The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Tribune now moves for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P.
("Rule") 56. In addition to responding to that motion, Dale's
counsel seeks to expand the scope of this action by adding a
named party plaintiff under the representative action
provision of ADEA, 29 U.S.C. § 626(b). For the reasons stated
in this memorandum opinion and order, Tribune's Rule 56 motion
is granted and Dale's motion to add a named party plaintiff is
accordingly dismissed as moot.
Dale began working for Tribune as a copywriter in 1956. He
held a succession of positions (leading to the department
managership beginning in 1963) in the Art and Copy Department,
later renamed the Creative Services Department. In 1975 Dale
recommended to Tribune President Robert Hunt ("Hunt") that the
Creative Services Department and the Promotions Department be
merged to increase efficiency. Hunt accepted the
recommendation, and Dale became assistant manager of the new
entity, known as the Creative Division.
Three years later Dale met again with Hunt and reported the
merger was not yielding the expected benefits because the two
pre-existing departments had not been functionally merged and
because there were too many managers. During the course of
that meeting Hunt asked whether Dale had any interest in
becoming Tribune's Purchasing Manager. Dale said he was
interested in the change, and following discussions with
General Manager Harold Lifvendahl ("Lifvendahl") he accepted
the position. Though the Purchasing Manager had previously
reported to Building Manager Bruce Cerling ("Cerling"), Dale
was directed to report to Lifvendahl and to address himself to
what Lifvendahl saw as serious personnel problems in the
Purchasing Department. Dale's shift into Purchasing — a field
in which he had no prior experience or training apart from his
general managerial experience — was considered a lateral move
involving no increase in compensation.
During his first months in the new position Dale
participated in a three-day workshop on purchasing. He also
joined the Chicago Purchasing Managers Group. Within a year of
Dale's becoming Purchasing Manager, responsibility for
newsprint traffic, travel planning and telephone operations
were transferred to the Purchasing Department.
Throughout that period Dale continued to report to
Lifvendahl, but in February 1981 Lifvendahl moved to become
president of a Tribune newspaper in Florida. Thomas O'Donnell
("O'Donnell") replaced him as General Manager. For some five
months Dale then reported to O'Donnell, but in June 1981
O'Donnell asked Dale to report to Cerling instead. O'Donnell
said there had been too many people reporting to him, so he
had to reorganize the administrative structure to make his own
responsibilities manageable. Dale was apprehensive about the
change because Cerling had been supervising the Purchasing
Department before 1978, when Lifvendahl brought Dale in to
address the serious personnel problems. Nevertheless Dale
accepted the organizational change.
[The existing management team was] a long, long
time Tribune group. We knew one another. We
worked up through the ranks together. And I think
we worked well together, all with problems. You
are never without problems or personality
But we pretty well knew how the other person
operated, and tried to work within the system. I
do not think Mr. Brumback wanted that kind of a
system. I think he wanted to bring in a different
kind of Management Team.
And I think he would have called it, quote, a
modern Management Team, one that is attuned to
innovation, to new ideas, change.
And, this is an opinion, I believe Mr. Brumback
did not think the Management Team at the Tribune
was capable of doing this. I believe he was
Dale's difficulties began soon after Brumback became Tribune
President. Before August 1981 Brumback had apparently pressed
Dale more than once as to his performance. On August 31 Dale
wrote to Lifvendahl (Dale Dep. Ex. 3):
The problem in brief, is that I think Brumback is
setting the groundwork for my termination. It may
come two weeks from now, or two months, but I
think he's getting me programmed.
It's too long to go into all the detail, other
than he's given me a major going over on
everything he's questioned me about — and the
things he's picked on have been minor and basically
have been matters of opinion. He seems to be doing
this to a whole clutch of Tribune executives and
managers: things we've done in the past, are
proposing now, or have planned for the future are
archaic and disorganized according to his lights.
When deposed three years later Dale was unable to remember the
specific nature of Brumback's criticisms, noting only that
Brumback was upset because Dale did not know the difference in
height between a computer table and a typewriter table (Dale
Dep. II-66). Dale stressed however that he would not have
written to Livfendahl as he did had that been the extent of
Brumback's criticism (Dale Dep. II-66-67).
On October 5, 1981 Cerling prepared a list of projects he
expected Dale to complete in the upcoming months. Dale
testified (Dale Dep. II-79) the list was accompanied by a
letter indicating the projects were designed to remedy
deficiencies Cerling perceived in Dale's performance as
Purchasing Manager. All items on the list dealt with the basic
purchasing operation: They included such things as preparing
a purchasing manual, drafting ethical guidelines for buyers,
scheduling regular staff meetings and developing a
recordkeeping system, through computerization, to enable
management to make informed decisions. Dale said in his
deposition (Dale Dep. II-83-106) a number of those projects
had been discussed and even initiated before Cerling assumed
supervisory control, but few had been carried to fruition and
none of the matters in issue had been routinely handled in a
fashion satisfactory to Cerling.
On November 18, 1981 Cerling sent Dale a memorandum (Dale
Dep. Ex. 5) beginning:
On October 5, we had a meeting at which I gave
you a number of projects to be completed with
I thought it would be helpful if I documented
other conversations and my concerns.
Since acquiring responsibilities of Purchasing
and Telephone, I have observed a lack of
fundamental management techniques; these are,
poor organization, planning, ...