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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN


SOUTHERN DIVISION

THOMAS WOODRUFF, an
individual,

Plaintiff, Case No. 1:17-cv-1141


vs.

GULL LAKE COUNTRY CLUB,


a corporation, and PETE RIGGINS,
an individual,

Defendants.

William F. Piper (P38636)


William F. Piper, PLC.
Attorney for Plaintiff
1611 W. Centre Ave., Suite 209
Portage, MI 49024
(269) 321-5008
wpiper@wpiperlaw.com

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

The plaintiff Thomas Woodruff, by and through his attorney William F.

Piper, PLC., for his first amended complaint, states as follows:

JURISDICTIONAL ALLEGATIONS

1. The plaintiff Thomas Woodruff is an African-American man who

resides in the County of Kalamazoo, State of Michigan, and he resided therein at all

times relevant to this complaint.

2. The defendant Gull Lake Country Club is a corporation that did

business in the County of Kalamazoo, State of Michigan, at all times relevant to

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this complaint, and it employs mostly white workers and has mostly white

members.

3. The defendant Pete Riggins is a white man who, upon information and

belief, resided in the County of Kalamazoo, State of Michigan, at all times relevant

to this complaint.

4. This matter arises out of Mr. Woodruff’s employment by the defendant

from July through October 2017.

5. This case arises in particular under 42 U.S.C. §1981.

6. Jurisdiction arises under 28 U.S.C. §1331 and 28 U.S.C. §1343.

7. Certain claims in this action arise under this court’s supplemental

jurisdiction to hear and decide state law claims arising out of the same transactions

and occurrences as the federal law claims.

COMMON ALLEGATIONS

8. The plaintiff restates and realleges as though fully set forth herein

paragraphs 1-7 of this complaint.

9. The defendant Gull Lake Country Club hired Mr. Woodruff to work for

it in July 2017 as a custodial/maintenance worker.

10. The defendant assigned Pete Riggins to be Mr. Woodruff’s supervisor.

11. There was perhaps two other African-Americans who worked for the

defendant.

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12. Mr. Riggins was quite unfriendly to Mr. Woodruff from the beginning

of Mr. Woodruff’s employment, including in front of members, and he treated Mr.

Woodruff in a demeaning fashion.

13. On or about September 7, 2017, at Mr. Riggins’ request, Mr. Riggins

and Mr. Woodruff drove to a member’s home.

14. Mr. Woodruff gave a quote for some work at the member’s home to Mr.

Riggins for the benefit of the member.

15. On the way back from the member’s home to the Gull Lake Country

Club, Mr. Riggins snapped, calling Mr. Woodruff a “fucking nigger.”

16. Also, on the way back to the club, Mr. Riggins also told Mr. Woodruff

“How dare you try to take the job.” He also told him, “I’m going to beat your fucking

ass.”

17. Mr. Riggins stranded Mr. Woodruff at work, and Mr. Woodruff had to

walk home.

18. On or about September 10, 2017 Mr. Woodruff complained about Mr.

Riggins’ conduct to a female assistant manager named Kirsten.

19. The defendant Gull Lake Country Club did nothing effective to Mr.

Riggins as a result of Mr. Woodruff’s complaint to stop his racial harassment of Mr.

Woodruff.

20. Later on September 10, 2017, during a set up at the water front, at

work, Mr. Riggins called Mr. Woodruff a “fucking nigger.”

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21. Mr. Woodruff complained to Mr. Riggins’ supervisor Mike about Mr.

Riggins’ conduct set forth above.

22. Mr. Woodruff asked Mike if he was going to be fired, and he answered

“no.”

23. On September 15, 2017 Mr. Riggins left Mr. Woodruff a voice mail

message that accused Mr. Woodruff of lying.

24. Mr. Riggins also told Mr. Woodruff, in the voice mail message, in a

hostile and threatening tone, “You are a lying fuck dude. I called yourself a black

ass lazy bitch; that’s all I called you so you better get your shit straight, boy.”

25. On September 15, 2017, Mr. Woodruff complained about Mr. Riggins’

conduct referenced above to Mike, including letting him listen to the voice mail

message.

26. Mr. Riggins’ wife told Mr. Woodruff on September 20, 2017 that, “I

can’t wait until the first when your ass is gone.”

27. Thereafter the defendant and Mike did not take prompt and

appropriate disciplinary action against Mr. Riggins.

28. Mike told Mr. Woodruff both that he would have to learn to get along

with Mr. Riggins as his supervisor and that it was his job to do so.

29. Afterwards, Mr. Riggins was hostile to Mr. Woodruff, and he barely

spoke to him.

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30. On October 9, 2017, in retaliation against Mr. Woodruff because of his

complaints, the defendants cut Mr. Woodruff’s hours from six days a week to three

days a week.

31. The defendants moved a white man from the kitchen to a custodial,

maintenance position to take some of Mr. Woodruff’s hours, upon information and

belief.

32. On October 15, 2017, Mr. Riggins told Mr. Woodruff that he was going

to beat his ass, and he called him a “fucking faggot.”

33. Mr. Woodruff, in frustration, swore at Mr. Riggins and told him he did

not have to take it.

34. The incident was reported to Mike, and Mike made Mr. Woodruff

apologize to Mr. Riggins.

35. Mike told Mr. Woodruff that he would have to prove to Mr. Riggins

that he could do the job and that he had to do whatever Pete told him to do.

36. In late October the defendants retaliated against Mr. Woodruff

because of his complaints, telling him that they were laying him off.

37. Upon information and belief, the defendants gave Mr. Woodruff’s hours

to others, including the white man who had been transferred from the kitchen to a

custodial/maintenance position.

38. The defendant Gull Lake Country Club did not lay off other custodians

when it laid off Mr. Woodruff.

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39. On or about October 27, 2017 Mr. Riggins constructed a gallows and

noose in a room at the Gull Lake Country Club, ostensibly as part of a Halloween

display.

40. Mr. Woodruff complained about the display at work to the NAACP and

in a post on social media.

41. The defendant Gull Lake Country Club, in retaliation against Mr.

Woodruff because of his opposition activity, then indicated Mr. Woodruff was not

eligible to be rehired because he had violated the social media policy of the

defendant.

42. The reason given for indicating that Mr. Woodruff was not eligible for

rehire is a pretext in addition to being unlawful and retaliatory, because white

persons, including Mr. Riggins, have committed much more serious violations, but

the defendant Gull Lake Country Club retained them as employees.

43. As a result of the actions set forth above, Mr. Woodruff has suffered

and will continue to suffer a loss of income and benefits, emotional distress, a loss of

enjoyment of life, and other damages.

COUNT I – RACIAL HARASSMENT

44. The plaintiff restates and realleges as though fully set forth herein

paragraphs 1-43 of this complaint.

45. The actions of the defendants Gull Lake Country Club and Pete

Riggins created a hostile, offensive and intimidating work environment for Mr.

Woodruff because of his race.

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46. The defendant Gull Lake Country Club did not take prompt and

appropriate remedial measures to stop the harassment by Mr. Riggins, and it

continued.

47. As a result of the harassment, Mr. Woodruff suffered and will continue

to suffer emotional distress and a loss of enjoyment of life.

48. This claim is actionable under 42 U.S.C. §1981, 42 U.S.C. §1981a, and

the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, MCL 37.2101 et. seq.

WHEREFORE, the plaintiff Thomas Woodruff requests a judgment against

the defendants that would include back pay and benefits; reinstatement in an

appropriate position and other equitable relief, including front pay; compensation

for all intangible damages past and future, punitive damages, costs, interest,

attorney’s fees, and any other relief this court deems fair and just.

COUNT II – RACE DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATION

49. The plaintiff restates and realleges as though fully set forth herein

paragraphs 1-48 of this complaint.

50. The defendant cut Mr. Woodruff’s hours, terminated his employment

and refused to make him eligible for rehire both because of his race and his

complaints about race discrimination and racial harassment, including Mr.

Woodruff’s complaint on social media.

51. As a result of this race discrimination and retaliation, Mr. Woodruff

has suffered and will continue to suffer the damages set forth above.

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52. This claim is actionable under 42 U.S.C. §1981, 42 U.S.C. §1981a, and

the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, MCL 37.2101 et. seq., including MCL 37.2701.

WHEREFORE, the plaintiff Thomas Woodruff requests a judgment against

the defendants that would include back pay and benefits; reinstatement in an

appropriate position and other equitable relief, including front pay; compensation

for all intangible damages past and future, punitive damages, costs, interest,

attorney’s fees, and any other relief this court deems fair and just.

COUNT III – ETHNIC INTIMIDATION

53. The plaintiff restates and realleges as though fully set forth herein

paragraphs 1-52 of this complaint.

54. The acts described in this complaint by the defendants constitute

ethnic intimidation.

55. As a result of the ethnic intimidation set forth above, Mr. Woodruff

suffered and will continue to suffer the damages set forth above.

56. This claim is actionable under MCL 750.147(b)3.

WHEREFORE, the plaintiff Thomas Woodruff requests a judgment against

the defendants that would include back pay and benefits; reinstatement in an

appropriate position and other equitable relief, including front pay; compensation

for all intangible damages past and future, costs, interest, attorney’s fees, and any

other relief this court deems fair and just, plus three times the actual damages, or

$2,000.00, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

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Dated: January 16, 2018 William F. Piper, PLC.
Attorney for Plaintiff

By: /s/ William F. Piper


William F. Piper (P38636)