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Boyed v. Management Registry Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division

March 30, 2017

Mark Boyed, Plaintiff,
v.
Dana Incorporated, et al., Defendant.

          ORDER

          James G. Carr Sr. U.S. District Judge.

         This is a suit under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq., and O.R.C. § 4112.01, et seq.

         Defendant Management Registry Inc. and Malone Staffing Georgia, LLC (jointly, MRI) are temporary staffing agencies that provided employees, including plaintiff Mark Boyed, to defendant Dana Driveshaft Manufacturing (misnamed Dana Incorporated) (Dana). Defendant Donathan was plaintiff's supervisor at Dana. Defendant Bailey is an employee of MRI.

         Plaintiff, who is bipolar and schizophrenic, claims that the defendants failed to inform him of his rights under the FMLA and interfered with his exercise of those rights.

         Dana has filed a motion to dismiss the FMLA claim against it, and thereon, to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's state law claims, as to which there is no diversity of citizenship. (Doc. 11).

         For the reasons that follow, I grant Dana's motion.

         Background

         Due to his mental illness, plaintiff from time to time needed to obtain medial treatment, often without much warning. He never made a formal FMLA request. About six months before the events giving rise to this suit, a Dana lead supervisor, Mr. Clayton, had told the plaintiff that if he ever had an issue about attending a medical appointment simply to go to the appointment. According to plaintiff, Clayton had said, “just tell whoever had the issue that Clayton said it was approved.”

         Though plaintiff alleges that both Dana and MRI were aware of his illness, plaintiff first told Donathan about his condition on May 20, 2015. After he made that disclosure, Donathan's attitude toward plaintiff visibly changed; their relationship, which had been friendly, was no longer so.

         Due to the effect on his mental state of Donathan's changed attitude, plaintiff wanted to seek medical treatment. The earliest available appointment was June 5, 2015, at 6:15 p.m. On June 1st plaintiff asked his supervisor at MRI, defendant Chad Bailey, for approval to work on June 5th from 3:00pm-5:30pm, and return at 7:00pm to finish the shift. Bailey indicated that he had to obtain final approval from Donathan.

         On June 4th, Bailey told plaintiff he had spoken with Donathan, and was not able to approve plaintiff's request to go to the appointment. If plaintiff went any way, Bailey said, he'd lose his job at Dana. Plaintiff told Bailey how important the appointment was. He also told him about lead supervisor Clayton's statement to him six months earlier to go to his appointments if he needed to do so. Plaintiff assumed he'd be covered during his absence on June 5th.

         On June 5th, plaintiff arrived early for his shift at 2:15pm. Before he could begin, a Dana guard stopped him and escorted him to a room. Bailey entered and told plaintiff his assignment at Dana was ending. According to Bailey, Donathan decided to terminate the assignment for “attitude” and “low productivity.”

         Plaintiff claims disability discrimination under O.R.C. § 4112.01, et seq., as to all defendants, aiding and abetting disability discrimination against Donathan and Bailey, and interference with his rights under the FMLA, due to the failure to notify him of those rights, against all defendants.

         Discussion

         The gravamen of Dana's motion is that it, despite its employment of plaintiff, had no obligation under the FMLA to advise him of his FMLA rights or to grant him FMLA leave. That obligation rested, instead, Dana argues, solely with MRI.

         The basis for this contention is that Dana, although it might have been plaintiff's “joint employer, ” along with MRI, for purposes of the FMLA, see 29 C.F.R. § § 825.106(b)(1), Dana was his “secondary employer.” As such, it had no obligation to advise the plaintiff of his FMLA rights. That duty, Dana contends, belonged to MRI alone because MRI was plaintiff's “primary employer.” See 29 C.F.R. ...


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