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RILEY v. COUNTY OF PIKE

April 15, 1991

MARILYN RILEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF PIKE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge:

OPINION

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Should a county and the county State's Attorney's office be considered a single employer for the purpose of determining whether the ADEA's twenty employee jurisdictional requirement has been satisfied?

No.

Summary judgment for Defendants.

This cause is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Complaint and/or for Summary Judgment. Since Defendants' motion is supported by an affidavit, it will be treated as a motion for summary judgment.

Summary Judgment Standard

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), summary judgment should be entered "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Unquestionably, in determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the evidence is to be taken in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 1609, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970). Nevertheless, the rule is also well established that the mere existence of some factual dispute will not frustrate an otherwise proper summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2509-10, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Thus, the "preliminary question for the judge [is] not whether there is literally no evidence, but whether there is any upon which a jury could properly proceed to find a verdict for the party producing it upon whom the onus of proof is imposed." Id. at 251, 106 S.Ct. at 2511 (quoting Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. (14 Wall.) 442, 448, 20 L.Ed. 867 (1872)); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Applying this standard, the Court now turns to the case at bar.

Facts

Plaintiff has filed an action against Pike County, the Pike County State's Attorney's Office, and the Pike County State's Attorney under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 623.

Defendants moved to dismiss and/or for summary judgment on several grounds, including the ground that the State's Attorney's office was not an employer as defined in § 11 of the ADEA. Under the ADEA, an "employer" is defined as one who employs at least twenty employees "for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year."*fn1 Defendants have supported their motion with an affidavit by the Pike County State's Attorney stating that his office has not employed twenty or more employees at any time during the years 1987-1990.

Plaintiff does not contest Defendants' claim regarding the number of employees in the Pike County State's Attorney's Office. Rather, Plaintiff asserts that the State's Attorney is a county official and therefore a co-employer with the county. Plaintiff alleges that she was paid by Pike County and covered under the county retirement benefit plan. Further, Plaintiff states that she was told before she was hired that the County Board had to approve her hiring. Consequently, Plaintiff argues the ADEA's definition of an "employer" is met because the county employs more than twenty employees.

In opposition to the Defendants' suggestion that Pike County is not a proper party, Plaintiff argues that the State's Attorney's Office acted as an ...


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