Harris v. Heritage Home Health Care, Case No. 10–14172.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
Writing for the CourtPAUL D. BORMAN
Citation939 F.Supp.2d 793
PartiesKanica HARRIS, Plaintiff, v. HERITAGE HOME HEALTH CARE, Anthonia Bamishe and Taiwo Ogunleye, Defendant(s).
Decision Date29 March 2013
Docket NumberCase No. 10–14172.

939 F.Supp.2d 793

Kanica HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
HERITAGE HOME HEALTH CARE, Anthonia Bamishe and Taiwo Ogunleye, Defendant(s).

Case No. 10–14172.

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

March 29, 2013.


[939 F.Supp.2d 795]


Shawn C. Cabot, Amy J. Derouin, Christopher Trainer and Associates, White Lake, MI, for Plaintiff.

Kenneth A. Rich, Rich and Campbell, Farmington Hills, MI, for Defendant(s).

[939 F.Supp.2d 796]


OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 21)

PAUL D. BORMAN, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 21.) Plaintiff filed a Response. (ECF No. 33.) Defendants did not file a reply. The Court held a hearing on March 9, 2012. Following the hearing, the parties informed the Court that there were engaged in settlement negotiations. On or about March 19, 2013, the Court was informed that the parties have been unable to reach a settlement. Now, for the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS IN PART Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.

I. INTRODUCTION

In May 2005, Kanica Harris (“Harris”) began working for Heritage Home Health Care (“Heritage”) as a medical biller. Plaintiff's main responsibility was to ensure that Defendant Heritage received insurance and Medicare reimbursements for medical treatment provided to patients. In April 2008, Taiwo Ogunleye (“Ogunleye”) joined Heritage and became a fifty percent co-owner of Heritage with Anthonia Bamishe (“Bamishe”).

In late 2008, Defendants realized there were an unusually large number of bill denials from Medicare which Plaintiff had not appealed. On December 2, 2008, Defendant Bamishe left a note for Plaintiff regarding the issue. On December 3, 2008, Defendant Ogunleye and Defendant Bamishe met with Plaintiff to address the issue. Defendant Bamishe gave Plaintiff a memorandum assigning Plaintiff certain daily and monthly tasks to resolve the billing problem. Prior to this early December performance issue, and as recently as May, 2008, Plaintiff had received very good, indeed “outstanding,” performance reviews. (ECF No. 33, Pl.'s Resp. Ex. D, September 14, 2011 Deposition of Anthonia Bamishe, 71–72.)

On December 9, 2008, Plaintiff reported to Defendant Bamishe that Defendant Ogunleye had sexually harassed Plaintiff. (ECF No. 1, Compl. ¶ 23.) Plaintiff testified at her deposition that Defendant Ogunleye would rub his hands on Plaintiff's upper arms, shoulders, thighs, and under her skirt; that Defendant Ogunleye would comment to Plaintiff that Plaintiff was afraid to have sex with him; that on April 12, 2008, Defendant Ogunleye attempted to pull down the top of Plaintiff's dress; that on June 15, 2008, Defendant Ogunleye told Plaintiff's coworkers, in reference to Plaintiff and in Plaintiff's presence, “look at that b* * * *, she wants me to f* * * her;” that on August 16, 2008, Defendant Ogunleye followed Plaintiff into the women's bathroom, exposed his erect penis, and said he wanted Plaintiff to perform oral sex on him; and that on December 15, 2008, Defendant Ogunleye called Plaintiff at work and said he loved her. (ECF No. 33, Pl.'s Resp. Ex. A, June 7, 2011 Deposition of Kanica Harris, 34–36; Compl. ¶¶ 16–22.)

Ursula Rious, a co-worker of Plaintiff at Heritage, testified that she observed Defendant Ogunleye rub Plaintiff's arms, that Defendant Ogunleye commented to Plaintiff and others about Plaintiff's breasts being large and commented to Ms. Rious and others that Plaintiff “just wanted [Ogunleye] to f* * * her.” (ECF No. 33, Pl.'s Resp. Ex. B, Sept. 16, 2011 Deposition of Ursula Rious, 18–19.) Ms. Rious testified that she encouraged Plaintiff to file a complaint with the EEOC. Id. at 20.

Erika Smith, another Heritage employee, also heard Defendant Ogunleye comment that Plaintiff dressed like she “wanted [Ogunleye] to f* * * her.” (ECF No. 33, Pl.'s Resp. Ex. E, July 26, 2011 Deposition

[939 F.Supp.2d 797]

of Erika Smith, 19.) Ms. Smith testified that this was said in a joking manner and that Plaintiff did not indicate that she was upset with the comment. Id. at 21–22. Another co-worker, Erika Posey, testified that Plaintiff told her that Defendant Ogunleye pushed Plaintiff into the bathroom at work and tried to show Plaintiff his “private parts.” (ECF No. 33, Ex. F, August 16, 2011 Deposition of Erika Posey, 24, 116–17.)

After receiving Plaintiff's complaints on December 9, 2008, Defendant Bamishe instituted a new sexual harassment policy, installed surveillance cameras, decreased Defendant Ogunleye's time in the office and required Plaintiff to report to Monica Miller in an effort to decrease the necessity of contact between Defendant Ogunleye and Plaintiff. (ECF No. 22–3, Def.'s Mot.App. Sept. 14, 2011 Deposition of Anthonia Bamishe, Pg ID 639–40; ECF No. 22, Def.'s Mot.App., August 16, 2011 Deposition of Erika Posey, Pg ID 199.)

On January 24, 2009, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).1 On February 11, 2009, Defendant Bamishe fired Plaintiff for insubordination, poor attitude, and for directing derogatory remarks toward Defendant Bamishe. Plaintiff received her right to sue letter on August 11, 2010, and this action followed.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a party against whom a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim is asserted may “at any time, move with or without supporting affidavits, for a summary judgment in the party's favor as to all or any part thereof.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(b). Summary judgment is appropriate where the moving party demonstrates that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to the existence of an essential element of the nonmoving party's case on which the nonmoving party would bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). “Of course, [the moving party] always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,’ which it believes demonstrate the absence of genuine issue of material fact.” Id. at 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548;see also Gutierrez v. Lynch, 826 F.2d 1534, 1536 (6th Cir.1987).

A fact is “material” for purposes of a motion for summary judgment where proof of that fact “would have [the] effect of establishing or refuting one of the essential elements of a cause of action or defense asserted by the parties.” Kendall v. Hoover Co., 751 F.2d 171, 174 (6th Cir.1984) (quoting Black's Law Dictionary 771 (6th ed. 1979)) (citations omitted). A dispute over a material fact is genuine “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247–48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Conversely, where a reasonable jury could not find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue of material fact for trial. Feliciano v. City of Cleveland, 988 F.2d 649, 654 (6th Cir.1993). In making this evaluation, the court must examine the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Bender v. Southland Corp., 749 F.2d 1205, 1210–11 (6th Cir.1984).

[939 F.Supp.2d 798]

If this burden is met by the moving party, the nonmoving party's failure to make a showing that is “sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial,” will mandate the entry of summary judgment. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322–23, 106 S.Ct. 2548. The nonmoving party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleadings, but the response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in Rule 56, must set forth specific facts which demonstrate that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The rule requires that nonmoving party to introduce “evidence of evidentiary quality” demonstrating the existence of a material fact. Bailey v. Floyd County Bd. of Educ., 106 F.3d 135, 145 (6th Cir.1997); see also Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (holding that the nonmoving party must produce more than a scintilla of evidence to survive summary judgment).

III. ANALYSIS

Defendants move for partial summary judgment on the claims advanced in Plaintiff's Complaint. Defendant Bamishe moves for summary judgment on all six Counts of Plaintiff's Complaint. The Court will grant the motion as to Defendant Bamishe on Counts I, II, III, and V and deny the motion as to Defendant Bamishe on Counts IV and VI. Defendant Ogunleye moves for summary judgment on Counts I, III, V and VI. The Court will grant Defendant Ogunleye's motion for summary judgment on Counts I, III and V and deny Defendant Ogunleye's motion for summary judgment on Count VI. Defendant Heritage moves for summary judgment on Counts IV, V and VI. The Court will deny Defendant Heritage's motion on Counts IV, V and VI. Accordingly, just to clarify, the case will proceed to trial against Defendant Heritage on all Counts of the Complaint, Counts I, II, III, IV, V and VI. The case will proceed against Defendant Ogunleye on Counts II, IV and VI. The case will proceed against Defendant Bamishe on Counts IV and VI.

A. Individual Liability under Title VII (Counts I, III and V Against Defendants Bamishe and Ogunleye)

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an individual because of that individual's sex. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e–2(a)(1). For purposes of Title VII, an employer is “a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has fifteen or more employees for each working day in each twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such person ....” 242 U.S.C. § 2000e(b).

It is not disputed that...

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7 practice notes
  • Reeder v. Cnty. of Wayne, Case No. 15-cv-10177
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • April 6, 2016
    ...under Title VII and the ELCRA. See Abbott v. Crown Motor Co. , 348 F.3d 537, 543 (6th Cir.2003) ; Harris v. Heritage Home Health Care , 939 F.Supp.2d 793, 803 (E.D.Mich.2013). Since Plaintiff filed a charge with the EEOC, alleging racial discrimination, prior to his termination, this act co......
  • Doe v. Grand Co., Case No. 18-cv-13123
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • February 18, 2020
    ...the agency provision 'was to incorporate respondeat superior liability into the statute." Harris v. Heritage Home Health Care, 939 F. Supp. 2d 793, 799 (E.D. Mich. 2013) (citing Wathen, 115 F.3d at 406). Another found that "when a corporate employer is already being sued under Tit......
  • Knight v. Maaco Auto Body & Paint, 4:20-cv-00186-KGB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Eastern District of Arkansas
    • September 16, 2021
    ...ownership interest provides a legal basis for individual liability under Title VII. See Harris v. Heritage Home Health Care, 939 F.Supp.2d 793, 800 (E.D. Mich. 2013) (rejecting argument that individual defendants could be liable under Title VII based on their status as owners and agents); P......
  • Bardwell v. Shoney's Rest., CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:18-CV-31-GNS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of Kentucky
    • April 5, 2018
    ...as an "employer" under the statute, may not be personally liable under Title VII); Harris v. Heritage Home Health Care, 939 F. Supp. 2d 793, 798-800 (E.D. Mich. 2013) (collecting cases and holding that individuals cannot be held liable under Title VII based upon their alleged stat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Reeder v. Cnty. of Wayne, Case No. 15-cv-10177
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • April 6, 2016
    ...under Title VII and the ELCRA. See Abbott v. Crown Motor Co. , 348 F.3d 537, 543 (6th Cir.2003) ; Harris v. Heritage Home Health Care , 939 F.Supp.2d 793, 803 (E.D.Mich.2013). Since Plaintiff filed a charge with the EEOC, alleging racial discrimination, prior to his termination, this act co......
  • Doe v. Grand Co., Case No. 18-cv-13123
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • February 18, 2020
    ...the agency provision 'was to incorporate respondeat superior liability into the statute." Harris v. Heritage Home Health Care, 939 F. Supp. 2d 793, 799 (E.D. Mich. 2013) (citing Wathen, 115 F.3d at 406). Another found that "when a corporate employer is already being sued under Tit......
  • Knight v. Maaco Auto Body & Paint, 4:20-cv-00186-KGB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Eastern District of Arkansas
    • September 16, 2021
    ...ownership interest provides a legal basis for individual liability under Title VII. See Harris v. Heritage Home Health Care, 939 F.Supp.2d 793, 800 (E.D. Mich. 2013) (rejecting argument that individual defendants could be liable under Title VII based on their status as owners and agents); P......
  • Bardwell v. Shoney's Rest., CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:18-CV-31-GNS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of Kentucky
    • April 5, 2018
    ...as an "employer" under the statute, may not be personally liable under Title VII); Harris v. Heritage Home Health Care, 939 F. Supp. 2d 793, 798-800 (E.D. Mich. 2013) (collecting cases and holding that individuals cannot be held liable under Title VII based upon their alleged stat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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