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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN SOUTHERN DIVISION DAN CERJANEC, RODRIGO BRAVO, MARK MODLIN, and WILLIAM WINFREY, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,

Case No. 17-10619

vs

Hon. Laurie J. Michelson

FCA US LLC, Defendant. AKEEL & VALENTINE, PLC Shereef H. Akeel (P54345) Hasan Kaakarli (P81099) Adam S. Akeel (P81328) Attorneys for Plaintiffs 888 W. Big Beaver Road, Suite 420 Troy, MI 48084 (248) 269-9595 shereef@akeelvalentine.com hasan@akeelvalentine.com adam@akeelvalentine.com

MILLER CANFIELD Jerome R. Watson (P27082) Misbah Shahid (P73450) Brian M. Schwartz (P69018) Attorneys for Defendant 150 W. Jefferson Ave., Suite 2500 Detroit, MI 48226 watson@millercanfield.com shahid@millercanfield.com

PITT, MCGEHEE, PALMER & RIVERS Michael L. Pitt (P24429) Megan A. Bonanni (P52079) Robert W. Palmer (P31704) Cary S. McGehee (P42318) Beth M. Rivers (P33614) Attorneys for Plaintiffs 117 W. Fourth Street, Ste. 200 Royal Oak, MI 48067

LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C. Tasha K. Inegbenebor (GA 382905) Daniel E. Turner (GA 719330) Attorneys for Defendant 3344 Peachtree Rd. NE, Ste. 1500 Atlanta, GA 30326 (404) 233-0330 dturner@littler.com Admitted to the Eastern District of

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Michigan on June 23, 2011 jpolito@littler.com Admitted to the Eastern District of Michigan on May 18, 2017 tinegbenebor@litller.com Admitted to the Eastern District of Michigan on May 11, 2017

PLAINTIFFS’ SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF NOW COME Plaintiffs, DAN CERJANEC, RODRIGO BRAVO, MARK MODLIN, and WILLIAM WINFREY, by and through their attorneys, AKEEL & VALENTINE, PLC, and PITT, MCGEHEE, PALMER, AND RIVERS, and hereby submit their Supplemental Brief, pursuant to this Honorable Court’s June 10, 2019 Order, as it relates to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Conditional Certification, Judicial Notice, and Motion to Compel (“Motion”) [Dkt. 41]. For the reasons stated in their Brief in Support, Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Honorable Court GRANT Plaintiffs’ Motion. Respectfully submitted, AKEEL & VALENTINE, PLC /s/: SHEREEF H. AKEEL By: Shereef H. Akeel (P54345) Hasan Kaakarli (P81099) Adam Akeel (P81328) Attorneys for Plaintiffs 888 West Big Beaver Road, Ste. 420 Troy, MI 48084 (248) 269-9595 ii


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PITT, MCGEHEE, PALMER RIVERS, P.C. Michael L. Pitt (P24429) Cary S. McGehee (P42318) Robert W. Palmer (P31704) Beth M. Rivers (P33614) Megan A. Bonanni (P52079) 117 W. Fourth Street, Suite 200 Royal Oak, MI 48067 (248) 398-9800 Dated: June 17, 2019

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN SOUTHERN DIVISION DAN CERJANEC, RODRIGO BRAVO, MARK MODLIN, and WILLIAM WINFREY, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,

Case No. 17-10619

vs

Hon. Laurie J. Michelson

FCA US LLC, Defendant. AKEEL & VALENTINE, PLC Shereef H. Akeel (P54345) Hasan Kaakarli (P81099) Adam S. Akeel (P81328) Attorneys for Plaintiffs 888 W. Big Beaver Road, Suite 420 Troy, MI 48084 (248) 269-9595 shereef@akeelvalentine.com hasan@akeelvalentine.com adam@akeelvalentine.com

MILLER CANFIELD Jerome R. Watson (P27082) Misbah Shahid (P73450) Brian M. Schwartz (P69018) Attorneys for Defendant 150 W. Jefferson Ave., Suite 2500 Detroit, MI 48226 watson@millercanfield.com shahid@millercanfield.com

PITT, MCGEHEE, PALMER & RIVERS Michael L. Pitt (P24429) Megan A. Bonanni (P52079) Robert W. Palmer (P31704) Cary S. McGehee (P42318) Beth M. Rivers (P33614) Attorneys for Plaintiffs 117 W. Fourth Street, Ste. 200 Royal Oak, MI 48067

LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C. Tasha K. Inegbenebor (GA 382905) Daniel E. Turner (GA 719330) Attorneys for Defendant 3344 Peachtree Rd. NE, Ste. 1500 Atlanta, GA 30326 (404) 233-0330 dturner@littler.com Admitted to the Eastern District of

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Michigan on June 23, 2011 jpolito@littler.com Admitted to the Eastern District of Michigan on May 18, 2017 tinegbenebor@litller.com Admitted to the Eastern District of Michigan on May 11, 2017

BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS’ SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF

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TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF AUTHORITIES……………………………………………………...vii INTRODUCTION AND STATEMENET OF FACTS…………………………….1 LAW AND ARGUMENT……………………………………………………….....1 I.

ADEA Collective Action was Sufficiently Pled in 2017…..………….....1

II.

Plaintiffs’ ADEA Claims are Timely…..………………………………...2

III.

Filing of Consent Forms are not Necessary to Commence an Action…...3

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TABLE OF AUTHORITIES Cases

Page(s)

Allen v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 724 F.2d 1131 (5th Cir.1984)……………………..4 Anderson v. Montgomery Ward & Co., 852 F.2d 1008 (7th Cir. 1988)……………4 Baldwin Cty. Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147 (1984)……………………….2 Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)…………………………………..1 Burzynski v. Cohen, 264 F.3d 611 (6th Cir. 2001)…………………………………3 Chartrand v. Chrysler Corp., 785 F. Supp. 666 (E.D. Mich. 1992)……………….3 Comer v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 454 F.3d 544 (6th Cir. 2006)…………………….3 Durant v. Maher Chevrolet, Inc., 759 F.Supp. 787 (M.D.Fla.1991)……………….4 Fry v. Baptist Mem’l Hospital, 495 F.Appx. 669 (6th Cir. 2012)…………………..5 Grayson v. K Mart Corp., 79 F.3d 1086 (11th Cir. 1996)……………………….2, 4 Harkins v. Riverboat Servs., Inc., 385 F.3d 1099 (7th Cir. 2004)…………………..5 Krane v. Capital One Servs., Inc., 314 F. Supp. 2d 589 (E.D. Va. 2004)…….2, 4, 5 Lorillard v. Pons, 434 U.S. 575 (1978)…………………………………………….5 Minger v. Green, 239 F.3d 793 (6th Cir. 2001)…………………………………….2 Morelock v. NCR Corporation, 586 F.2d 1096 (6th Cir.1978)…………………….4 O'Connell v. Champion International Corp., 812 F.2d 393 (8th Cir.1987)………..4 Patterson v. Burge, 328 F. Supp. 2d 878 (N.D. Ill. 2004)………………………….2 Sperling v. Hoffmann–La Roche, Inc., 24 F.3d 463 (3d Cir.1994)………………4, 5 vii


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Rules Fed. R. Civ. P. 3…………………………………………………………………….4 Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)……………………………………………………………...1 Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(d)…………………………………………………………………1 Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c)(1)(B)…………………………………………………………2 Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 9.1(e)……………………………………2

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INTRODUCTION AND STATEMENT OF FACTS On February 27, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their complaint alleging ELCRA violations. On March 30, 2017, the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) was filed adding a count for ADEA violations. Dkts. 1, 4. Both complaints included a “Class Action” label in the caption. On January 22, 2018, Plaintiffs filed their Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”), including the label “Collective Action” in the caption. Dkt. 36. On June 7, 2019, Defendant raised arguments regarding the statute of limitations. None justify denial of conditional certification. LAW AND ARGUMENT I.

An ADEA Collective Action was Sufficiently Pled in 2017. Although this Court already denied Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss

Plaintiffs’ FAC, Defendant argued in response to a conditional certification motion that Plaintiffs failed to properly plead an ADEA collective action in its 2017 FAC because the caption was not labeled, “collective action.” This is baseless. Rule 8(a)(2) only requires Plaintiffs to “give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

Additionally, under Rule 8(d), in general, “[n]o

technical form is required” and “[p]leadings must be construed so as to do justice.”

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Also, labels do not govern the substance of a complaint.1 Minger v. Green, 239 F.3d 793, 799 (6th Cir. 2001). Rather, as long as Plaintiffs’ complaint contains “enough to allow the court and the defendant[s] to understand the gravamen of [the] complaint,” their claims will not be dismissed. Patterson v. Burge, 328 F. Supp. 2d 878, 886 (N.D. Ill. 2004) (citation omitted). Here, it is beyond dispute that Defendant had fair notice that Plaintiffs pled a collective ADEA action as early as March 20, 2017, and even earlier in the agerelated charges filed with the EEOC. Also, Plaintiffs’ SAC is substantively the same as the FAC, and relates back under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c)(1)(B) because the original complaints adequately put FCA on notice of other “similarly situated” plaintiffs pursuing age-related claims. See, e.g., Baldwin Cty. Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 150 n. 3 (1984); Krane v. Capital One Servs., Inc., 314 F. Supp. 2d 589, 601 (E.D. Va. 2004); Grayson v. K Mart Corp., 79 F.3d 1086 (11th Cir. 1996). II.

Plaintiffs’ ADEA Claims are Timely. Defendant also argued that the class should not include Plaintiffs’ ADEA

claims for years 2014 and 2015, alleging they are untimely. This argument fails. Plaintiffs briefed this Court on the application of the Continuing Violation Doctrine (“CVD”), Equitable Tolling, and Lilly Ledbetter Act, and relies on it for 1

L.R. 9.1(e) provides that improperly labeling a complaint “shall not be grounds for denial of or construed as a waiver of rights otherwise provided by law.” 2


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purposes of this Brief. See Dkt. 22, 29. Moreover, Plaintiffs’ SAC alleged the requisite modest factual showing – as required to obtain initial class certification for an ADEA claim (Comer v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 454 F.3d 544, 547 (6th Cir. 2006)) – that their claims are timely under the CVD, considering all factual allegations are drawn in the nonmovant’s favor (Chartrand v. Chrysler Corp., 785 F. Supp. 666, 668 (E.D. Mich. 1992)), where: 1) they identified and pled a longstanding discriminatory policy (Dkt. 36, ¶ 42), and 2) if one discriminatory violation occurs within the 300-day statute of limitation to pursue an ADEA claim (LaCroix v. Detroit Edison Co., 964 F. Supp. 1144, 1148 (E.D. Mich. 1996)), then under the CVD, older violations are then rendered timely. Burzynski v. Cohen, 264 F.3d 611, 617–18 (6th Cir. 2001). Here, Plaintiffs pled violations that occurred in 2017 for the 2016 PLM rating (Dkt. 36, ¶¶ 52-56), rendering older PLM Scores timely at the pleading stage under CVD. III.

Filing of Consent Forms are not Necessary to Commence an Action.

FCA argued during oral argument that the collective ADEA action did not start until the named Plaintiffs filed their consents. This is a misreading of the ADEA requirements. The consent filing requirement was incorporated into the ADEA from §216(b) of the FLSA which states: “No employee has been a party plaintiff to any such action unless he gives his consent in writing to become such a party and such consent is filed in the court in which such action is brought.” The 3


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named Plaintiffs must file consents to participate, but the timing of the filing of those consents is immaterial to determining the date the action commenced. Section 216(b) sets no time limit for when those consents must be filed and contains no requirement that the consents must be filed in order to commence an action.2 The law is clear that named plaintiffs commence their civil action upon filing of the complaint. Fed. R. Civ. P. 3. In Krane v. Capital One, 314 F.Supp.2d 589, 601 (E.D. Va. 2004), the court directly confronted the same defense asserted by FCA here. As the court found: The majority of circuits to have addressed the issue are of the view that the named Plaintiff need not file a consent to sue in order to commence a civil action within the statutory time period prescribed by the ADEA…it is sufficient for the plaintiff to have filed the complaint that initiated the class action. See, e.g., Grayson v. K Mart Corporation, 79 F.3d 1086, 1105 (11th Cir.1996)…; Sperling v. Hoffmann–La Roche, Inc., 24 F.3d 463, 468 n. 9 (3d Cir.1994); Durant v. Maher Chevrolet, Inc., 759 F.Supp. 787, 790 (M.D.Fla.1991); Michnuk v. G.O. Carlson, Inc., 1989 WL 143244, *7 (E.D.Pa.1989) (unpublished); Anderson, 852 F.2d at 1018–19; O'Connell v. Champion International Corp., 812 F.2d 393, 394 (8th Cir.1987); Allen v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 724 F.2d 1131, 1135 (5th Cir.1984); Morelock v. NCR Corporation, 586 F.2d 1096, 1103 (6th Cir.1978). Unlike the FLSA, which has no administrative filing requirement and therefore employers had no notice of the class-wide claims, Plaintiffs in ADEA claims must put employers on notice in their EEOC charges and the judicial 2

While other provisions of the FLSA, specifically § 256, require the filing of the consent to commence an action, Congress did not incorporate that section into the ADEA. Morelock v. NCR, 586 F.2d 1096, 1103 (6th Cir. 1978). 4


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complaint that class-wide allegations are being asserted. Sperling, supra at 471. Here, filing the complaint put FCA on notice of named Plaintiffs’ claims. Krane, supra at 601-2. The cases cited by FCA in its earlier brief are inapposite. Both Harkins v. Riverboat Servs., Inc., 385 F.3d 1099, 1101-2 (7th Cir. 2004) and Fry v. Baptist Mem’l Hospital, 495 F.Appx. 669 (6th Cir. 2012) were brought pursuant to the FLSA, not the ADEA. Those decisions relied on § 256 to hold that the action did not start until the named plaintiffs filed their written consents. That section, however, was not incorporated into the ADEA and so holdings in FLSA cases, such as those cited by FCA which rely on that provision, are not applicable here. See Sperling, supra at 467, in which the court recognized that Congress did not incorporate all of the FLSA provisions in the ADEA and specifically left out §256 which was one of the “restrictive clauses which Congress felt was needed to stem the tide of litigation.” As the Supreme Court recognized, “in enacting the ADEA, Congress exhibited both a detailed knowledge of the FLSA provisions and their judicial interpretation and a willingness to depart from those provisions regarded as undesirable or inappropriate for incorporation.” Lorillard v. Pons, 434 U.S. 575, 581 (1978) (finding that Congress intended to allow jury trials in private ADEA actions). Thus, there is no requirement that named Plaintiffs file their written consent, in addition to the complaint, in order to commence an action. 5


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Respectfully submitted, AKEEL & VALENTINE, PLC /s/: SHEREEF H. AKEEL By: Shereef H. Akeel (P54345) Hasan Kaakarli (P81099) Adam Akeel (P81328) Attorneys for Plaintiffs 888 West Big Beaver Road, Ste. 420 Troy, MI 48084 (248) 269-9595 PITT, MCGEHEE, PALMER RIVERS, P.C. Michael L. Pitt (P24429) Cary S. McGehee (P42318) Robert W. Palmer (P31704) Beth M. Rivers (P33614) Megan A. Bonanni (P52079) 117 W. Fourth Street, Suite 200 Royal Oak, MI 48067 (248) 398-9800

Dated: June 17, 2019

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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE The undersigned says that on June 17, 2019 (s)he electronically filed a copy of the following document in the above-captioned matter by filing into the Eastern District Court Website: DOCUMENT(S): PLAINTIFFS SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF and that same is being served upon counsel of record via the court’s electronic filing and electronic mail notification system as follows: Jerome R. Watson M. Misbah Shahid Daniel E. Turner Jacqueline Phipps Polito Tasha K. Inegbenebor

Watson@millercanfield.com Shahid@millercanfield.com dturner@littler.com jpolito@littler.com tinegbenebor@littler.com Respectfully submitted, AKEEL & VALENTINE, PLC By:

/s/: SHEREEF H. AKEEL Shereef H. Akeel (P54345) Hasan Kaakarli (P81099) Adam S. Akeel (P81328) Attorneys for Plaintiffs 888 West Big Beaver Road, Ste. 420 Troy, MI 48084 Michael L. Pitt (P24429) Megan A. Bonanni (P52079) Robert W. Palmer (P31704) Cary S. McGehee (P42318) Beth M. Rivers (P33614) Attorneys for Plaintiffs 117 W. Fourth Street, Ste. 200 Royal Oak, MI 48067

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(248) 398-9800 Dated: June 17, 2019

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Profile for Akeel & Valentine

2019_6-7 Plaintiffs' Supplemental Brief  

2019_6-7 Plaintiffs' Supplemental Brief