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Brantley-Smith v. Valeant Pharmaceuticals

May 14, 2008

B. SUSAN BRANTLEY-SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS, NORTH AMERICA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George M. Marovich

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff B. Susan Brantley-Smith ("Brantley-Smith") filed a complaint in which she alleged that Valeant Pharmaceuticals, North America ("Valeant") discharged her on the basis of her age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). Before the Court is defendant's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants defendant's motion for summary judgment.

I. Background

The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.*fn1

Defendant Valeant is a pharmaceuticals company that manufactures and markets, among other things, migranal products for the treatment of migraines and diastat products for the treatment of seizures. In the spring of 2005, Valeant purchased Xcel Pharmaceuticals ("Xcel"), a company that had been in business since 2001. When Valeant purchased Xcel, plaintiff Brantley-Smith became an employee of Valeant.

Xcel had hired Brantley-Smith as an Area Business Manager on May 15, 2001. As Area Business Manager, Brantley-Smith was responsible for a group of sales representatives in Illinois and other midwestern states. Brantley-Smith was responsible for developing the sales representatives and for meeting sales objectives. Brantley-Smith reported to Craig Chambliss ("Chambliss") from October 2001 until some point in 2003, when David Mayfield ("Mayfield") became Brantley-Smith's supervisor.

Chambliss reviewed Brantley-Smith's 2002 annual performance in April 2003. In the "Areas for Improvement" section of Brantley-Smith's annual appraisal, Chambliss wrote that:

Susan's top strategy for 2002 was to 'Effectively coach and retain consultants'. Unfortunately, she has seen 25% turnover in her area since then, with one additional consultant on a strict Skills Advancement Plan. This turnover and lack of performance kept Susan from a first place finish and the President's Club in 2002. Opportunities for improvement include:

1. Effectively addressing issues prior to them reaching 'crisis' mode.

2. Holding consultants accountable for their performance and sales/administration standards.

3. Effectively managing representatives who are not highly self-motivated.

4. Understanding employee motivations and continually assessing job satisfaction.

5. Effective utilization of designated area budget.

This was not the first time Chambliss had expressed to Brantley-Smith concern that her employee turnover was too high. Brantley-Smith testified in her deposition that she agreed that employee turnover was a legitimate concern. Two of the employees who ...


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