United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
W. Gettleman United States District Judge
Kevin Hunt has sued his former employer, JP Morgan Chase
& Co., alleging that defendant failed to rehire him as a
Branch Sales Center Lending Manager (“BSC Lending
Manager”) because of his age, in violation of the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29
U.S.C. § 621 et seq. Defendant has moved for
summary judgment. For the reasons described below,
defendant's motion is granted.
a sixty year-old male, began working for defendant as a
mortgage consultant in July 2001. By all accounts he was an
excellent employee and was promoted to Lead Mortgage
Consultant and then Senior Lead Mortgage Consultant. In
January 2008, he was promoted to Lending Manager at
defendant's Branch Sales Center (“BSC”) in
Downers Grove, Illinois. As a BSC Lending Manager, plaintiff
worked in a call center managing mortgage bankers who worked
with personal bankers, branch managers, and district managers
who did not have mortgage bankers within their district to
October 2011, defendant's Vice President Eric
Andrews-Sharer promoted plaintiff to BSC Senior Lending
Manager. Plaintiff was 55 years-old at that time. As a BCS
Senior Lending Manager, plaintiff oversaw a team of three
lending managers who, in turn, each supervised a team of
April 2012, Andrews-Sharer told plaintiff that defendant
wanted to grow the Consumer Direct Department and that
Andrews-Sharer wanted plaintiff to head a Consumer Direct
Department at Downers Grove. In May 2012 plaintiff became a
Consumer Direct Lending Manager in the new Consumer Direct
Department. “Consumer Direct” is a call center
staffed with mortgage bankers and lending managers who were
contacted directly by consumers inquiring about a mortgage.
Plaintiff oversaw a team of mortgage bankers who answered
incoming calls from consumers.
2013, afer a downturn in the market, defendant closed the
Consumer Direct Department. Plaintiff became a Retail Lending
Manager. Andrews-Sharer found the position for plaintiff
through his connection with the manager of that position. As
a Retail Lending Manager, plaintiff oversaw mortgage bankers
who sat in 14 different retail bank branches, and worked with
personal bankers to originate mortgage applications for both
purchases and refinances.
February 2014, plaintiff was laid-off as part of a reduction
in force (“RIF”) due to a market turn and
downsize of the company. Plaintiff was placed on
“talent reassignment, ” a program through which
defendant assists laid-off employees with finding another
position with defendant. Plaintiff was 59 years-old at that
April 2014, a BSC Lending Manager position became available.
Plaintiff applied for that position. Plaintiff first
interviewed with Senior Lending Managers Scott Neri and
Thomas Croy, and then with Andrews-Sharer, the ultimate
decision maker. Neri and Croy recommended two candidates to
Andrews-Sharer. According to Croy, who claims not to have had
hiring authority, plaintiff was his first choice, and 37
year-old Robby Kane was his second choice. It is undisputed
that plaintiff was Neri's first choice, but neither
Neri's nor Croy's recommendations were documented.
interviewed both plaintiff and Kane and determined that
plaintiff was the more qualified. He offered the position to
plaintiff and plaintiff signed an acceptance letter on June
4, 2014. The offer was contingent on plaintiff passing
defendant's required pre-employment screening, consisting
of a criminal background check and regulatory credit review.
Plaintiff failed the regulatory credit review because he had
nine accounts in collection that were delinquent over 90
days. Plaintiff attempted to supply mitigating circumstances,
but defendant's Global Security & Investigation
Department determined that plaintiff's explanations did
not qualify as mitigating circumstances and, as a result,
plaintiff's offer was revoked. Neither Andrews-Sharer nor
Neri had any involvement in the screening process, and
neither had authority to alter the decision to revoke the
offer. As a result, Kane was offered the position.
2014 or early 2015 another BCS Lending Manager position
became available. Once again plaintiff applied and
interviewed with both Croy and Neri. Neri and Andrews-Sharer
were the hiring managers for the position. Croy provided
input. Plaintiff claims that he first interviewed with Croy
alone, and then Neri joined them. While alone with Croy,
plaintiff claims that Croy stated to him “I'm
almost 50 and I barely have enough energy to do the job
myself, I know you are a lot older than I am. How are you at
your age going to have the energy to do this job?” Both
Croy and Neri deny that Croy was ever alone with plaintiff,
and Croy denies making the statement. Croy also stated in his
deposition that plaintiff was his first choice and that he
told both Neri and Andrews-Sharer that.
and Croy interviewed both plaintiff and Stacy Kopecky, a
Retail Lending Manager who had not been in the pool of
candidates for the earlier 2014 position originally offered
to plaintiff. Neri testified that he considered Kopecky to be
the number one candidate with plaintiff number two, and told
Andrews-Sharer that. Andrews-Sharer then interviewed Kopecky.
Andrews-Sharer claims that he also interviewed plaintiff, but
plaintiff says Andrews-Sharer did not conduct a third round
interview with him. Andrews-Sharer offered the position to
Kopecky, claiming that he liked her retail experience, hoping
that she would help develop business. Kopecky was
approximately 40 years-old at that time.
has moved for summary judgment on plaintiff's claim.
Summary judgment is appropriate when “there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). The movant bears the burden of establishing both
elements, Becker v. Tenebaum-Hill Associates, Inc.,
914 F.2d 107, 110 (7th Cir. 1990), and all reasonable
inferences are drawn in the non-movant's favor.
Fisher v. Transco Services - Milwaukee, Inc., 979
F.2d 1239, 1242 (7th Cir. 1992). If the movant satisfies its
burden, then the non-movant must set forth specific facts
showing there is a genuine issue for trial. Nitz v.
Craig, 2013 WL 593851, *2 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 12, 2013). In
doing so, the non-movant cannot simply show some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts. Pignato v. Givaudan
Flavors Corp., 2013 WL 995157, *2 (N.D. Ill. March 13,
2013) (citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith ...