United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
STEVEN M. HANK, Plaintiff,
GREAT LAKES CONSTRUCTION CO., et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Steven M. Hank's
(“Plaintiff”) Objections (ECF DKT # 157) to the
Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (ECF DKT #
152). For the following reasons, and after de novo
review and consideration of Plaintiff's Objections, the
Court accepts the Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge and
grants Defendant The Great Lakes Construction Co.'s
(“Defendant” or the “Company”)
Limited Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF DKT # 107).
worked as a sandblaster for the Company from October 29, 2007
until January 22, 2016. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 16. Plaintiff
is a member of the International Union of Operating
Engineers, Local 18 (the “Union”). Compl. ¶ 4.
Accordingly, the collective bargaining agreements between the
Company and the Union governed terms and conditions of
is forty-nine years old, holds a General Equivalency Diploma
(“GED”) and has post-high-school-level
proficiencies in reading comprehension and word recognition,
high-school-level proficiency in spelling and
sixth-grade-level proficiency in arithmetic.
was injured on the job on March 27, 2012 when he fell over
while sandblasting a trailer. Compl. ¶ 5. On June 15,
2012, Plaintiff filed a claim (the “BWC Claim”)
with the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation
(“BWC”) for a torn meniscus. Compl. ¶ 6.
Plaintiff ultimately had knee surgery. Compl. ¶ 7.
alleges that it generally requires six weeks to recover from
the type of surgery that he had, but the Company only allowed
Plaintiff to take thirteen days of unpaid leave. Compl.
¶ 8. Because of this, Plaintiff began experiencing
complications with his knee, including constant pain and two
additional knee injuries. Compl. ¶ 9.
filed a C86 Motion under the BWC Claim, requesting payment
for his doctor's prescribed treatment of gel injections
and occupational therapy for these additional knee injuries.
Compl. ¶ 10. The Company rejected these requests. Compl.
October and November of 2015, Plaintiff allegedly informed
his supervisor that he would be filing additional claims with
the BWC. Compl. ¶ 13. Plaintiff alleges that the Company
began spying on Plaintiff in order to
“‘catch' him in some act to terminate and/or
remove him from employment.” Compl. ¶ 13.
January 22, 2016, Plaintiff was called into a meeting with
five Company managers who alleged that Plaintiff had
falsified his timecards. Compl. ¶ 16. Plaintiff's
Union representative, Jacob Siesel (“Siesel”),
was also present at the meeting. According to the Company,
Plaintiff did not dispute the accusations. Plaintiff was
informed that he would be terminated. Subsequently, Plaintiff
was presented with a document entitled “Acknowledgment
and Agreement” (the “Release”), which
stated as follows:
The Great Lakes Company (“Great Lakes”) agrees
that instead of terminating Steven Hank for falsification of
time records, it will place him on lay-off status with no
right to recall. In return, Hank agrees that he will not file
a grievance under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and
that he will not pursue or file any sort of claim against
either Great Lakes or his Local 18 of the International Union
of Operating Engineers (“Union”). Mr. Hank agrees
that he will not seek reemployment at any time in the future
with Great Lakes. The Union agrees that it will not pursue or
file any grievances on Mr. Hank's behalf.
Mot. for Summary Judgment (“LMSJ”) at 3-4.
allegedly asked for clarification regarding the effect of
being laid off rather than terminated and the Company
informed Plaintiff that if he signed the Release, he could
seek unemployment benefits. Id. at 4. Plaintiff then
signed the Release and the meeting ended. Id.
Plaintiff alleges that he was coerced into signing the
Release. Compl. ¶ 18.
alleges claims against both the Company and the Union,
including one count for Disability Discrimination and one
count of Age Discrimination in Violation of Ohio Revised Code
(“R.C.”) Chapter 4112, one count of Workers
Compensation Retaliation in Violation of R.C. Chapter 4123
and one count of Company Breach of Collective Bargaining
Agreement/ Union Breach of Duty of Fair Representation
(“Count IV”). Plaintiff did not identify a
statute under which Count IV was asserted, but Defendants
removed the case to federal ...