This case was last updated from U.S. District Courts on 04/22/2022 at 14:16:45 (UTC).

Poitra v. Michigan State University et al

Case Summary

On January 19, 2022, Christie Poitra (“Plaintiff”), represented by Elizabeth Kamm Abdnour of Elizabeth Abdnour Law, PLLC, filed a civil rights lawsuit against Michigan State University (“MSU”), MSU Board of Trustees, Lou Anna K. Simon, John M. Engler, Satish Udpa and others (collectively, “Defendants”), represented by Angelina Rose Delmastro and Kathryn S. Wood of Dickinson Wright PLLC (Detroit); Ashley N. Higginson, Kiffi Y. Ford and Scott Robert Eldridge of Miller Canfield (Lansing); David A. Nacht of Nacht Roumel & Hurwitz PC (Ann Arbor), seeking damages with pre- and post-judgment interest, attorneys’ fees and costs, for alleged sex discrimination, disability discrimination, retaliation, and alleged violations of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights. This case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, with Judges Jane M. Beckering and Ray Kent presiding. 

 

The plaintiff claimed, “Dr. Christie Poitra is a nationally recognized expert in Native American studies. She has been employed in the Native American Institute (“NAI”) at Michigan State University since October 2015, serving as Interim Director since October 2018.”



In the complaint, the plaintiff alleged, “Due to MSU budget cuts, Dr. Poitra has built this impressive professional oeuvre while doing the work of at least three full time employees in NAI. Even more impressively, Dr. Poitra has achieved all this while spending the past three and a half years fighting off discrimination, harassment and stalking from multiple supervisors, navigating the onerous and lengthy MSU Title IX and discrimination investigation process; going through complaint processes with both the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission to try to seek accountability for the abuse she has suffered; and dealing with retaliation from her superiors at MSU.”



The plaintiff further alleged, “Instead of protecting and supporting Dr. Poitra, MSU has left Dr. Poitra continuously exposed to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation; failed to enforce its own no-contact directive against her abuser; forced her to shoulder significantly more work than any reasonable individual should be expected to perform; denied her equitable pay and professional title; and shrunk the budget of and even threatened to dissolve NAI.”



The plaintiff listed twelve claims for relief. The first three claims are for alleged deliberate indifference to sex discrimination, creating a heightened risk, and retaliation, all under Title IX. The fourth claim is for an alleged violation of Plaintiff’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and for retaliation. The fifth and sixth claims are for alleged discrimination on the basis of sex and retaliation under Title VII. The seventh claim is for alleged disability discrimination under Title I of the ADA. The eighth claim is for alleged disability discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The ninth claim is for alleged denial of substantive and procedural due process under the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments. The tenth claim is for alleged denial of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. The eleventh claim is for alleged sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. The twelfth claim is for alleged disability discrimination and retaliation in violation of Michigan’s Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act.



In the prayer for relief, the plaintiff requested past, present, and future non-economic, general, special, incidental, and consequential damages, including statutory and punitive damages, with prejudgment and post-judgment, reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, interest, and all such additional and/or further relief as the court deems just and equitable under the circumstances. 



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Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    1:22-CV-00047

  • Filing Date:

    01/19/2022

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Civil Right - Employment Discrimination

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

Jane M. Beckering

Referral Judge

Ray Kent

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

Christie Poitra

Defendants

Michigan State University

Michigan State University Board of Trustees

Samuel L. Stanley, Jr.

Satish Udpa

Lou Anna K. Simon

John M. Engler

Ronald L. Hendrick

Robert Kent

Tanya Jachimiak

John Norder

Quentin Tyler

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

Elizabeth Kamm Abdnour

Attorney at Elizabeth Abdnour Law, PLLC

1100 W Saginaw St., Ste. 4A-2

Lansing, MI 48915

Defendant Attorneys

Ashley N. Higginson

Attorney at Miller Canfield (Lansing)

One Michigan Ave., Ste. 900

Lansing, MI 48933

Kiffi Y. Ford

Attorney at Miller Canfield (Lansing)

One Michigan Ave., Ste. 900

Lansing, MI 48933

Scott Robert Eldridge

Attorney at Miller Canfield (Lansing)

One Michigan Ave., Ste. 900

Lansing, MI 48933

Angelina Rose Delmastro

Attorney at Dickinson Wright PLLC (Detroit)

500 Woodward Ave., Ste. 4000

Detroit, MI 48226-3425

Kathryn S. Wood

Attorney at Dickinson Wright PLLC (Detroit)

500 Woodward Ave., Ste. 4000

Detroit, MI 48226-3425

David A. Nacht

Attorney at Nacht Roumel & Hurwitz, PC (Ann Arbor)

101 N Main St., Ste. 555

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

 

Court Documents

#24

(#24) WAIVER OF SERVICE returned executed by Christie Poitra as to John M. Engler waiver sent on 4/14/2022, answer due 6/13/2022 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 04/19/2022)

23 #7

Attachment Kowalski v. Michigan State University 2021

23 #5

Attachment Steckloff v. Wayne State University

23 #4

Attachment Christie v. Wayne State University

23 #3

Exhibit 6

23 #2

Exhibit 5

23 #1

Exhibit 4

#23

(#23) RESPONSE in opposition to MOTION to dismiss (partially) Amended Complaint and to Strike Paragraphs 389-476 #17 filed by Christie Poitra (Attachments: #1 Exhibit 4, #2 Exhibit 5, #3 Exhibit 6, #4 Attachment Christie v. Wayne State University, #5 Attachment Steckloff v. Wayne State University, #6 Attachment Kowalski v. Michigan State University 2019, #7 Attachment Kowalski v. Michigan State University 2021) (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 04/18/2022)

#17

(#18) BRIEF in support of MOTION to dismiss (partially) Amended Complaint and to Strike Paragraphs 389-476 #17 filed by Ronald L. Hendrick, Tanya Jachimiak, Robert Kent, Michigan State University, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, Lou Anna K. Simon, Samuel L. Stanley, Jr, Quentin Tyler, Satish Udpa (Attachments: #1 Exhibit 1, #2 Exhibit 2, #3 Exhibit 3, #4 Attachment Unpublished Decisions) (Eldridge, Scott) (Entered: 03/21/2022)

#6

(#6) WAIVER OF SERVICE returned executed by Christie Poitra as to Ronald L. Hendrick waiver sent on 1/19/2022, answer due 3/21/2022 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 02/17/2022)

#5

(#5) SUMMONS ISSUED as to defendants John M. Engler, Ronald L. Hendrick, Tanya Jachimiak, Robert Kent, Michigan State University, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, John Norder, Lou Anna K. Simon, Samuel L. Stanley, Jr, Quentin Tyler, Satish Udpa (ems) (Entered: 01/20/2022)

#4

(#4) PROPOSED SUMMONS to be issued re #1 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 01/19/2022)

#3

(#3) PROPOSED SUMMONS to be issued re #1 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 01/19/2022)

#2

(#2) NOTICE that this case has been assigned Jane M. Beckering (ems) (Entered: 01/19/2022)

1 #3

Exhibit 3

1 #2

Exhibit 2

1 #1

Exhibit 1

#1

(#4) PROPOSED SUMMONS to be issued re #1 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 01/19/2022)

26 More Documents Available
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Docket Entries

  • 04/21/2022
  • Docket(NON-DOCUMENT) ATTORNEY APPEARANCE of Angelina Rose Delmastro on behalf of defendant John M. Engler (Delmastro, Angelina) (Entered: 04/21/2022)

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  • 04/21/2022
  • Docket(DISREGARD) (NON-DOCUMENT) ATTORNEY APPEARANCE of Angelina Rose Delmastro on behalf of defendant Michigan State University (Delmastro, Angelina) Modified text per filing attorney on 4/21/2022; filed in error (ems). (Entered: 04/21/2022)

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  • 04/19/2022
  • Docket(NON-DOCUMENT) ATTORNEY APPEARANCE of Kathryn S. Wood on behalf of defendant John M. Engler (Wood, Kathryn) (Entered: 04/19/2022)

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  • 04/19/2022
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  • Docket(#24) WAIVER OF SERVICE returned executed by Christie Poitra as to John M. Engler waiver sent on 4/14/2022, answer due 6/13/2022 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 04/19/2022)

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  • 04/18/2022
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  • Docket(#23) RESPONSE in opposition to MOTION to dismiss (partially) Amended Complaint and to Strike Paragraphs 389-476 #17 filed by Christie Poitra (Attachments: #1 Exhibit 4, #2 Exhibit 5, #3 Exhibit 6, #4 Attachment Christie v. Wayne State University, #5 Attachment Steckloff v. Wayne State University, #6 Attachment Kowalski v. Michigan State University 2019, #7 Attachment Kowalski v. Michigan State University 2021) (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 04/18/2022)

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  • 03/22/2022
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  • Docket(#22) WAIVER OF SERVICE returned executed by Christie Poitra as to John Norder waiver sent on 3/21/2022, answer due 5/20/2022 [Attorney David A. Nacht added to party John Norder(pty:dft)] (Nacht, David) Modified text on 3/22/2022 (ems). (Entered: 03/22/2022)

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  • 03/22/2022
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  • Docket(#21) NOTICE OF IMPENDING DISMISSAL: Plaintiff to timely complete service of process or file a verified petition RE: Service of Process by 4/19/2022, or the case as to Defendants John M. Engler and John Norder will be dismissed without prejudice; signed by District Judge Jane M. Beckering (rmw) (Entered: 03/22/2022)

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  • 03/21/2022
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  • Docket(#20) ANSWER to Amended Complaint #14 with affirmative defenses and jury demand reliance by Ronald L. Hendrick, Tanya Jachimiak, Robert Kent, Michigan State University, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, Lou Anna K. Simon, Samuel L. Stanley, Jr, Quentin Tyler, Satish Udpa (Eldridge, Scott) Modified text on 3/22/2022 (ems). (Entered: 03/21/2022)

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  • 03/21/2022
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  • Docket(#19) CERTIFICATE regarding compliance with LCivR 7.1(d) re MOTION to dismiss (partially) Amended Complaint and to Strike Paragraphs 389-476 #17 filed by Ronald L. Hendrick, Tanya Jachimiak, Robert Kent, Michigan State University, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, Lou Anna K. Simon, Samuel L. Stanley, Jr, Quentin Tyler, Satish Udpa (Eldridge, Scott) (Entered: 03/21/2022)

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  • 03/21/2022
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  • Docket(#18) BRIEF in support of MOTION to dismiss (partially) Amended Complaint and to Strike Paragraphs 389-476 #17 filed by Ronald L. Hendrick, Tanya Jachimiak, Robert Kent, Michigan State University, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, Lou Anna K. Simon, Samuel L. Stanley, Jr, Quentin Tyler, Satish Udpa (Attachments: #1 Exhibit 1, #2 Exhibit 2, #3 Exhibit 3, #4 Attachment Unpublished Decisions) (Eldridge, Scott) (Entered: 03/21/2022)

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12 More Docket Entries
  • 02/17/2022
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  • Docket(#8) WAIVER OF SERVICE returned executed by Christie Poitra as to Michigan State University Board of Trustees waiver sent on 1/19/2022, answer due 3/21/2022 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 02/17/2022)

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  • 02/17/2022
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  • Docket(#7) WAIVER OF SERVICE returned executed by Christie Poitra as to Robert Kent waiver sent on 1/19/2022, answer due 3/21/2022 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 02/17/2022)

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  • 02/17/2022
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  • Docket(#6) WAIVER OF SERVICE returned executed by Christie Poitra as to Ronald L. Hendrick waiver sent on 1/19/2022, answer due 3/21/2022 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 02/17/2022)

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  • 01/20/2022
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  • Docket(#5) SUMMONS ISSUED as to defendants John M. Engler, Ronald L. Hendrick, Tanya Jachimiak, Robert Kent, Michigan State University, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, John Norder, Lou Anna K. Simon, Samuel L. Stanley, Jr, Quentin Tyler, Satish Udpa (ems) (Entered: 01/20/2022)

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  • 01/19/2022
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  • Docket(#4) PROPOSED SUMMONS to be issued re #1 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 01/19/2022)

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  • 01/19/2022
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  • Docket(#3) PROPOSED SUMMONS to be issued re #1 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 01/19/2022)

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  • 01/19/2022
  • DocketSUMMONS NOT ISSUED as to defendants John M. Engler, Ronald L. Hendrick, Tanya Jachimiak, Robert Kent, Michigan State University, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, John Norder, Lou Anna K. Simon, Samuel L. Stanley, Jr, Quentin Tyler, Satish Udpa (proposed summons not provided by filing party) (ems) (Entered: 01/19/2022)

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  • 01/19/2022
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  • Docket(#2) NOTICE that this case has been assigned Jane M. Beckering (ems) (Entered: 01/19/2022)

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  • 01/19/2022
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  • DocketFILING FEE PAID re #1 by plaintiff Christie Poitra in the amount of $402, receipt number AMIWDC-6643988 (Abdnour, Elizabeth) (Entered: 01/19/2022)

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  • 01/19/2022
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  • Docket(#1) COMPLAINT with jury demand against All Defendants filed by Christie Poitra (Attachments: #1 Exhibit 1, #2 Exhibit 2, #3 Exhibit 3) (Abdnour, Elizabeth) Modified text on 1/19/2022 (ems). (Entered: 01/19/2022)

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