Court dismisses employment claim because worker was confused over company name
Kenneth Johnson sued Hungry Howie's in Wexford County Circuit Court, alleging that he was wrongfully fired from his job. Johnson alleged that he was entitled to Whistleblower's protection, therefore requiring him to file his suit within 90 days of the termination. He filed within the deadline, but mistakenly identified his employer as "Hungry Howie's Properties, Inc." rather than "Hungry Howie's PIzza & Subs, Inc." Both corporations are located at the same office and share the same telephone number. The Circuit Court and the Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of his claim based on Johnson's naming of the wrong corporate defendant during the short statutory limitation period.
While a naming mistake caused by confusion can usually be corrected and "related back" to the date of original filing, the Court denied Johnson this relief. Despite the similarity of names and the confusion of the shared address and telephone number, the Court held that plaintiff had "ready access" to the correct name and therefore could not amend to correct his error. This passes for justice in the 21st century.