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Mike Guss Obtains Summary Disposition For City Of Flint In Age Discrimination Law Suit; Donna Poplar -V- City Of Flint, Genesee County Circuit Court

In 2011, the City of Flint was facing a financial emergency. Thus, the State of Michigan appointed an Emergency Financial Manager. On the EFM’s first day in office, he discharged the plaintiff, along with six other employees, and replaced them with his own trusted advisors. Three months after she was fired, plaintiff alleges that she received a phone call from one of EFM’s advisors and she was told that she lost her job on the basis that the EFM wanted to place younger African-Americans in positions of leadership. Following the phone call, plaintiff filed a lawsuit for age discrimination, alleging violation of the ELCRA. Our firm was retained several weeks before trial. After reviewing the deposition testimony, we filed a motion for leave to file a motion for summary disposition, which the court granted. In our dispositive motion, we argued that the alleged phone call constituted inadmissible hearsay as even though the EFM’s advisor was an agent for the city, the statements were outside the course and scope of his alleged agency because he played no role in human resources or personnel related decision-making. We also argued that plaintiff could not establish a prima facie case of age discrimination because she was not “replaced” and could not establish pretext. The court agreed, and granted our motion for summary disposition, dismissing plaintiff’s case in its entirety.