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BROWN v. FORD MOTOR CO.

May 9, 2000

ALBERT BROWN, PLAINTIFF,
V.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gettleman, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Albert Brown has filed a four-count complaint against defendant Ford Motor Company, alleging race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that: (1) defendant terminated him on the basis of age; (2) defendant discriminated against him on the basis of race by terminating him, denying him overtime, requiring him to pay twice as much money in union dues as white employees, and paying him less than white employees; (3) defendant terminated him in retaliation for complaining about race discrimination; and (4) defendant refused to hire him to the position of Head of Security on the basis of lace and age, and hired a younger, less qualified white person instead. Defendant has filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the following reasons, defendant's motion is granted.

As an initial matter, plaintiff failed to file a Local Rule ("L.R.") 56.1(b)(3)(A) response to defendant's L.R. 56.1(a) statement of facts. The local rule reads: "Each party opposing a Rule 56 motion shall serve and file, [inter alia,] . . . a concise response to the movant's statement that shall contain: (A) a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon. . . . All material facts set forth in the statement required of the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing party." L.R. 56.1(b)(3). In short, the Local Rule "requires both denial and support for that denial." Schulz v. Serfilco, Ltd., 965 F.2d 516, 519 (7th Cir. 1992).

"An answer that does not deny the allegations in the numbered paragraph with citations to supporting evidence in the record constitutes an admission." McGuire v. United Parcel Service, 152 F.3d 673, 675 (7th Cir. 1998). Because plaintiff did not even attempt to adhere to the Local Rule, the facts set forth in defendant's statement of facts are deemed admitted. See, e.g., Federal Trade Commission v. Febre, 128 F.3d 530, 536 (7th Cir. 1997) (holding that district courts may deem a defendant's facts admitted when the plaintiff does not properly admit or deny those facts in a statement pursuant to L.R. 56.1(b)(3), then numbered L.R. 12(N)). Moreover, although plaintiff filed an additional statement of facts pursuant to L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B), plaintiff did not provide record support for certain of these statements. The court disregards these unsupported statements. See, e.g., Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 284 (7th Cir. 1997) (refusing to consider the plaintiffs additional facts where not supported by specific references to the record).

FACTS*fn1

Plaintiff, a 56-year-old black male, was hired by defendant as a Flexible Service or Auxiliary Guard ("Flex Guard"). Under an agreement with the plant union, the Plant Protection Association ("PPAN"), defendant was authorized to hire Flex Guards to temporarily supplement the regular workforce. Plaintiff began working for defendant at its Chicago Assembly Plant ("the plant") on April 24, 1998. On June 4, 1998, consistent with defendant's policy, plaintiff completed an Application for Employment and paid union dues of $500 to PPAN.

In August 1998, plaintiff informed defendant that he needed to take time off to care for his sister in Memphis, Tennessee. Under defendant's policy for Flex Guards, plaintiff was not required to submit a formal vacation request or fill out any paperwork concerning his forthcoming absence. When plaintiff returned from Tennessee in September 1998. he called George Hartigan ("Hartigan"), the acting Head of Security, and informed Hartigan that he was available to work. Hartigan told plaintiff that he could not return to work because he was a temporary employee and no Flex work was available at the time. In October 1998, Hartigan contacted plaintiff and asked if he were available to fill in for a forty hour assignment. Plaintiff declined the request. In February 1999, defendant's new Head of Security contacted plaintiff and again asked if he would be willing to fill in for several shifts. Plaintiff again declined the request. Plaintiff now contends that Hartigan's exchange with him in September 1998 constituted a termination.

In September 1998, the Head of Security at the plant was terminated. Soon thereafter, defendant launched a campaign to find a replacement. The campaign was headed by James Brown ("Brown"), defendant's Head of Human Resources at the plant, and was overseen by Randy Griffin, Plant Manager. Jay Stanwich ("Stanwich"), defendant's Supervisor of Salaried Personnel, who is white, aided Brown and Griffin, both of whom are black, in their search for a replacement. Plaintiff applied for the position, but on October 14, 1998, defendant selected Steve Knaak ("Knaak"), a white male, for the job. Plaintiff alleges that he was not hired as Head of Security because he is black.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

A movant is entitled to summary judgment under Rule 56 when the moving papers and affidavits show there is no genuine issue of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317. 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Unterreiner v. Volkswagen of America, Inc., 8 F.3d 1206, 1209 (7th Cir. 1993). Once a moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Becker v. Tenenbaum-Hill Assoc., Inc., 914 F.2d 107, 110 (7th Cir. 1990). The court considers the record as a whole and draws all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. See Fisher v. Transco Services-Milwaukee, Inc., 979 F.2d 1239, 1242 (7th Cir. 1992).

A genuine issue of material fact exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Stewart v. McGinnis, 5 F.3d 1031, 1033 (7th Cir. 1993). This standard is applied with added rigor in employment discrimination cases, where issues of intent and credibility often dominate. See Sarsha v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 3 F.3d 1035, 1038 (7th Cir. 1993). However, the nonmoving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [nonmoving party's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [nonmoving party]." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252, 106 S.Ct. 2505.

DISCUSSION

To state a claim for intentional discrimination under Title VII and the ADEA, a plaintiff has two options: he may satisfy his burden of proof by offering direct evidence of discriminatory intent; or he may demonstrate such intent indirectly by following the McDonnell Donglas burden-shifting framework. See McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973). Because plaintiff does not present any direct evidence of discrimination, the court assumes he is relying on the McDonnell Douglas formula. Under this framework, the plaintiff must first establish a prima facie case by a preponderance of the evidence. See St. Mary's Honor Ctr. v. Hicks, 509 U.S. 502, 505, 113 S.Ct. 2742, 125 L.Ed.2d 407 (1993). If the plaintiff succeeds in establishing a prima facie case, he creates a rebuttable presumption of discrimination and the burden shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for the employment decision. If the employer is successful, the presumption of discrimination dissolves, and the burden shifts back to the employee to prove that the employer's proffered reasons are a pretext for ...


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