United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
Jeffrey J. Helmick United States District Judge.
G. Williams was hired by OmniSource Corporation in March
2007. Williams was employed as a maintenance mechanic at the
company's Hill Avenue facility in Toledo, Ohio. He became
a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local
20 after being employed with OmniSource for sixty days. As a
member of Local 20, Williams received a copy of the
applicable collective bargaining agreement between OmniSource
and the Union. David Dawson was hired by OmniSource in
December 2012 and was the maintenance supervisor for the Hill
Avenue facility during the events at issue.
contends he was harassed by Dawson and other employees as
summarized in the complaint's statement of relevant
6. Plaintiff states that he was employed by Omnisource as a
maintenance worker/mechanic. At times, his supervisor, Dave
Dawson, has grabbed, pushed and pulled him while working. He
has screamed at Plaintiff and chased him with his arms
extended. Specifically, Plaintiff states on one occasion,
David Dawson put his hands on Plaintiff from behind when
Plaintiff was holding a lit torch.
7. Plaintiff states that on another occasion, Dave Dawson
chased Plaintiff around with a forklift. In the past, Hector
Munoz, a co-worker, has told Plaintiff he is an
“asshole, ” and is “worthless, ” told
Plaintiff to “suck my penis, ” and threated
Plaintiff that he would “screw” Plaintiff
“in the anus, ” in the presence of Dave Dawson,
who took no action as a result. Management was aware of
Munoz's harassment, which occurred on a daily basis.
8. Plaintiff states that despite these actions being
witnesses by other employees and his supervisor and
Plaintiff's reports of the conduct to the Plant Manager,
no disciplinary action was taken against Defendant Dawson.
9. Thereafter, on September 17, 2013, Defendant Dawson was
following Plaintiff and harassing him. Dawson approached
Plaintiff and demanded his resignation. Plaintiff states that
he refused to resign, and felt cornered by Dawson and another
employee. He smacked a nearby railed [sic] and stated that
Dawson made him sick.
10. Another Supervisor then was paged and appeared with an
off duty Toledo Police Officer, who escorted Plaintiff from
the property. Plaintiff was suspended until the situation was
“figured out.” Plaintiff then suffered a panic
attack, and was hospitalized for four days.
11. Nine days later, Plaintiff states that he was again
requested to resign his employment. He refused.
12. The following day, Plaintiff was arrested at his home
following a police report being filed by Dawson and
Omnisource. Plaintiff states that the statements contained in
the police report are false.
(Amended Complaint, Doc. No. 24 at pp. 3-4).
was subsequently terminated from employment from OmniSource
and contends Local 20 did nothing to assist him.
upon this background, Williams initiated this litigation
asserting the following claims: (1) assault and battery
against OmniSource and Dawson; (2) negligent hiring,
detention, and supervision against OmniSource; (3) disability
discrimination under the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a) and
O.R.C. § 4112.02(a)(13) against OmniSource; (4)
negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress, or
both against OmniSource and Dawson; (5) defamation against
OmniSource and Dawson; (6) invasion of privacy against
OmniSource and Dawson; (7) breach of the collective
bargaining agreement under 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) against
OmniSource; and (8) breach of duty of fair representation
against Local 20.
matter is before me on the Defendants' motions for
summary judgment (Doc. Nos. 35 and 37), Plaintiff's
opposition (Doc. Nos. 38 and 39), and Defendants' replies
(Doc. Nos. 43 and 44). This Court has jurisdiction pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. For the reasons that follow, the
Defendants' motions are granted.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate if the movant demonstrates there is
no genuine dispute of material fact and that the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
All evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to
the nonmovant, White v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 533
F.3d 381, 390 (6th Cir. 2008), and all reasonable inferences
are drawn in the nonmovant's favor. Rose v. State
Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 766 F.3d 532, 535 (6th Cir.
2014). A factual dispute is genuine if a reasonable jury
could resolve the dispute and return a verdict in the
nonmovant's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A disputed fact is
material only if its resolution might affect the outcome of
the case under the governing substantive law. Rogers v.
O'Donnell, 737 F.3d 1026, 1030 (6th Cir. 2013).
testified he taught Dawson how to do work orders after Dawson
began working at OmniSource. (Doc. No. 36-9 at p. 67)
Williams stated he did not like Dawson. (Id. at p.
73). He also testified the harassment by Dawson began about
several months after Dawson became his supervisor.
(Id. at p. 79). Williams stated he was harassed by
Dawson beginning in the spring of 2013 at which time
Dawson's father was dying. (Id.) Dawson's
father passed away on June 6, 2013. (Id.) All of the
relevant events occurred in 2013.
complained that Dawson would harass him by getting
“right in his ear, ” follow him around, and
startle him. These incidents were described by Angelo Alfaro,
a former co-worker:
Q: All right. Did you every observe anything as to how,
regarding how Mr. Dawson treated Jim Williams?
A: All I seen was - I called Jim on the radio and said I
needed hydraulic fluid in my forklift. He said, bring it up.
I took it up there. We opened it up together, a little
chitchat, bullshit, and then Jim went over to grab some
hydraulic fluid and Dave Dawson walked up and squatted down
when Jim was putting oil in and, I mean, got right in his
ear. You could say, what, not even 18 inches from his ear. It
was not a whisper. It was not a yell, but it was like, Jim,
how long is this going to take. Is it going to take you long.
I need you over here. I need you to do this. I put you to do
that. Jim was like, give me a minute. Let me put the oil in
here and I will be right with you.
Dawson continued to be in his ear and telling him, hey, how
long is this going to take Jim. Can Angelo do it. I am like,
I can't do it. I'm not a maintenance man. Jim got up
and walked around to the other side of the lift. Dawson was
right on his tail. He came right around again, 18 inches away
from his ear and started going again. Jim, how long is this
going to take you. Jim, how long is this going to take you.
Jim said, just let me get this done. I will be right with
you. So Jim walks around and he comes back over. Dawson,
again, still on his tail and this probably went on - he went
on the lift probably three times.
Q: Did Mr. Williams get loud or - A: No.
(Doc. No. 36-1 at p. 2). Alfaro also described a second
A: Another time, I will say this is probably a couple of days
later, maybe, a week at the most, I was driving the forklift
in to get serviced. Jim was on the left side of the
maintenance room. He was torching something. I don't know
what he was torching but he was cutting something with a
torch. Mr. Dawson come up on him. He wasn't running or
anything or anything like that. He just walked up to him and
grabbed Jim and startled him and said Jim. And then Jim fell
back with the torch. That's when Jim got mad. He said,
you can't be grabbing people like that. I could have hurt
somebody or hurt myself with this. That's when I just
turned and walked out.
(Id. at pp. 2-3). Mr. Alfaro also testified he
experienced being startled by Dawson and advised him to stop
this behavior. (Id.) Alfaro agreed that Williams
never complained to him about being mistreated by Dawson.
(Id. at p. 4).
same incident with the torch was described by plant manager,
A: I was doing my normal rounds with the golf cart and then I
had, Dave Dawson was on the golf cart. And we were coming up.
I usually take rounds all around the yard. That particular
day we came across - Jim was sitting and torching and I
stopped the cart and told Dave that again he needed to have a
shield on. He didn't have his shield on. He came back
from behind and tapped James on the shoulder. And as soon as
he touched him on the shoulder James jumped up, turned
around, and got really, really - his demeanor was just
really, like mad, just that quick and I said, James I says,
look, you need to calm down. He said something like, the guy
does not have to grab you. I said, James, he didn't grab
you. He tapped you.
I said, if anything, I said, he should have went around to
your peripheral vision or come straight on to get your
attention. Because I used to be an operator. I know when
somebody came up from behind me and tapped me usually believe
it or not, I came around with a full swing, if somebody came
up behind me. That's a reflex for me. I told him he had
to be peripheral or in front. He kept getting loud.
Obviously, there were some other people inside of the
maintenance shop. I said, James, let's go inside the
office. Let's talk in there.
So we all went in there. James was saying, well, you know,
you didn't have to grab me. I said, look, he didn't
grab you. I asked him if he wanted his union steward at the
time, too, and he said, no, not really. I want to get back to
work. I said ok. But I said, are you sure you don't want
your steward because, I said, obviously you're pretty
upset about this. But usually when these guys get upset, the
first thing I -- if I take them in the room I ask them if
they want their steward there. He said, no, I just want to
get back to work.
(Doc. No. 36-5 at p. 2).
September 13th, Williams recounted an incident with a baler
getting jammed. Williams was directed by Dawson to remove the
belt from the baler. (Id. at 84). Williams asked who
was responsible for the situation and was given an
explanation by co-worker Ken Samples. (Id.) Williams
testified there was a discussion regarding the baler and that
he (Williams) became “loudly verbal but I wasn't
yelling.” (Id. at p. 4).
incident was reported to Krista Zsiros, the Human Resources
Manager for OmniSource. Zsiros investigated and collected
statements by employees who witnessed the incidents. (Doc.
No. 36-11 at ¶ 5). The unsigned statement of employee
Jon Dale indicated the arguing between Williams, Hector
Munoz, and Ken Samples lasted 45 minutes and that Dawson
tried to stop Williams from arguing. (Id. at Exh. A,
p. 1). Statements by Munoz and Samples characterized Williams
as “getting out of control going off on everybody,
” and “unprofessional and belligerent.”
(Id. at pp. 3-4).
called off work on Monday, September 16th to take care of
issues related to his father's estate. (Id.) He
returned to work on Tuesday, September 17th.
his return to work, Williams contends he was confronted about
resigning. (Doc. No. 36-9 at p. 23). Williams could not
recall telling other employees he was quitting his job.
(Id.) Williams testified that Dawson wanted his
A: Him [Dawson] and Hector had me cornered in the kitchen
area and they was both screaming at me, give us your
resignation, and that's when I felt threatened and I was
backed into a corner by two employees.
Dave Dawson, he doesn't ask for nothing. No. He was just
screaming his head off at me. He just didn't know what -
you know, I wasn't resigning and I wasn't quitting.
Man is trying to grab me. I'm just trying to get away
from you before something happens. I'm trying to quell
the situation by me taking points off my record to get away
Q: Okay, when Mr. Dawson asked you if you were quitting, did
you say I'm sick of your ass, let's do it?
A: Yeah, I told him - I told him he literally made me sick. I
literally told him he makes me sick.
Q: Did you have tools in your hand during this conversation?
A: I had stuff, a couple things out my locker, like screw
drivers and stuff like that. No big crowbar.
Q: Okay. What did you have in your hands?
A: I had a screwdriver, I had a Stanley knife, I had a nail
puller, and I had my laser level, because my waterline in my
house broke and my corner -- corner of my porch sunk down
almost two-and-a-half foot. It almost crashed on the ground.
I had to re-block it up, so I needed some specialty tools to
get it back in order. So I needed these for the weekend. My
tools are at work.
. . . .
Q: Did you bang anything on the steel railing as Dawson and
Hector were walking down the stairs?
A: Dave Dawson turned around to scream at me one more time
and I had a nail puller about this big. I smacked it on the
railing and I said you literally make me sick. And that's
all that happened right there. Then he went running like a
little girl, Tom, Tom. And it was, like, you can't handle
a man situation. Why are you in my face six times in four
Q: Well, he wasn't in your face as he was walking down
the steps, was he?
A: Well, no, I made sure Hector was between us. I put space
between us. They wanted me to go first and they wasn't
pushing me off that 24 - - two-and-a-half foot story set of
steps. So Dave was holding the door saying come on, come on.
I said, no. I said, you go. I said, I will go with you to
your office, no problem. Then I said, come on, Hector,
let's go. So I created space between me and Dave, because
I didn't want him to turn around and punch at me after
being - - you know, and my mindset right there was like, hey,
dude, six times you tried to grab me in four hours. I'm
putting space between - - even if I walked with him, I would
wait till he got to the bottom of the steps and I would walk
out -down then.
(Id. at p. 24). Upon descending the stairs, Williams
sat down in a golf cart and waited. Another supervisor, Tom
Meredith, approached him along with an off-duty police
officer and advised Williams he was suspended until further
notice. Williams then left the premises and went home.
(Id. at p. 25).
account of the incident was as follows:
A: I came in and did my regular duties. I check in with the
guys. I got caught up with something on my desk that I
needed. I had to get away from my desk at approximately 9:30
in the morning. I went down walking through the plant and
went to the balers' area and I saw Jim. I do believe it
was around the balers' conveyer and feed, and I had
walked up to Jim and asked him what he was doing. And he told
me to get out of his face and then I approached Jim again, as
he started walking away. And he told me to leave him alone,
to get out of his face.
So I went up to the - - I left that area and went up to the
operator's station and I spoke with the operator about,
you know, how the operation of the balers was going. I left
that area. I was going back through the plant up to the shop.
I had been spoken to by a couple of different people, did you
know James was quitting. Doug was one of those people. I do
believe Doug Mulligan was one of those people and Hector
Munos. As I was going back to the shop, I ran into Tom
Meredith and Hector Munos and I mentioned to Tom about James
quitting. So Tom Meredith asked me if James was filling out a
letter of resignation, then, if he was quitting. If that is
what you heard.
So I then asked Hector if he would go up to the maintenance
department with me to speak with James. I was not sure if
James was up there. When I first went into the shop, you
know, I was - - James, you know, saying, James out loud, to
see if he was in the shop area. He was not in the shop area.
So I then went upstairs to their break room area. When I
opened up the door, me and Hector, I walked in the room and
James was not there. I peeked around the corner into their
locker room and James was in their locker room. I asked James
if he would come out in this room and I would like to speak
And I asked James if it was true, I heard that you are
quitting, and he said, did you hear that from me. And I said
no., But I need to know if that statement is true. If you are
quitting I need you to fill out a letter of resignation, and
he was upset. Then he said, I'm sick of your ass.
Let's go do it. So I left the room and Hector was behind
me as I started down the stairway. I heard this loud bang on
the guard rail. I left the area. He never looked back. I was
concerned for my safety, and when I got outside I think I ran
into Tom Meredith and I told him what had happened, real
briefly. So then I left and I went up front to get security,
the on-duty police officer, And then we went back and spoke
(Doc. No. 36-3 at pp. 6-7).
Union steward, Robert Vasquez testified that he was summoned
to speak with Williams before Meredith and the police officer
Q: Do you remember the discussion and what went on when you
A: For me to go upstairs and try to calm Jim down and from
what they told me to ask him what happened. They said he was
being mad, I guess.
Q: All right. And when you got there did you have a
discussion with Jim Williams?
Q: Okay. And what did you observe about him at that time?
A: That he had his work clothes on. He had a wrench in his
hand and that he was upset because of what - his supervisor
was wanting to talk to him and he ...