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WEYNETH v. MICROMATIC SPRING AND STAMPING

May 13, 2004.

ERNST WEYNETH, Plaintiff,
v.
MICROMATIC SPRING AND STAMPING, INC., an Illinois corporation, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES NORGLE, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Ernst Weyneth ("Weyneth") brings this cause of action against Micromatic Spring and Stamping, Inc. ("Micromatic") alleging disparate treatment in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. Before the court is Micromatic's Motion for Summary Judgment brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

  Micromatic manufactures springs and other parts that are used as components in items manufactured by other companies. Walter Prociuk ("Prociuk") is Micromatic's Vice President, and the relevant decision-maker in this case. In July of 1994, Weyneth interviewed with Micromatic for a position as an inspector in the Quality Control department. Following the interview, Prociuk offered Weyneth the job, which he accepted. At the time Weyneth was hired he was 56 years of age.

  Throughout his employment with Micromatic, Weyneth's basic job duties as an inspector in the Quality Control department remained the same, though his title was changed on occasion. The general job duties of an inspector included ensuring that manufactured parts met the specifications for manufacture prior to shipment. Weyneth met Micromatic's reasonable expectations of him, and was never disciplined. Weyneth was a good employee, worked well with other employees and found the general work atmosphere to be good.

  Seven years after he was hired, in the spring of 2001, there were a total of three full-time employees, including Weyneth, and one part-time employee in the Quality Control department. The two other full-time employees were Maria Kolpa ("Kolpa"), age 38, and Bogdan Korycki ("Korycki"), age 44, and the part-time employee was Kathleen Freeman ("Freeman"), age 38. Kolpa was transferred to the Quality Control department in 1998, prior to which time she had worked as an employee of Micromatic in various other departments for a number of years. Aside from her duties as an inspector in the Quality Control department, Kolpa performed various other duties in the factory, including sorting. Korycki was hired by Micromatic in October of 2000. Aside from his duties as an inspector in the Quality Control department, Korycki performed various other duties in the factory, including painting and maintenance. Freeman, the part-time employee, was hired by Micromatic in June of 1999. Aside from her duties as an inspector in the Quality Control department, Freeman performed various other duties in the factory, including sorting and filing paperwork. It is undisputed that Weyneth had more experience and performed better as an inspector than the other employees in the Quality Control department; however, he lacked experience in other departments of Micromatic's factory.

  In the spring of 2001, Prociuk decided that it would be necessary to effect a reduction in force ("RIF") from Micromatic's various departments as a result of a decrease in Micromatic's business over the past year. Prociuk chose lay off one employee from the Quality Control department, Weyneth. On May 1, 2001, Prociuk called Weyneth into his office and told him that he was being let go as a result of a decrease in Micromatic's business. Also on May 1, 2001, Prociuk laid off four other employees from Micromatic's various departments: Bogumila Siewa, age 48; Tadeusz Zagrodny, age 37; Alberto Landeros, age 25; and Luis Castillo, age 49. Throughout the remainder of 2001, Prociuk laid off an additional ten employees from Micromatic's various departments.

  Weyneth was age 62 at the time of his lay off. According to Weyneth, he was laid off based upon his age. According to Micromatic, he was laid off because all other employees within the Quality Control department had training and experience in other departments within the factory, whereas Weyneth did not.

  Weyneth timely filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), and received a Right to Sue letter on September 5, 2002. Thereafter, Weyneth filed this Complaint alleging that Micromatic discriminated against him in violation of the ADEA, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. Micromatic has filed a motion for summary judgment, which is fully briefed and ready for ruling.

  II. LEGAL STANDARDS

 A. Summary Judgment

  Summary judgment is appropriate 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." Fed.R. Civ. P. 56(c). The moving party has the initial burden to prove that no genuine issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indust. Co., Ltd, v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Once the moving party shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986).

  The non-moving party cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must identify specific facts that raise more than a mere scintilla of evidence to show a genuine triable issue of material fact. See Murphy v. ITT Technical Services. Inc., 176 F.3d 934, 936 (7th Cir. 1999); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). "Conclusory allegations alone cannot defeat a motion for summary judgment." See Thomas v. Christ Hosp. and Medical Center, 328 F.3d 890, 893-94 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 888-89 (1990)).

  Local Rule 56.1 requires both the moving and non-moving parties to submit a statement of material facts, including "specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." Local Rule 56.1(a)(3); Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B). Further, evidence submitted at summary judgment must ultimately be admissible at trial under the Federal Rules of Evidence. See Woods v. City of Chicago, 234 F.3d 979, 988 (7th Cir. 2000). Thus, all facts not ...


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