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Samway v. Ford

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

November 3, 2014

CAROL SAMWAY, Plaintiff,
v.
Rusty Eck Ford. Defendants.

ORDER ON DEFENDANT RUSTY ECK FORD'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

PATRICIA A. LAMBERTY, District Judge.

THIS MATTER came on for hearing on October 22, 2014 on defendant Rusty Eck Ford's Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff was represented by Joy Shiffermiller of Shiffermiller Law Office PC LLO, and Defendant was represented by Heidi A. Guttau-Fox of Baird Holm LLP. Exhibits A, 1-8, 14, 20-40, 2la, and 22a were offered and received. The parties previously submitted briefs, a reply brief and were given until October 29th to further submit reply briefs. Following oral argument the matter was taken under advisement.

Being fully advised in the premises, having reviewed the exhibits, briefs submitted by the parties and other legal authority, the Arbitrator finds and Orders Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment against Plaintiff should be overruled as to Count A, but sustained as to Counts B and C.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to Title VII (42 U.S.C. 2000 e-5). Plaintiff was hired by Defendant in June 2009 for an outside sales position in the Parts Department. Her supervisor in the Parts Department was Steve Mahoney. In September of 2010, Plaintiff complained to Defendant's regional manager of sexual harassment by Steve Mahoney. Following her complaint, Plaintiff continued to work in the Parts Department reporting to Steve Mahoney. In February, 2010, Plaintiff complained again to a second manager of Defendant of sexual harassment by Steve Mahoney. Following an investigation by Defendant in February, 2010, Plaintiff moved from the Parts Department to the Body Shop Department where she was supervised by Tom McFinch. She had no further contact with her previous supervisor Steve Mahoney. In June, 2010, Plaintiff was terminated by Defendant.

Following the exhaustion of administrative remedies, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant alleging sexual harassment and unlawful termination based upon retaliation and sex. Plaintiff requests damages. Defendant has filed its Motion for Summary Judgment claiming there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that Defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Defendant is requesting its costs and fees incurred in defending the case.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff worked for Defendant from June 2009 to June 2010, when she was terminated. Between June 2009 and February 2010, she worked in the Parts Department as a Sales Representative reporting directly to the Supervisor, Steve Mahoney. Plaintiff claims Mahoney sexually harassed her. Specifically, Plaintiff claims as follows: Plaintiff said "playpen" when discussing "pay plan" and Mahoney said "he liked what he heard about Plaintiff being in the play pen and they would get along just fine". Mahoney introduced her as his new "female sales rep" and stated "just look at her... who wouldn't buy from her". Mahoney referred to her female gender and made comments to other staff... "that's why I hired her... she doesn't need to know anything about parts when they look like that." On National Blonde Day, Mahoney commented to another sales rep that Plaintiff "wasn't really a blonde, that he knew this." That Mahoney requested tickets for the women's night football game stating "if you could get 10, 000 women in an arena... I could get laid." Mahoney referred to another female employee as a "fucking cunt, " and a "dumb bitch." Plaintiff further contends Mahoney viewed porn at the office, introduced Plaintiff as his girlfriend several times, rubbed her shoulders twice, made comments about her large breasts, and requested she stay late and have drinks with him. Plaintiff also claims Mahoney called her honey or sweetheart and told another employee he was giving Plaintiff the STD bin to work on. Plaintiff further states that Defendant used the words "fucking bitch, fucking moron, fucking job" and yelled at all employees regularly. (Ex. 8, 14, 21, 21a, 38).

In September 2010, Plaintiff arranged a meeting with Defendant's regional manager and told him her complaints of sexual harassment by Mahoney.

After her report, Mahoney's comments stopped for a while. Plaintiff contends however he retaliated against her by not talking to her, wouldn't return her phone calls, would ask her to come in early in the morning for no reason, and refused to reimburse her for donut expense. (Ex. 21, 2la, 38).

Plaintiff again reported to management in February 2010, when she claims sexual harassment began again. Following this complaint, Defendants immediately completed an investigation of the complaints against Mahoney. (Ex. 34). Following the investigation, Defendant offered Plaintiff two options. One, to continue to work in the Parts Department but report directly to Mahoney's boss and not Mahoney. Or second, move to the Body Shop Department as a sales representative and report to Tom McFinch. Plaintiff chose the latter, moved to the Body Shop Department, and following that move in February, 2010, she had no further contact with Mahoney. (Ex. 21, 21a, 38).

McFinch terminated Mahoney's job in June, 2010 claiming economic reasons for the termination. (Ex. 28). He also terminated two male employees at the same time. (Ex. 29, 30). Plaintiff claims the termination was retaliation for her sexual harassment complaints. She further contends Mahoney was never disciplined.

Defendant admits Mahoney was unprofessional in the workplace, but denies Plaintiff's claims of sexual harassment and further contends said complaints were not corroborated by other employees. Defendant further contends it did not ...


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