Friday, April 21, 2006

Federal Court Refuses to Enforce Contractually-Shortened Statute of Limitations

Logo405 I could not possibly improve upon Judge Richard Alan Enslen's description of this case:

Defendant Stryker Medical Division set a trap for the unwary when it hired Plaintiff Timothy R. Conway.  The name of the trap was a six-month limitation on any claim brought under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA").  Plaintiff nominally agreed to the trap when he signed a form application for employment complete with legal language promising that he had read it (though of course, no production worker would ever attempt to negotiate form language, which is offered on a take it or leave it basis and which is why workers pay little attention to such forms).  When Plaintiff was discharged by Defendant, he consulted with Plaintiff' s attorney who filed suit on his behalf after the expiration of the six-month period, but well before the expiration of the statutory limitation period.  The trap has now been sprung by Defendant's filing of a Motion for Summary Judgment premised on the artificial limitation period.  The Court is no party to the unconscionable limitation on FMLA claims and now holds it to be unenforceable under the terms of FMLA and as a matter of public policy.

Conway v. Stryker Medical Div., No. 4:05-CIV-40, 2006 WL 1008670 (W.D. Mich. Apr. 18, 2006) (Westlaw password required).


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