Logan v. MGM Grand Detroit Casino
OPINION and ORDER Rejecting Plaintiff's Objections to Magistrate Judge's 51 Report and Recommendation, and Granting Defendant's 40 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (RLou)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Civil Case No. 16-10585
Honorable Linda V. Parker
MGM GRAND DETROIT CASINO,
OPINION AND ORDER REJECTING PLAINTIFF’S OBJECTIONS TO
MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S FEBRUARY 12, 2018 REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION AND GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR
On February 17, 2016, Plaintiff Barbrie Logan commenced this lawsuit alleging
sex discrimination and retaliation by her former employer, Defendant MGM Grand
Detroit Casino. The matter has been referred to Magistrate Judge Anthony P. Patti for all
pretrial matters. (ECF No. 18.)
On July 13, 2017, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (ECF No. 40.) In a Report and Recommendation
filed February 12, 2018, Magistrate Judge Patti recommends that the Court grant the
motion. (ECF No. 51.) Specifically, Magistrate Judge Patti finds that Plaintiff’s claims
are barred by the six-month statute of limitations set forth in a pre-employment
“Disclosure, Release, and Authorization” Plaintiff completed as part of her online job
application. Magistrate Judge Patti concludes that the six-month limitations period is
enforceable but must take into consideration the EEOC’s period of exclusive jurisdiction.
At the conclusion of his decision, Magistrate Judge Patti informs the parties that
they must file any objections to the R&R within fourteen days. Plaintiff filed objections
on February 27, 2018. (ECF No. 52.)
When objections are filed to a magistrate judge’s R&R on a dispositive
matter, the Court “make[s] a de novo determination of those portions of the report
or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.”
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Court, however, “is not required to articulate all of the
reasons it rejects a party’s objections.” Thomas v. Halter, 131 F. Supp. 2d 942,
944 (E.D. Mich. 2001) (citations omitted). A party’s failure to file objections to
certain conclusions of the R&R waives any further right to appeal on those issues.
See Smith v. Detroit Fed’n of Teachers Local 231, 829 F.2d 1370, 1373 (6th Cir.
1987). Likewise, the failure to object to certain conclusions in the magistrate
judge’s report releases the Court from its duty to independently review those
issues. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985).
As an initial matter, Plaintiff raises numerous complaints in her objections that do
not address Magistrate Judge Patti’s legal conclusion that her claims are time barred. As
such, the Court finds it unnecessary to address them. The Court will respond, however,
to Plaintiff’s objections to certain words or phrases used by Magistrate Judge Patti, which
Plaintiff asserts are reflective of his bias against her or of his unfair treatment of her
claims. Magistrate Judge Patti’s R&R in fact reflects thoughtful, fair, and careful
consideration of Plaintiff’s claims, the issues raised in Defendant’s motion for summary
judgment, and Plaintiff’s response to the motion. The Court thus turns to those
objections by Plaintiff that actually address Magistrate Judge Patti’s statute of limitations
Plaintiff challenges Magistrate Judge Patti’s conclusion that her claims are timebarred, asserting that she did not agree to the six-month limitations period. While
Plaintiff does not expressly deny clicking the “yes” button to reflect her agreement with
the Disclosure, Release, and Authorization, she states: “It may have been possible or
expedient to simply click the YES button in order to submit the application in the time
allotted, without reading and/or understanding its contents.” (Obj. at 9, ECF No. 52 at Pg
ID 1096.) Plaintiff further argues that the pre-employment application containing the sixmonth limitations period expired ninety days after she completed it on February 20, 2017,
and that it therefore did not control her employment when she was hired August 1, 2007.
First, Plaintiff failed to raise these arguments in response to Defendant’s summary
judgment motion. (See ECF No. 42.) Any arguments made for the first time in
objections to an R&R are deemed waived. Uduko v. Cozzens, 975 F. Supp. 2d 750, 757
(E.D. Mich. 2013) (citing Murr v. United States, 200 F.3d 895, 902 n.1 (6th Cir. 2000)).
As the Sixth Circuit explained in Murr, while 28 U.S.C. § 636 permits de novo review by
the district court if timely objections are filed to an R&R, “it does not allow parties to
raise at the district court stage new arguments or issues that were not presented to the
magistrate [judge].” 200 F.3d at 200 n.1 (citing United States v. Waters, 158 F.3d 933,
936 (6th Cir. 1998)). The Court acknowledges that Plaintiff attempted to file a sur-reply
brief in response to Defendant’s motion; however, she never indicated in her request to
file the sur-reply that she sought to present the arguments she now raises. (See ECF No.
46.) In any event, Plaintiff’s newly asserted arguments lack merit.
Plaintiff agreed to be bound by the six-month limitations period when she clicked
“yes” in response to the question of whether she agreed with the terms of the Disclosure,
Release, and Authorization and then electronically signed her name. Under Michigan
law (which applies to this Court’s analysis of whether a valid agreement was formed),
“[a] record or signature shall not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because it
is in electronic form.” Mich. Comp. Laws § 450.837. Further, under Michigan law, a
party who signs a contract (in this case an agreement to be bound by a six-month statute
of limitations) ordinarily is presumed to have read, understood and assented to its terms.
Burkhardt v. Bailey, 680 N.W.2d 453, 464 (Mich. Ct. App. 2004); see also Stout v. J.D.
Byrider, 228 F.3d 709, 715 (6th Cir. 2000) (“One who signs a contract is presumed to
know its contents, and ... is bound by its provisions.”) (ellipsis in original and citations
Further, and contrary to Plaintiff’s assertion, the terms of the Disclosure, Release,
and Authorization did not expire in ninety days. The provision itself does not contain a
time limit on its application, and instead states to the contrary: “This release and
authorization shall remain valid and in effect during my employment . . ..” (ECF No. 404 at Pg ID 641, emphasis added.) Moreover, by agreeing to the Disclosure, Release, and
Authorization, Plaintiff expressly agreed “that any claim or lawsuit arising out of my
employment with, or my application for employment with, MGM Grand . . . must be filed
no more than six (6) months after the date of the employment action that is the subject of
the claim or lawsuit.” (Id., emphasis added.) Presumably Plaintiff intended for her
employment to last longer than ninety days. The reference to ninety-days on which
Plaintiff replies is found elsewhere in the employment application and is limited
expressly to how long the application will be considered current. (See id. at Pg ID 642.)
Plaintiff’s next objection relates to her assertion that the claim she filed with the
State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Unemployment
Insurance Agency tolled the statute of limitations. Magistrate Judge Patti thoroughly
addressed that argument (see R&R at 13-14, ECF No. 51 at Pg ID 1077-78), and
correctly in this Court’s view.
Plaintiff also objects to the R&R based on her assertion that she satisfied the six
month limitations period by filing this lawsuit sixteen days after certain “postemployment retaliatory action.” The action Plaintiff is referring to is conduct by an
employee from Defendant’s Human Resources Department during the June 22, 2015
telephonic hearing before an ALJ on her unemployment benefits claim. (See Obj. at 1011, ECF No. 52 at Pg ID 1097-98.) Again, Plaintiff raises this argument for the first time
in her objections and thus it is waived. In any event, Plaintiff does not mention this postemployment conduct anywhere in her Complaint as a basis for the sex discrimination or
retaliation claims asserted here. (See Compl., ECF No. 1.) Nor does Plaintiff refer to this
conduct in her response to Defendant’s summary judgment motion.1 (See Pl.’s Resp.,
ECF No. 42.) As such, the limitations period did not begin to run for purposes of this
lawsuit when the alleged post-employment retaliatory conduct occurred.
Despite Plaintiff’s assertions to the contrary, this Court does not find any disputes
of fact relevant to the statute of limitations issue. The Court also concludes that
Magistrate Judge Patti correctly analyzed the legal issue of whether the six-month
limitations period bars Plaintiff’s claims. The Court therefore adopts the
recommendations in Magistrate Judge Patti’s February 12, 2018 R&R. Nevertheless,
because the Court finds the issues raised by Plaintiff to have been meritorious, it is
denying Defendant’s request for costs and attorney’s fees.
IT IS ORDERED that Defendant’s motion for summary judgment is
s/ Linda V. Parker
LINDA V. PARKER
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: March 7, 2018
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of record
and/or pro se parties on this date, March 7, 2018, by electronic and/or U.S. First Class
s/ R. Loury
Notably, Plaintiff also did not include this conduct in her EEOC complaint, which
identifies the conduct complained of as occurring between September 12 and
December 14, 2014. (See ECF No. 40-17 at Pg ID 779.)
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