Carter v. Hickory Healthcare Inc., No. 17-4199 (6th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
After Hickory fired Carter from her job as a nursing assistant in 2007, Carter filed an unlawful discrimination claim with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. That agency filed a parallel charge with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, under the Americans with Disabilities Act. For six years, the complaint inched its way through the state system. In November 2013, the Ohio Commission ordered Hickory to reinstate Carter and to pay her lost wages. Carter asked the EEOC for a right-to-sue letter. Because Carter had moved without notifying that agency, it mailed the letter to her old address. Over the next few months, Carter’s attorney, Gilbert, contacted the agency, and in November 2014 procured a copy of the letter dated February 2014. Carter filed suit in December 2014. The court concluded that Carter’s claim was time-barred because she filed it more than 90 days after the date on her right-to-sue letter and imposed a $25,995.32 sanction on attorney Gilbert for advancing a clearly time-barred claim. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. It is irrelevant that Hickory did not move for dismissal but waited until summary judgment to raise the statute of limitations; it instead contacted Gilbert and informed him of the flaws in his case. The court awarded fees and costs incurred only after that time.