 53)
AND DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO SUBMIT A REPLY BRIEF (Dkt. 55)
On May 24, 2017, this Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 37)
on the basis that Plaintiff Peoples could not show that Defendant’s legitimate, nondiscriminatory
reasons for disciplining and terminating him were mere pretexts for discrimination or retaliation;
he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to a Title VII hostile work environment claim;
his evidence of a hostile work environment claim related to his disability was unconnected to his
disability and, in any case, the alleged environment was insufficiently hostile as a matter of law;
and his negligent infliction of emotional distress claim was preempted by Michigan’s Worker’s
Disability Compensation Act. See generally 5/24/2017 Op. & Order (Dkt. 51).
On June 7, 2017, Peoples timely filed a motion for reconsideration under Eastern District
of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(h), claiming that this Court’s May 24, 2017 opinion contained
“palpable defects” that, if corrected, would lead to a different result. See Mot. for Reconsideration
at 1-2 (Dkt. 53). Notwithstanding his initial statement that it was this Court that committed the
errors, however, Peoples then immediately state that his motion is necessary to “correct and clarify
the facts contained in the record” and “clarify his position.” Id. at 2. This concession accurately
reflects why his motion must be denied: his motion relies upon arguments that could have been
timely made, and evidence that could have been timely added to the record.
I. STANDARD OF DECISION
Rule 7.1(h) of the Local Rules for the Eastern District of Michigan provides that a motion
for reconsideration shall be granted only if the movant can (i) “demonstrate a palpable defect by
which the court and the parties . . . have been misled,” and (ii) show that “correcting the defect
will result in a different disposition of the case.” E. D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3). A “palpable defect”
is a defect which is obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest, or plain. Mktg. Displays, Inc. v. Traffix
Devices, Inc., 971 F. Supp. 262, 278 (E.D. Mich. 1997) (citing Webster’s New World Dictionary
974 (3d ed. 1988)). A motion for reconsideration which presents the same issues already ruled
upon by the court, either expressly or by reasonable implication, generally will not be granted.
E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3); see also Czajkowski v. Tindall & Assocs., P.C., 967 F. Supp. 951, 952
(E.D. Mich. 1997).
No response to a motion for reconsideration is permitted unless the court orders otherwise.
See E. D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(2).
Peoples’ first argument concerns the analysis of his treatment at the paint shop job that
Peoples began shortly before he was disciplined and terminated. See Pl. Mot. for Reconsideration
at 14. On this point, this Court held that (i) Peoples could not show pretext for retaliation on
temporal proximity alone; and (ii) in the alternative, Peoples admitted that he could not do the job
despite having been trained for it. 5/24/2017 Op. & Order at 21-22 & n.14. In opposition to this
reasoning, Plaintiff cites the training rights protected by the Collective Bargaining Agreement
(“CBA”) between Defendant and his union to prove that the training he received was not adequate.
See Pl. Mot. for Reconsideration at 14-16. He does not offer argument or evidence that the denial
of adequate training was retaliatory.
Peoples does not point to any place in the record in which he cited the CBA for the
proposition that it granted him a certain level of training that Defendant did not afford him before
disciplining him. The complaint does not mention the alleged lack of training, or retaliation short
of termination, at all. See Compl. ¶¶ 23-25 (Dkt. 1). Peoples’ motion for partial summary
judgment only mentions the CBA in the context of rotation violations in 2011 and February 2013,
see Pl. Mot. for. Summ. J. at 7, 16, 23 (Dkt. 38), not training violations in 2014; and his reply brief
(Dkt. 47) does not mention the CBA at all. His response to Defendant’s motion for summary
judgment (Dkt. 42) does not mention the CBA. Peoples’ 2015 EEOC charge supports that he
believed that he was asked to perform the job “without adequate training,” see 2015 EEOC Charge,
Ex. BB to Def. Mot. for Summ. J. (Dkt. 37-29); yet he did not see fit to include this argument in
his briefing. This Court did not commit palpable error for failing to consider evidence that Peoples
did not utilize in connection with his retaliation claim.
Also regarding the paint shop job, Peoples repeats his argument that he protested that the
job fell outside of his medical restrictions. See Pl. Mot. for Reconsideration at 17. However, he
makes no argument directed at this Court’s May 24, 2017 opinion, let alone identify how it
palpably erred. Because Peoples has not attempted to show palpable error, this argument is
Nor does Peoples’ evidence support his argument, notwithstanding his failure to focus on
this Court’s opinion. He cites medical restrictions that permitted limited lifting and bending to
some degree; then he claims that Brad Devine testified that the paint shop job “required Plaintiff
to engage in lifting and bending at the torso level in violation of Plaintiff’s medical restrictions.”
Pl. Mot. for Reconsideration at 17. First, as Peoples frames them, his restrictions do not prohibit
all bending. Second, the instant motion does not point to where in Devine’s deposition that Devine
conceded that the job violated the restrictions.1 Third, Devine actually testified that the paint shop
job fell within the restrictions. See Devine Dep. Tr., Ex. T to Def. Mot. for Summ. J., at 94-95
Peoples also contests this Court’s holding that he failed to create a fact question whether
he complied with the “5-day letter,” which required him to substantiate his absence. See Pl. Mot.
for Reconsideration at 17. In support of his claim that he submitted a doctor’s note, Peoples offers
his Employee Medical Record, which does appear to show that a note was submitted. See Empl.
Med. Record, Ex. G to Pl. Mot. for Reconsideration, at 1 (Dkt. 53-7). In his motion, however, he
did not cite this evidence; and, in his response to Chrysler’s motion, he only cited this document
as evidence of unrelated events that occurred in 2012. See Pl. Resp. at 6. The document is not
properly considered on a motion for reconsideration for this purpose, and this Court did not err by
failing to scrutinize the document for a particular significance other than the one timely advanced
by the party who offered it.
Rather than citing his medical record, Peoples cited to the note itself as proof that he
submitted the note. See Pl. Mot. for Summ. J. at 18. Likewise, in his response to Defendant’s
In his response to Defendant’s motion for summary judgment, Peoples claimed that Devine
conceded that the paint shop job fell outside of Peoples’s medical restrictions on pages 124, 125,
and 127 of Devine’s deposition. See Pl. Resp. at 9 (Dkt. 42) (citing Devine Dep. Tr., Ex. L to Pl.
Resp., at 124, 125, 127 (Dkt. 42-12)). The cited testimony describes the walk-through of Peoples’s
workstation that occurred after Peoples left by ambulance on October 22, 2014. To the limited
extent this testimony pertains to whether the job fit within Peoples’s restrictions, it reflects the
plant doctor’s conclusion that the job did not violate the restrictions. See Devine Dep. Tr. at 125:915.
motion, Peoples again only used the note itself as proof of its submission. See Pl. Resp. to Def.
Mot. for Summ. J. at 10. And, for a third time, in his reply brief, he cited the note itself as proof
of its submission to Defendant. See Pl. Reply at 3. In his reply, Peoples also cited his own
testimony that he brought in some form of documentation; but in that testimony Peoples stated that
he was unsure of what he brought in or which doctor wrote the note; and, in any case, he did not
create a fact question whether the note was “satisfactory.” See id.; Pl. Dep. Tr., Ex. H to Pl. Reply,
at 225-228 (Dkt. 47-8).
Relatedly, Peoples now cites the CBA for the proposition that his October 29, 2014
documentation was satisfactory. Pl. Mot. for Reconsideration at 18 (“Plaintiff’s request for leave
was viable.”). As noted above, Peoples may not newly invoke the CBA for a purpose that could
have been invoked during the normal course of briefing. Because Peoples is attempting to
untimely admit evidence that was not cited for the instant purpose, it is not properly considered on
a motion for reconsideration; and the Court remains convinced that it reached the correct result on
the evidence that was submitted.
Finally, Peoples disputes this Court’s conclusion that he did not create a fact question
sufficient to survive summary judgment on his hostile work environment claim. This portion of
the motion cites no evidence, fails to point out any particular error committed by this Court, and
restates arguments made and rejected when the cross-motions for summary judgment were
decided. See Pl. Mot. for Reconsideration at 19-20. Each of these reasons is independently
sufficient to deny a motion for reconsideration on this point.
III. PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO SUBMIT REPLY BRIEF (Dkt 55)
After Chrysler submitted its court-ordered response (Dkt. 54) to Peoples’s motion for
reconsideration, Peoples sought leave to file a reply brief (Dkt. 55).
Peoples’s motion is denied. The motion states that Peoples “would like the opportunity to
submit a reply so that [he] can explain why the facts [he] sought to correct should not be
disregarded.” See Pl. Mot. for Supp. Br. at 2. This misapprehends the purpose of a motion for
reconsideration, which, as explained above, is to correct an error of the court. Far from identifying
any error of this Court, Peoples’s motion attempts to use the motion to submit new evidence, or to
resubmit existing evidence for a different purpose. A reply brief that restates these types of
arguments will not serve Peoples’s cause. Furthermore, it should be noted that this Court’s
decision to deny the motion for reconsideration was not aided by Chrysler’s response. It is
therefore not inequitable to deny Peoples the opportunity to correct any misstatements of fact made
in Chrysler’s response.
For the reasons set forth above, Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration (Dkt. 53) is denied,
and Plaintiff’s motion to submit a reply brief (Dkt. 55) is denied.
Dated: August 16, 2017
s/Mark A. Goldsmith
MARK A. GOLDSMITH
United States District Judge
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record and any
unrepresented parties via the Court's ECF System to their respective email or First Class U.S. mail
addresses disclosed on the Notice of Electronic Filing on August 16, 2017.
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