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MARTING v. CRAWFORD & COMPANY
May 28, 2002
KIMBERLY A. MARTING, PLAINTIFF
CRAWFORD & COMPANY, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edward A. Bobrick, United States Magistrate Judge.
Before the court is the motion of defendant Crawford & Company for
summary judgment on the complaint of plaintiff Kimberly Crawford.
Plaintiff brings this suit alleging violations of the Equal Pay Act,
29 U.S.C. § 206 (d)(1), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964. She worked for defendant as a casualty claims adjuster for ten
years until she quit in May of 2000. According to plaintiffs complaint,
she was paid less than a similarly situated male claims adjuster. She
also claims she was discriminated against due to her gender in various
ways-criticism, performance reviews, pay, work assignments-and was
subjected to sexual harassment from her supervisor. The defendant now
moves for summary judgment on all of plaintiff's claims.
Defendant provides insurance-related services such as claims
management, risk management, and consulting. Plaintiff worked at
defendant's Schaumburg, Illinois branch, which served mostly insurers who
had outsourced claims. Claims adjusters, such as plaintiff, were of
several grades: Casualty Adjuster I through IV, then Casualty General
Adjuster. Plaintiff was hired as a Casualty Adjuster I in January of 1990
and progressed to the level of Casualty General Adjuster by May of 1997.
In several increments over that time, her salary increased from an
initial rate of $1606 per month to $3977 per month. In addition, from the
time she became a Casualty Adjuster IV in February of 1995, plaintiff was
eligible for performance-based bonuses calculated on 3% of her billings.
Then, when she became a Casualty General Adjuster, her bonuses were
calculated on 7% to 10% of her billings. Plaintiff typically earned
approximately $20,000 in bonuses per year. During most of her tenure
there, Don Garlough was branch manager.
In late 1999, Mr. Garlough brought in a new supervisor for the branch,
David Martin, and indicated there would be something of a revamp which he
termed a "return to quality." Not surprisingly-at least not in light of
the court's experience in employment cases-the new direction and
supervisor caused problems in the branch, especially among the
longer-tenured employees. In this case, there was apparently immediate
friction between Martin and plaintiff and Martin and another claims
adjuster, Darrell Lear, when Martin took over as supervisor in January of
2000. (Deposition of Martin, at 82-83). Early on, plaintiff and Martin
got into an argument over replacing a cell phone, which included
plaintiff yelling and throwing the cell phone. (Statement of Material
Facts in Support of Crawford & Company's Motion ("Def St."), ¶ 80;
Plaintif's Response to Def St. ("Pl.Resp."), ¶ 80). Martin thought
plaintiff had thrown the phone at him and felt sufficiently threatened to
complain to Garlough, asking that plaintiff be fired. (Deposition of
Martin, at 68-69). When she refused to apologize, plaintiff claims Martin
responded by saying:
(Plaintiff's 56.1(b)(3)(B) Statement ("Pl. St."), ¶ 172). Martin
denies having made these remarks. (Deposition of Martin, at 92-93).*fn2
Martin also denies making any of the other remarks plaintiff attributes
to him. (Deposition of Martin, at 94-95). According to the plaintiff,
Martin told her she was "busting his balls." He said this "more than one
time, less than a hundred" in a period of less than two months.
(Deposition of Marting, at 194). He also purportedly said "oh, you skinny
people" to her a couple of times. (Deposition of Marting, at 182).*fn3 In
addition, plaintiff claims that there was an occasion after work, at a
pub, when plaintiff was discussing her experience of nude modeling at a
table of ten people, and Martin said he would like to see the photos.
(Deposition of Marting, at 195-196).*fn4 There were also two occasions
when Martin called her at home on work-related matters that could have
waited until she was at the office. (Pl. St., ¶¶ 220-221). He also
called her a big pain in the neck, and said he was very good at lying.
(Pl. St., ¶¶ 224, 226). Plaintiff cites all these as examples of
Shortly after the cell phone altercation, Martin began questioning and
cuffing certain of plaintiffs phone charge claims. Marting went to
Garlough to complain about how Martin was treating her, saying that she
felt she was "being picked on." (Deposition of Marting, at 149). She
complained about the phone charge issue. (Deposition of Marting, at
156-157). Plaintiff told Garlough she considered Martin's actions to be
retaliation for the cell phone incident. (Pl. St., ¶ 189; Deposition
of Marting, at 156). She claims that no other adjuster's expenses were
being questioned-specifically not those of Ron Sturek, Darrell Lear, or
Julie Berns. (Pl. St., ¶ 190; Deposition of Marting, at 226).
According to plaintiff, Garlough told her he would "stand behind"
About two weeks after plaintiff spoke to Garlough, she was transferred
to defendant's Kenosha office on February 21, 2000. There was a surge in
product liability claims at defendant's Kenosha office, and the manager
there asked for extra adjusters to help out. Garlough considered the
caseloads, clients, and experience of the adjusters at his office and
decided to assign plaintiff to the Kenosha office. Plaintiffs caseload at
the time was light-she was billing just four to five hours a day —
she was able to handle products liability claims, and she and the Kenosha
supervisor had worked together before. Garlough did not consult Martin
about the reassignment. Plaintiff, of course, opposed the reassignment;
her commute to work increased significantly, and she
claimed she would be
unable to meet the billing quota of 10.5 hours a day without committing
fraud. She questions the credibility of Garlough's stated reason for the
transfer, pointing out that Garlough testified that "Ron Sturek had to
take over several products liability claims from [plaintiff] because she
could not handle it." (Pl. St. ¶ 242). Garlough also testified,
however, that these were "heavy products liability claims that only
[Sturek] could handle." (Deposition of Garlough, at 83-84). As for
plaintiffs concerns about fraud, she admits that, because certain tasks
were billed at a flat rate, an adjuster could, for example, bill ten
hours in seven hours of work. (Pl.Resp. ¶ 17).
While plaintiff was working in Kenosha, Martin gave her a quarterly
performance evaluation. Plaintiff claims it was the lowest she ever
received while in defendant's employ, and defendant does not dispute that
it was. Plaintiff felt that her Kenosha supervisor should have played
some role in the evaluation, but according to plaintiff, Martin told her
he did not need any input. She also claims that her review was affected
by Martin failing to take her vacation time into consideration.*fn5